Despite having months to prepare, City Hall failed to put in place a program that could give back to judges a powerful tool to keep tabs on potentially violent defendants released under the state’s new bail reform law.
The controversial law change removes the imposition of cash bail as an option for judges in most misdemeanors and other non-violent crimes.
But it also allows judges to order that those charged with felonies or in connection with domestic violence and sex-related cases be tracked with electronic ankle monitors to ensure they return to court.
Unlike the pre-bail reform rules, though, which left bail bondsmen in charge of the GPS monitoring, the new law mandates that only a governmental agency or non-profit can handle the placement and tracking of the devices.
The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), meanwhile, failed to get such a program launched by Jan. 1, despite the measure being passed by the Albany legislature eight months earlier.
And MOCJ officials admitted Friday they still have no set timetable for when the system will come online — a ball drop that left Manhattan prosecutors and judges slack-jawed and disgusted.
“I feel sick,” said one Manhattan judge, who wished he still could require ankle bracelets for release. “I’m releasing defendants who are dangers to their community.”Said a Manhattan prosecutor, “I think the legislature thought they were freeing poor minorities, but instead they handed a gift to a predominantly wealthy elite.”It has even affected the highest-profile trial in New York — pushing the judge in […]