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Governor Kathy Hochul says there's room for improvement when it comes to controversial bail reform laws

Bail reform is back in the spotlight after Governor Hochul's State of The State Address
Posted at 8:21 PM, Jan 11, 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A controversial law is getting renewed attention in the new year. Governor Kathy Hochul made "bail reform" a talking point in her state of the state address yesterday. The governor says the size of someone's bank account should not determine whether they sit in jail or go home. She also says there's room for improvement to these laws.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Penny Wolfgang agrees with some aspects of bail reform. She spoke with 7 News Anchor/Reporter Lia Lando saying, "there are times when people should not be held on bail just because they can't afford to get out... because they are presumed innocent... but the court should be able to determine that." Wolfgang says there's no doubt changes need to be made to the laws. "The main issues were, in changing the laws they took away a discretion from the court," she explains.

District Attorney John Flynn is also advocating for changes. He says when the law was being formulated years ago in Albany, he and other law enforcement officials were not included in the discussion. He's asking for a seat at the table this time around. Flynn explains, "The district attorneys, the police officers, those of us in all of law enforcement and those groups that are out there advocating for sensible laws, we weren't even at the table." He told 7 News Lia Lando, "We basically have 2 and a half months now to convince the senate and the assembly to go along with the Governor's recommendation."

Flynn says the statewide "district attorney association" will work to educate the senate and assembly on what changes they think need to be made to bail reform.