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Erie County District Attorney wants to see changes to New York's new bail reform law

Posted at 8:44 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 08:44:44-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County District Attorney John Flynn is expressing concerns over New York's new bail reform law.

The law just went into effect last week. It removes cash bail for those charged with misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. That means suspects go free until their court appearance.

Flynn says while he was a proponent of the reform, the way it was done left a lot of holes that impact the taxpayer's safety and money.

Flynn told 7 Eyewitness News, while there haven't yet been any issues with those released from the law, there could be in the future.

"There is no doubt in my mind that in the future we're going to have something that occurs and obviously I don't want to be the guy that says 'I told you so,'" says Flynn.

The law also limits what exactly law enforcement can confiscate from suspects. For example, they can't take money suspected to have been made by drug sales, if they cannot show it was made from the drug sale the person was arrested for. That asset forfeiture money is typically used to fund other projects in the county.

"If I have less asset forfeiture money, that means the county tax payers have to foot the bill. So this new law is not good news for the county taxpayers and it is my job hopefully now to go back to Albany with my county taxpayers behind me," says Flynn.

The Buffalo Common Council voted this week to pass a resolution urging Albany to change the law.

Meantime, Governor Cuomo already expressed concerns with the law, even after pushing for its passage. But during his State of the State address, he didn't mention the issue at all. You can watch that full address here.