AG Letitia James says ‘spikes in crime’ don’t warrant changes to bail law

Posted 4 days ago


State Attorney General Letitia James suggested she’s a strong booster of New York’s controversial no-cash bail law and said legislators should be “resisting the urge to overreact to spikes in crime” — by tightening the law without credible data.

James, the stop’s top law enforcement officer, was publicly mute this year during the bruising debate over whether to tighten the bail law — a tug-of-war involving Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul and leaders of the Democratic-run legislature.

But she commented on the explosive issue in an answer to an endorsement questionnaire from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic LGBT Club.

“We must follow the data and really look at it from an analytical perspective. That means ensuring we are resisting the urge to overreact to spikes in crime that have occurred during this pandemic, without dismissing them outright,” James said.

“The challenge we have faced is getting accurate and complete data. The state Office of Court Administration released data at the end of December and had to immediately revise those numbers, which shows that we don’t yet have all of the information we need to guide us to a proper decision.”

She said she would pay “close attention” and work with the legislature to “make sure we are getting it right.”

James said she supports the premise behind the law, which eliminates cash bail for most defendants accused of misdemeanor and non-violent felony crimes. The laws bars the accused from being jailed pending trial simply because they couldn’t post bail.

“As a former public defender, I have seen firsthand how our criminal justice system has two standards for two different types of people: One for those with money and another for those without. It’s a system that for too long has criminalized poverty and mental illness,” James answered in the questionnaire from the Democratic club.

“We must be able to reform our criminal justice system while also keeping people safe. We can and shoul... (Read more)