NEW YORK – On Wednesday, sweeping reforms to New York’s criminal legal system that will significantly reduce New York’s reliance on cash bail, expand criminal discovery, and further enforce the right to a speedy trial, will go into effect.
The New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director, Donna Lieberman: “The end of this decade marks a new dawn for justice in New York. The bail, speedy trial and discovery reforms set to take effect in the new year will mean that thousands of New Yorkers who are presumed innocent of the misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges they face will no longer be forced to sit in jail awaiting trial. Prosecutors will be required to provide timely access to the evidence in criminal cases so that New Yorkers facing criminal charges can make an informed decision to go to trial or plead guilty, free from the coercion of being jailed before trial. While the bail, discovery and speedy trial reforms are major steps toward justice, New York still has a lot of work to do. It’s time to overhaul our draconian parole system which subjects people who are rehabilitated and released after serving long sentences to a perpetual threat of arbitrary re-incarceration. It’s time finally to put an end to the abuses of solitary confinement. And it’s time to legalize marijuana and reinvest in the black and Latino communities who were the targets of all but a tiny handful of marijuana prosecutions. As we celebrate the important victories of 2019, we will continue to push forward to make justice a reality for all New Yorkers.”