Reforms coming to NY will change who pays bail and who gets jail time

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Starting January 1, 2020, state criminal justice reform will impact people accused of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, who will no longer have to pay a cash bail or spend time in jail before being convicted.

That worries Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter, who just arrested a man accused of hitting an officer with a vehicle. With the new law, this man could face no jail time.

“That burglary spree and crime spree that was occurring, that same guy is gonna be released on January first. If we arrested him and January first of 2020 he is not going to be spending the night or waiting for his court appearance in jail he’s gonna be back out within hours,” said Sheriff Todd Baxter.

One of the reasons behind this reform was to level the playing field for those with and without money.

“We got discrepancies in our criminal justice system. We got young, predominately African American males that live in an urban environment, they can’t afford 200 dollars in bail, and they stay in 3,4,5 days maybe 10 days in jail waiting for court. and you got some guy that had 200 dollars in their pocket or they got means, there out,” said Sheriff Baxter.

Some think this is a good thing. On the other side, each case is different and some believe it’s best to look at each case.

“They should deserve jail time. you know what you’re doing out here. You could easily make another offense out here and I don’t think it’s safe,” said Jada Jackson, a Rochester resident.

“Well I mean if it’s for marijuana or anything other, anything like that, I think it’s fine. But if your robbing someone and you get caught on the spot and you’re just gonna get a ticket I don’t think that’s okay,” said Jenn Sargent, a Brighton resident.

Pre-trail detention and cash bail regulations are only some of the changes coming with the state criminal justice reform. These measures will take effect in January.

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