‘Insane’: Judges depend on ‘cheat sheet’ to use New York’s baffling bail reform regulation

New York’s controversial bail reform law is so arcane that state judges not too long ago underwent a two-part coaching program on it — and likewise obtained an eight-page “cheat sheet” to make use of in courtroom, The Post has realized.

The classes – which lasted a complete of practically 4 hours — have been a part of necessary, three-day seminars for all 1,300 judges that passed off in June and July on the state Judicial Institute on the campus of Pace University in White Plains, sources mentioned.

They have been sparked by current tweaks to the controversial, 2019 regulation that Gov. Kathy Hochul claims gave judges “broad discretion” to set bail for probably harmful defendants, however which Mayor Eric Adams and others have criticized as falling far short of what’s truly wanted.

One dialogue featured remarks from performing Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel Conviser, writer of the official “Bail Bench Book” that’s distributed to judges by the state Office of Court Administration, in accordance with a schedule of occasions.

The reference guide’s part on bail reform is a whopping 49 pages because of the mumbo-jumbo that contains the thrice-amended regulation, a supply acquainted with the guide mentioned Friday.

State judges not too long ago underwent a two-part coaching program on New York’s bail reform regulation.
William Farrington for NY Post

“It tells you that, at finest, [bail reform was] not very nicely thought by, and at worst, it’s purposefully meant to be a pretzel as a substitute of being very clear and simple,” the supply mentioned.

The OCA additionally gave judges a memo — obtained by The Post — that boils down the regulation into seven pages of charts itemizing the varied offenses nonetheless eligible for money bail, which was eradicated for many misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

Due to numerous loopholes and different complexities, the charts are supplemented with 25 footnotes that say when defendants ought to be launched regardless of being charged with “qualifying offenses.”

Unlike in each different state and the federal courtroom system — the place judges can think about the chance posed by placing defendants again on the streets — New York solely permits bail for use as a means to make sure they return to courtroom.

Amid surging crime within the Big Apple, Adams has been pressing Albany lawmakers for months so as to add a “dangerousness” customary that might carry New York according to the remainder of the nation.

Hochul has countered that Adams’ issues have been addressed by revisions to the bail reform regulation enacted in April as a part of the state’s fiscal 2023 finances bundle and that judges ought to be “utilizing the broad discretion they’ve” consequently.

Those adjustments require judges to contemplate whether or not defendants have used or possessed weapons, violated orders of safety or face costs that contain inflicting “critical” hurt to victims.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel Conviser wrote the official "Bail Bench Book."

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Daniel Conviser’s “Bail Bench Book is 49 pages lengthy.
Steven Hirsch for NY Post

They additionally made repeated arrests for a similar felonies or critical misdemeanors and extra gun crimes eligible for bail.

Albany District Attorney David Soares, who took half in a panel dialogue on bail reform on the current judicial seminars, accused Hochul of making an attempt to mislead the general public concerning the influence of these amendments.

“This concept that judges have discretion and are exercising discretion is a categorical lie,” he instructed The Post.


From serial shoplifters to repeat automotive thieves, right here is only a sampling of the alleged profession crooks within the Big Apple who’ve benefited essentially the most from the state’s controversial and convoluted bail-reform regulation:

  • MICHELLE McKELLEY Allegedly confessed in February to being a “skilled booster” following her 97th arrest, which concerned thefts from an Upper East Side Target retailer that weren’t eligible for bail. Finally locked up after Bust No. 101 in July, when she was accused of attacking two cops throughout one other alleged shoplifting incident in Harlem.
  • KEITH KOLM Career criminal with 63 arrests, 39 since bail reform took impact. Charged in a string of auto thefts in Brooklyn and Queens, together with an NYPD detective’s private automotive that was stolen from in entrance of a Brooklyn police station and bought for scrap.
  • HAROLD GOODING Recently dubbed “Recidivist No. 1” by the NYPD for additionally racking up 101 arrests, together with 88 since bail reform went into impact in 2020. The ex-con is accused of repeatedly stealing housewares from the Target retailer in Tribeca whereas carrying a particular white bucket hat.
  • CHARLES WOLD Four-time ex-con instructed The Post that he was “grateful” for bail reform in January following his arrest in a three-month string of 10 business burglaries in Brooklyn and Manhattan. “I’m too previous to go to jail. I’m means too previous. I can’t do it,” he mentioned.
  • ISAAC RODRIGUEZ Nicknamed the “Man of Steal” by The Post for allegedly committing 47 retail thefts final yr, main then-NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to tweet: “Insanity. No different strategy to describe the ensuing crime that has flowed from disastrous bail-reform regulation.” Four-time ex-con instructed The Post that he was “grateful” for bail reform in January following his arrest in a three-month string of 10 business burglaries in Brooklyn and Manhattan. “I’m too previous to go to jail. I’m means too previous. I can’t do it,” he mentioned.
Michelle McKelley
Michelle McKelley

Harold Gooding
Harold Gooding

Isaac Rodriguez,
Isaac Rodriguez
Charles Wold
Charles Wold

Soares mentioned the bail reform regulation basically places judges in a “straitjacket” by requiring them to launch defendants below the “least restrictive circumstances” attainable.

“We have harmful, extra harmful individuals out locally,” he mentioned.

“We have essentially the most, essentially the most large proliferation of weapons on the street, and prosecutors, police and judges would not have the assets, the instruments and the legal guidelines to beat the scenario that we’re in proper now.”

A choose who spoke on situation of anonymity mentioned that “by and huge” the bail-reform regulation was “insane.”

“Our palms are tied,” the choose mentioned.

“And judicial discretion will guarantee there’s a real analysis that the particular person is a threat of flight and maybe an evaluation of the chance they pose to the group.”

Gov. Hochul has refused to call a special session on bail reform until at least November.
New York’s bail reform legal guidelines have been broadly criticized as ineffective.
Getty Images

The choose additional accused Hochul — who final month mentioned judges ought to “evaluation the bail legal guidelines that have been enacted within the finances” — and her Democratic allies within the Legislature of “persevering with to make use of the judiciary as a scapegoat for his or her inaction.”

“The state Legislature must get their act collectively and name a particular session” simply to deal with bail reform, the choose added.

Hochul — who’s in search of a full time period in November’s gubernatorial race in opposition to GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin — has mentioned she has no plans to convene a special session over bail reform legal guidelines earlier than the election.

“I’m keen to revisit every thing, however let’s see whether or not or not the system can begin functioning the best way we supposed,” Hochul mentioned final month.

“The legislature meets once more subsequent January and by that point we’ll be capable of assess the true influence of our adjustments,” she added.

Washington County DA J. Anthony Jordan, president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, mentioned, “Our bail statute is now about punctuality and attendance.”

Jordan additionally accused lawmakers of getting didn’t “deal with how and when judges can make the most of the discretion that they’ve, that they’re required to make use of in each different facet of their job.”

“The governor saying there’s a scarcity of political will to come back again to Albany to deal with the foundation contributors to this — it’s onerous for me to grasp,” he added.

A Hochul spokeswoman mentioned, “The notion that judges’ palms are tied is just not supported by details nor the info.”

“Judges have and use their broad discretion below the regulation every single day,” press secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays mentioned.

“This has been true for the many years that the state’s legal process regulation has been on the books, was true earlier than the 2019 regulation adjustments, and it’s nonetheless true now.”

Crampton-Hays added: “This is all clear from the info that the courts launch, which present that judges exterior New York City launch individuals at decrease charges for a similar varieties of crimes.”



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