Home Nonviolent defense Governor Kathy Hochul’s 10-Point Public Safety Plan, Explained

Governor Kathy Hochul’s 10-Point Public Safety Plan, Explained


Proposal n°1: Give more discretion to judges in serious crimes

New York’s cash bail laws do not allow judges to consider a defendant’s “dangerousness” when deciding pretrial release terms. And while they allow judges to set cash bail for violent crimes and felonies, they are required to hand out the “least restrictive” release terms that will ensure a defendant shows up in court.

Hochul’s plan would change that. For the most serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter and certain firearms possession offences, Hochul would allow judges to set bail conditions that “ensure the safety of any person or person or community” if the accused has:

  • Violated a protection order
  • History of possession or use of firearms
  • Has been convicted of a violent crime within the past five years or has a ‘significant criminal history’ that suggests he may commit more crimes
  • Threat to harm someone
  • Posed a flight risk

For supporters of the current law, the lack of a “dangerousness” standard is a feature, not a bug. People like Stewart-Cousins ​​and Heastie have argued that leaving discretion to a judge to determine whether someone is dangerous invites the possibility, if not the likelihood, of racial bias.

Lt. Governor Benjamin, meanwhile, pushed back against the idea that Hochul’s plan includes a “dangerousness standard” at all.

“If you look at the proposal, it has specific identifiable actions that it would require, as is the case in our domestic violence cases,” he said Tuesday.

Proposal #2: Make Repeat Offenders Subject to Arrest and Bail

Under Hochul’s plan, anyone charged with a crime while awaiting trial on a separate charge would be eligible for bail. As it stands, this is only the case when a person is charged with a second felony or a Class A misdemeanor involving harm to another person.

Hochul’s plan would primarily affect people charged with lower-level crimes and misdemeanors that normally only require an appearance ticket. Under his proposal, police would be able to arrest someone on these charges – rather than simply issue a summons – if it is their second charge within 18 months.

From there, a judge could decide to impose bail if the person is suspected of having committed the crime while released on a separate charge, pending trial. A prosecutor would have to show that there was probable cause that the accused committed both crimes.

Proposal #3: Make More Gun Crimes, Hate Crimes, and Subway Crimes Arrestable

Hochul’s third proposal would change the criminal procedure law to make more crimes eligible for arrest, rather than just a ticket to appear.

Among the crimes Hochul wants to add are: criminal possession of a firearm on school property, or where a person is required to register their firearm under the SAFE Act but knowingly fails to do so. make.

It would also add to the list the criminal sale of a firearm to a minor, as well as hate crimes and crimes committed against MTA or Port Authority employees.

Proposal #4: Make More Gun Crimes Eligible for Bail

The same gun crimes that Hochul wants to make eligible for arrest would be eligible for bail.

Proposal #5: Enact tougher gun trafficking laws

Under current law, someone must illegally sell 10 firearms over a one-year period to be charged with the first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, which is a Class B felony. de Hochul would change that to three guns.

For the second-degree criminal sale of a firearm, someone would have to sell at least two firearms in a one-year period under Hochul’s plan, up from five previously. It’s a class C felony.

Proposal #6: Changes to Discovery Reforms

This proposal is something that district attorneys have been pushing for from the Legislative Assembly and then the government. Andrew Cuomo reformed the state’s evidence discovery laws in 2019.

Under the 2019 reforms, prosecutors are required to turn over evidence to the defense within 20 days of arraignment if the accused is in custody, in most cases. If the defendant is not in custody, prosecutors have 35 days. They can also ask for a 30-day extension in some cases.

Proponents say the reforms were a necessary change that prevents defendants from waiting months for evidence against them, if they get it before trial. Prosecutors said the deadlines were unrealistic and prevented them from pursuing some cases.

Hochul’s proposal would make two key changes.

First, it would prevent a case from being dismissed if a prosecutor is in “substantial compliance” with their discovery obligations, meaning they have “disclosed all material and information … to present their case at trial.” The governor’s office says this would alleviate situations where a case is dismissed because a prosecutor failed to send a document containing information that was in other filings sent to the defense.

Hochul’s proposal would also exclude trafficking cases from discovery deadlines, arguing that the volume of trafficking cases is too heavy to comply.

Proposal No. 7: Amendments to the Raise the Age Act

In 2017, New York passed legislation to remove most 16- and 17-year-olds from state criminal courts. It came after reform supporters waged a years-long “Raise the Age” campaign.

A multi-year rollout ensued, with misdemeanor cases referred to family court and non-violent crimes referred to a new “youth section” of criminal court. Violent crimes, such as murder, rape, and arson, were kept in criminal court.

Under Hochul’s plan, a judge could keep gun possession cases in criminal court for 16- and 17-year-olds, even if the gun was not actively on display. The memo from his office says there is a need to address an increase in gun arrests among minors, which rose from 174 in 2018 to 439 last year.

Proposal #8: Increase Funding for Rehabilitation and Diversion Programs

Hochul’s budget proposal in January included an increase of $83.4 million for anti-gun violence programs and for pretrial services. His memo suggests that “more funding” will be added for services, as well as an employment program for people who are victims of gun violence. She also pledged to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in existing funding to help localities implement the Raise the Age program.

Proposition #9: Expand and Expand Kendra’s Law

This proposal was included in Hochul’s January budget proposal. He would extend Kendra’s Law – a 1999 measure that allows a court to impose outpatient treatment on people with mental illness – by five years, rather than allowing it to expire in July.

Hochul also wants to expand the law to allow it to apply to people who “lack significant judgment to accept” food, clothing, shelter or medical care, as long as that person is at “substantial risk” of becoming to hurt.

Proposal #10: More funding for mental health treatment

Hochul first proposed spending $21 million on Safe Options support teams in its budget proposal in January. The state is already looking for mental health providers to form the teams, which will be responsible for interacting with homeless people in New York and in targeted areas across the rest of the state and connecting them to services. .