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Buffalo Common Council Members urge New York State Legislature amend bail reform law

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 18:17:50-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Two Buffalo Common Council members-- both Democrats-- are asking the state legislature to amend the bail reform law.

South District Council Member Christopher Scanlon and Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto filed a resolution along with the Buffalo Common Council Monday.

“Although the laws were passed with the intention of reforming injustices within the criminal justice system, we firmly believe that the unintended consequences pose serious risk to the public safety of our communities,” the resolution says.

Members of the Buffalo Common Council also launched an online petition asking the state to amend the law. “There’s no denying there is a great disparity in the criminal justice system and that reform is required,” said Scanlon. “However, any changes made must be done so with a common sense approach in an effort to eliminate negative impacts on victims and the general public."

The resolution asks the state to reconsider and change the bail reform law that took into effect on January 1. Council Members are looking for two specific changes:

  • For a judge to have the ability to set bail if someone dies as a result of a crime
  • To have bail or those who commit hate crimes

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the State for a response and Senior Advisor to the governor Rich Azzopardi said:

“The law went into legal effect only days agobto fix a broken justice system which favored the rich and criminalized poverty by incarcerating those awaiting trail based on whether or not you can afford to pay bail – the system’s reforms are no doubt a work in progress which we will be discussing this session.”
- Rich Azzopardi, Senior Advisor to the Governor

The new law eliminates cash bail. Supporters of the bail reform law say it allows more people to remain free instead of sitting in a jail cell awaiting their court date.

The Buffalo Common Council will discuss the law Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.