Here’s your New York ‘bail reform’: Alleged murderer’s bail set at just $1

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ALBANY, NY – A man who allegedly shot and killed a person in Albany earlier in May, while also allegedly injuring five other people, had his bail set at $1 according to reports.

Officials are pointing to the bail reform laws regarding this extremely low bail amount.

On May 21st, Sharf Addalim was reportedly shot and killed while along the corner of First and Quail Streets in Albany, where reportedly five other people were also injured during the shooting incident.

Police later arrested Jhajuan Sabb for the slaying of Addalim, where Sabb was later charged with second-degree murder. Sabb was said to have been arraigned in the Albany City Court on May 22nd and made a second appearance in court on May 27th.

During that May 27th court appearance, the court clerk claims that the prosecution didn’t move forward with a preliminary hearing and the judge then set Sabb’s bail at $1.

Despite Sabb’s bail only being $1, he’s reportedly still in jail due to him being held in a federal case.

Back in November of 2020, Sabb had reportedly pleaded guilty to threatening to attack the Troy Police Department back in June of 2020 during a planned demonstration.

In that June incident, Sabb had “admitted to making Facebook Live recordings on June 5, 2020 in which he threatened to throw bricks at the Troy Police building and vehicles.  Sabb also threatened to use a vehicle to run over police officers,” according to the Justice Department.

County court leaders are blaming New York’s bail reform laws as to why Sabb’s bail was set at only a $1. Judges are afforded the discretion of imposing what CBS6 referred to as “the least restrictive non-monetary condition.”

For whatever reason, the judge in this case opted to set bail at $1.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple is among those highly critical of the judge’s decision to set bail at a $1 for an alleged murderer:

“You’ve got a kid sitting in our jail for murder, allegedly murdered somebody, and we’re going to set a dollar bail?”

“Thank God there’s a hold on him, from the federal system, but that could be lifted today, that could be lifted Tuesday, and what happens then? Somebody’s going to pay a dollar and a murder is going to walk out of jail. This is making a mockery of our criminal justice system and people need to stop this.”

Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ Office released a statement regarding the absurdly low bail amount set in Sabb’s case, noting:

“We are looking for legal remedies to address this bail decision, but we are limited as this is an application of the new statutes. We are doing what we can to ensure he is held in custody.”

Sabb’s case has been reportedly transferred from the Albany City Court over to the Albany County Court, with county officials saying that they’ll be addressing the matter quickly.

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Back in February, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a revealing report regarding the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the bail reform practices regarding alleged offenders making their scheduled court appearances after being released from custody. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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BUFFALO, NY – The impact of bail reform in New York has recently revealed some concerning numbers, in that nearly one-third of defendants issued appearance tickets wind up missing their scheduled court appearances.

Law enforcement officials and legal experts recently weighed-in on what bail reform looks like after having it as a reality for over one year.

Samuel Davis, who is an attorney and of-counsel at The Dolce Firm, feels that bail reform was something that needed to be addressed and implemented before it came into reality in the onset of 2020. But even he noted that the execution of bail reform, “shook the system”.

Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia is aware of what the intended spirit of bail reform was meant to address, saying the following:

“The last thing you want is somebody arrested on some non-violent property type crime, who’s not a repeat criminal, and sitting in the holding center, because they can’t come up with $1,000, or even $100. That’s just not necessary.”

Yet, looking back at how bail reform actually came to be, Deputy Commissioner Gramaglia is well aware of the prevalent flaws that can lead to some serious issues within the community, saying:

“We’ve seen repeatedly defendants arrested multiple times with pending gun cases where our officers are out there, putting their lives at risk, arresting individuals – violent felons with guns again and again.”

Defendants facing gun-related charges in the era of bail reform has been one of the topics hosting the highest contentions. Deputy Commissioner Gramaglia stated that judges handling some of these cases are being far too lenient on bail amounts:

“The problem that we’re seeing repeatedly is judges giving very low bail and in some cases, no bail.”

The new procedures surrounding bail reform within New York, with several offenses that would’ve previously prompted for defendants to have a bail hearing before a judge, are now simply being cited with court appearance tickets and the defendants are set free.

Deputy Commissioner Gramaglia commented on that saying:

“When they’re picked up on that warrant, if it was a qualifying offense to begin with, they have to be released. The judge cannot set bail, they have to walk out the door.”

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn noted that while it’s been a year since bail reform was enacted, it’s still unclear as to the exact degree that the released defendants are contributing to the likes of violent crime, saying:

“The reality of the situation, okay, is that we, meaning the police, don’t really know if it’s a concern. Because the majority…of the homicides, and the non-fatal shootings are unsolved. I don’t know who did it. So if the guy is out on bail and he did it I might not know.”

Despite there being a lack of quantifiable data to examine in order to understand to what degree bail reform is impacting violent crimes, Erie County DA Flynn is nonetheless frustrated that his office can’t even entertain the possibility of requesting bail amounts for certain alleged offenders.

He stated:

“[Before the enactment of bail reform] I told all my assistant DAs, ‘Listen here, from now on, don’t ask for bail on any misdemeanors or non violent felons, unless there’s a darn good reason.’ And, the problem is now with the bail reform is that there’s no longer that darn good reason “John Flynn” category.”

But what can be measured, data-wise, is the ratio of appearance tickets issued versus defendants appearing in court. In Erie County and the state courts in 2020, out of the 4,347 people issued appearance tickets for court, 1,339 defendants didn’t show up to their first court date.

That’s nearly a third of all defendants.

And judges can apparently only issue warrants for failure to appear on desk tickets if a defendant misses two court dates. Reportedly, 570 warrants were issued in 2020 for failure to appear in court under desk tickets.

But even when these sort of failure to appear warrants get issued, Deputy Commissioner Gramaglia said there’s not nearly enough “manpower” to just go rounding up these individuals with warrants:

“We certainly don’t have the manpower to go out looking for every single warrant that’s been issued, you know, through Buffalo City Court. But, there are obviously certain levels of crimes, very higher level, violent crimes and things of that nature that we absolutely will send people out for.”

While the DA and the deputy police commissioner agree that the concept of bail reform is inherently a good thing, they also agree that there’s some areas of opportunity to make the implementation of it better.

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