As we prepare to say goodbye to 2019, I wanted to make residents aware of our continued disappointment in the new criminal justice reforms set to take place on January 1. Despite our outcry and that from countless elected officials and law enforcement agencies asking for a delay in implementation of its current form, it seems this dangerous legislation is moving forward.
At our November town board meeting I was joined by my fellow Town Board Members in formally opposing the reforms. Greece Town Board Members David Michael Barry, Joshua Jensen, William Murphy, and Diana Christodaro all joined me in voting in favor of our resolution, which stands in opposition to the New York State Criminal Justice reforms.
The November 19, 2019 Greece Town Board Agenda Item Number 24 reads in full:
The Greece Town Board hereby expresses its opposition to the New York State Criminal Justice reforms set to take effect on January 1, 2020. These reforms include the elimination of cash bail for most offences, and requires detailed information about victims and witnesses to be provided to defendants within fifteen days of arraignments. Law enforcement agencies across New York State have expressed public safety concerns regarding these reforms. The Town Board expresses its strong opposition to this legislation.
“The Criminal Justice Reform embedded in the State Budget will have a dramatic effect on public safety” said Greece Chief of Police Patrick Phelan. “The failure to take input from law enforcement professionals prior to crafting these laws is a grievous error that resulted in flawed laws that create a dangerous environment for crime victims, witnesses, and the general public. I urge the New York State government to put in place common sense adjustments to these laws”.
“We have conducted a great deal of research regarding this legislation and have concluded that its implementation would not be in the best interest of the safety of our community” said Supervisor Reilich. “One of the most disturbing aspects of this legislation is that the confidentiality of informants, the safeguarding of witness, and the privacy of citizens potentially unrelated to the case, yet somehow identified in the materials will all be at risk. Furthermore, the new bail laws require that defendants must be released on non-monetary conditions, regardless of criminal record, ties to the community or previous bench warrants on other cases. Criminal justice professionals had no fair opportunity to provide insight or expertise into these major changes of the criminal justice policy. The safety and security of our Greece residents is always a top priority of the Greece Town Board, our Chief of Police and his officers and I. We fear this legislation does nothing to deter criminals and instead puts everyday law-abiding residents at risk”.