Albany, New York – The state of New York must be really appealing to would-be criminals.
Bail reform, sanctuary status for illegal immigrants and driver’s licenses for them too. Now, it seems like they can’t even keep track of all the criminals on parole that flock to the state and commit crimes. It’s practically a criminal’s utopia.
A recent investigation done by CBS 6 has revealed that New York state has lost track of literally thousands of people on parole – you know, the people that need to be most closely monitored upon reentering society.
According to the outcome of the investigation, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision can’t account for nearly one out of ten people on parole in the state.
The parolees unaccounted for within the state are what’s known as “absconders”.
Karen Zieglar functions as the Director of the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center was surprised to hear how many were on the lamb in the state. That number being 3,275. Zieglar was astounded by that figure:
“Wow. I don’t think anyone in the community is aware of that number.”
This is outrageous, @NYGovCuomo. First your parole board releases cop killers and other murderers. Now, we find out they lost track of over 3,000 parolees. Is your administration purposely doing everything it can to make New York less safe? https://t.co/8fpfHBYrVP
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) February 18, 2020
That was the figure reported as of January 6th of this year – a month and a half ago, and only a few days after “bail reform” started. Updated figures – which may be considerably higher – weren’t available as of the time of this report.
People who “abscond” from their parole are individuals who are required to maintain contact with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision while finishing up the remainder of their sentences while at home or a halfway house.
This typically entails cadenced visits on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, with periodic drug and alcohol screenings for those with a history of substance abuse.
Zieglar noted that these parolees who have vanished aren’t exactly the harmless type:
“These are not your average pickpocketers, these are people who are hurting and potentially devastating other people’s lives.”
This couldn’t be a truer of a statement by Zieglar. In fact, the local CBS 6 station was alerted about a recent absconder who was on parole for manslaughter while they were meant to be supervised.
When authorities finally caught up with the individual, they weren’t arrested for absconding from parole – they were arrested in connection with the shooting of a 16-year-old.
According to the DOCCS, they arrested an average of 175 parole absconders every month of 2019, but people are absconding from parole faster than the state can corral them back up.
In June of 2019, the total absconders were 3,203 and by January of this year it climbed to 3,275. Zieglar was asked her thoughts on what the numbers make her wonder.
Karen Zieglar replied to that question with:
“I would certainly want to know what they’re doing to find them.”
Zieglar isn’t desolate in her wondering what the state is trying to do to address for those unaccounted convicted felons.
The local news crew went straight to Anthony Annucci, the Acting Commissioner of the DOCCS with that very question. However, when Annucci was approached, his staff alongside stated to direct all questions to his public relations director.
Apparently, all the public relations department would state was that efforts would be made to inform victims when certain parolees removed their GPS device:
“If there is a known threat to a victim attempts would be made to notify them.”
Call me a skeptic, but I doubt any standard citizen in New York is aware they’re entrenched in the parolee-version of Operation Fast and Furious. That same skepticism is shared by Zieglar:
“I don’t think victims are being told, I don’t think they’re warned, I don’t think they’re aware they’re safety is being compromised.”
Wayne Spence, who is a parole officer and also the President of the New York State Public Employees Federation, noted that any active absconder is a public risk. The union Spence heads represents over 900 parole officers throughout the state, and pointed out one of the largest factors contributing for those unaccounted for. He noted that New York has been eliminating parole officer positions since the 1990s:
“We are still in need of parole officers out there to do the job.”
According to Spence, case loads have gotten essentially unmanageable. He noted that there should be a parolee-to-parole officer ratio of 20-to-1, but the reality is that most officers are among a 60-1 ratio currently:
“It’s asking a parole officer to turn water into wine. You’re asking them to do miracles, and it just doesn’t happen.”
Information that the DOCCS was willing to release on absconders showed that 95 of the missing parolees were sex offenders and 50 were considered violent sex offenders.
Of course, those aren’t the current numbers, those were details they begrudgingly released that were from May of 2019.
So, what does the DOCCS think about all this? Well, they actually think they’re doing a bang-up job:
“DOCCS supervision standards exceed or are within the established American Probation and Parole Association and National Institute of Corrections recommended standards.”
Keeping track of 9 out of 10 parolees isn’t a number to be proud of – there are some tasks where your average can’t be that of an -A. If a pilot landed a plane properly 9 out of 10 times, they likely wouldn’t be a pilot. Some endeavors require near perfect execution – and the resources to accomplish that success as well.
Troy, NY – For what seems like the 200th time, since December, we are telling you the story of another person released under the New York bail reform conundrum. And as has often been the case, the accused walks out of jail, hits the street and commits another crime…or two.
Scott Nolan was arrested in Troy, New York around 9 am and charged with shoplifting. He was released. Roughly 5 hours later, he was arrested again for allegedly assaulting a man.
Yep, you guessed it. He walked out again.
And two hours later was being cuffed, this time he was accused of hitting someone with a brick.
Thank you Governor Cuomo.
As reported by Breitbart’s John Binder, Nolan has a 50-page long criminal record.
Yet thanks to bail reform, crimes for which bail has been eliminated in New York include second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, third-degree assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, criminally negligent homicide, or aggravated vehicular homicide.
Nolan managed to find a crime to commit that would not allow him to walk free.
He is being held on second-degree attempted assault. Second-degree manslaughter won’t get you held, but attempted assault will?
Fortunately, there is at least one judge in New York finding a way to do something about this travesty that they call “bail reform.”
A Brooklyn judge may have found a temporary solution to the state’s ridiculous bail reform law. While it may not be applicable in every arrest made, he has already deployed it to send a serial burglar to jail.
In a ruling issued last week, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht found a 40-year-old statute, unknown to many. That rule allows judges to keep some repeat felony offenders in jail for up to 3 months.
Hecht used it to order prolific burglar Casey Knight locked up at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center in East Elmhurst.
Knight, 51, with seven prior convictions, had another burglary charge pending when he was released in December.
His release was all due to the bail reforms. He was subsequently arrested for allegedly pulling off three more heists in January.
Burglary in the second degree is one of the felonies on the bail reform list that are no longer eligible for bail.
Hecht in his ruling argued that the 1981 law was not changed when state lawmakers made their reforms, and should therefore still apply in this case.
“The exclusion of burglary in the second degree simply isn’t there,” Hecht said of the older law.
“Accordingly, based on all these factors, the court concluded that the least restrictive condition to reasonably assure his return was to remand for a period of ninety days.”
A spokesman for the Legal Aid Society, which represents Knight, said the office is still reviewing Hecht’s ruling “to determine next steps.”
Hecht’s application may not be a long-term solution and it has certainly divided opinion among legal experts.
“The judge rescued a very bad situation using this statute,” said Gershman, who added that state legislators overreached on the reform measure, exposing the system to “embarrassing” lapses.
Not only that, but every time a criminal is released without bail, and commits the same or worse crimes while waiting to go to trial, it only creates more victims.
It only creates more loss.
It only shows that lawmakers who support such legislation really do not care about their constituency and what impact crime has on their communities.
Jocelyn Simonson, a former public defender who teaches at Brooklyn Law School, said lawmakers clearly hadn’t intended to leave the old law on the books — and suggested the judge was using the case to air his own grievances with the new bail reforms.
“This is not a result that should be happening,” Simonson said. “He’s going out of his way to make a ruling that he didn’t have to make.”
Lawyer: Objection your Honor, speculation.
Um, Jocelyn…I hate to break this to you, but you cannot speak to what every New York lawmaker since 1981 “clearly intended.”
Jocelyn: I object.
Judge: On what grounds?
Jocelyn: On the grounds that the previous objection is devastating to my case.
Knight was busted in November 2018 for allegedly breaking into a Bedford-Stuyvesant building by busting through a windowpane on the front door and stealing more than $3,000 worth of jewelry.
A judge at the time set bail on Knight but he didn’t pay it, according to court documents.
He was behind bars for more than a year, until Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit released him without bail on Dec. 3 in anticipation of the coming bail reforms, which technically went into effect January 1st.
Where was Jocelyn then? Was she outraged that a judge was ruling based off laws that were not yet laws? Or is her disdain for a judge based solely off a judge using laws that are actual laws, simply because she disagrees with their interpretation of that law.
Once free, police say Knight then looted three more Bed-Stuy homes in the span of two weeks. The list of items he absconded with included music equipment, electronics, Play Station games and two pairs of shoes.
He was arrested February 1st and brought before Hecht five days later.
Hecht is just the latest New York judge to try to find a way around the bail reform measures.
Last month, Nassau County District Judge David McAndrews ordered accused serial bank robber Romell Nellis held on $10,000 cash bond, even though the charge was not bail-eligible under the new law.
Another Nassau judge was later forced to release Nellis without bail.
And wouldn’t you know it. Nellis hacked off his court-ordered monitoring ankle bracelet and hit up two more banks, police said.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on the topic of bail reform reform at campaign event, where she was kicking off her 2020 re-election effort.
“What I would just say is that we should just give this time. It’s been five minutes,” AOC told The Post when asked if the controversial new law needed to be amended.
“Give it a shot. We’ve had almost no time since these things have passed. So I would just say, in this environment with political pressure, to maybe just say let’s just slow down a bit.”
Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks during a ceremony to kick off her 2020 reelection effort in Parkchester, The Bronx, on Saturday. She warned that powerful moneyed interests had assembled to thwart the law’s success.
“There’s a very strong campaign coming from a lot of different interests to roll them back,” she said.
“I’m sure that there’a a lot of money with the bail bond industry, a lot of folks make a lot of money on cash bail, and I think that this is a well-funded campaign.”
Hey Alexandria, let’s be honest. The state of New York is a train wreck. The city of New York is a major train wreck, and you are one of the lead conductors. And the train wreck is about to get worse.
We have reported ad-nauseum about the criminal justice reforms that went into effect on Jan. 1, and the unintended (or maybe intended, who knows?) consequences of same.
We have seen a bank robbery suspect get arrested three times and released without bond.
We saw an anti-Semite get arrested three times in less than a week and released without bond each time.
That is until she punched a social worker…then she got put in a psych ward.
Basically what we have seen is a city and a state out of control, where lawlessness pretty much rules the day.
It has gotten so bad that this past weekend, a man shot at a police van wounding an officer, and then the next morning went IN to a police precinct and started shooting, injuring a police lieutenant. Criminals have become emboldened.
One area that has flown under the radar for the most part is the new disclosure requirements.
Basically, what this entails is that the prosecution must present all evidence to defense attorneys within 15 days of an arrest. This includes evidence, names and addresses of victims and witnesses, including emergency responders, and access to the crime scene, among other things.
Across New York, district attorneys, as well as law enforcement officials and others have raised alarm bells about the disclosure requirement, complaining that it puts an undue (and unfunded) burden on police departments and district attorney’s offices to comply with this law.
In New York City, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. has said that he is considering dropping criminal cases due to the substantial burden the law is putting on his office, according to WCBS in New York.
Employees at the DA’s office, numbering approximately 500 have been working late nights, weekends and holidays in an effort to meet the deadline.
“We are evaluating whether to defer or even decline prosecution in certain classes of cases,” Vance advised his staff in a Jan. 24 email. The email went out to approximately 500 assistant district attorneys who work in the office.
In speaking about the new laws, Vance said his office was “overwhelmed by paperwork” and what he calls the “unsustainable hours” that are required to comply with the new discovery rules.
According to CBS2 urban affairs expert Mark Peters, the new discovery rules are a major factor in Vance’s quandary.
“That’s a real public safety concern,” Peters said.
“Whenever you’ve got a situation where prosecutors feel like they need to start declining cases—not because they don’t have enough evidence, not because they’re not convinced of guilt, but simply because the burdens of discovery make it impossible to get the work done—that’s going to impact public safety.”
It is not just the time limit—15 days—that is causing the issue, but rather the specificity of what has to be turned over. There are 21 separate categories deemed favorable to the defense, including electronic recordings, 911 calls and witness statements.
“Every time that you use DNA evidence you’ve now got to turn over the qualifications of every single lab technician who touches the DNA, even though most of them are never going to testify at trial,” Peters said.
The long hours and burdensome late nights have not just impacted the Manhattan DA’s office. The Brooklyn DA’s office has lost 25 people since the law went into effect on Jan. 1
DA Vance has apparently offered $60 per diem payments to prosecutors who work past 9 p.m. or any weekend or holiday to get the paperwork done.
The New York legislature is apparently paying attention. Based on the numerous issues which have been raised statewide, Democrats in New York are promising to overhaul the law that is causing all the issues.
There has been a hue and cry since the law was put into effect and critics have included NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales—ironically one of the most liberal prosecutors in the state—and even New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been the target of severe criticism from rank and file officers of the NYPD.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky said of the proposal to overhaul the new law that it was “mission critical.”
“We want to give our prosecutors the ability to make effective cases,” he said. “Of course, when I hear the news that’s troubling.”
Kaminsky was referring in part to Vance’s proclamation that he may defer cases or decline to prosecute over the law.
Of course, all it takes is one fly in the ointment and in New York, that fly appears to be Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who has not been exactly Mach 2 with his hair on fire to fix the issue.
“I can’t say what we will do, won’t do, look at, won’t look at until I know how the law is working. I have to grade the exam before I can determine where we have to look.”
Has this guy been sleeping under a rock? The criminal justice system in New York is an unmitigated disaster. Grade the exam? How about you open your eyes?
The overhaul proposal was raised in the Senate, which led to rumors that Heastie was upset with Senate Majority Andrea Stewart Cousins, who made the overhaul public news.
“There’s gonna be days when the governor’s gonna disagree with me. There’s gonna be days when Andrea disagrees with me,” he said. “We have to continue to do our jobs.”
Of course, the usual left-wing suspects are not happy that the Senate is proposing an overhaul of the system, claiming that it puts “politics over people.”
We would argue that it puts common sense over emotion. The groups claim that if the overhauls are enacted, it would significantly increase the number of people who are incarcerated pending trial who are presumed innocent.
Gov. Cuomo, no doubt with his finger in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, is said to support the plan raised in the Senate, saying he proposed the same thing last year.
Clearly, the experiment is not working. Something needs to be done…and soon.
Look at what happened just last week.
A man who police say was the victim of a beating at the hands of MS-13 members in 2018 was found dead in New Cassel.
Police identified Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez, 36, as the man found dead behind an abandoned home on Broadway last Sunday.
Police say Rodriguez was one of three victims of a gang assault over a year ago. According to the Nassau District Attorney’s Office, Rodriguez was protecting someone who was being bullied in 2018 when he was beaten and stabbed by MS-13 gang members known to police as the “Gang of Nine.”
Rodriguez was a witness set to testify in a 2018 MS-13 assault case, according to police.
The DA’s office says as a result of the investigation into that case, nine MS-13 members were arrested for assault and witness intimidation. They are still behind bars.
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder says the DA’s office had a hearing regarding the case going to trial in December of last year. He says at that hearing, it was decided that all information that had a protective hold on it would have to be turned over to the defense counsel days later. This included witness names and contact information.
“We don’t know if the defense counsel turned that information over to the defendants, but we do know that right after that time period, we started this pattern of intimidation,” says Ryder.
Ryder says that on January 30th, one of the other witnesses was shot at. Two days later, he says Rodriguez was beaten but escaped. He was found dead the following day.
In relation to the case, Ryder said at a news conference that “common sense reform decisions need to happen now.”
Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference that he blames the new bail reform law for the 36-year-old’s death. He says under the law, prosecutors must turn over all evidence against a defendant within 15 days of arraignment – including the identities of all witnesses and victims.
“We had a protective order that the DA put in place for over a year to protect that information, to protect our victims. That’s what we do,” says Ryder. “That protective order, because of the new changes in law, was lifted.”
In this case, Ryder says, as soon as Maldonado Rodriguez’s named was turned over to the defense team, he was found dead.
Ryder later released a statement, saying:
“As I indicted at my press conference there is no direct link between the death of Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez and criminal justice reform. The information and facts of the case that I provided are accurate.”
In this case, Ryder says, as soon as Maldonado Rodriguez’s named was turned over to the defense team, he was found dead.
“The system failed. The system failed, this man is dead,” Ryder said.
The commissioner says since the new law took effect major crime has increased by 5%. He is pleading with lawmakers to make changes to the law before someone else dies.
“Justice reform is not taking care of our victims,” he stressed.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement that she will be asking Albany to enact changes.
“I am calling on Albany to take corrective action to fix criminal justice reform immediately. These new discovery requirements pose a threat to both the victims and witnesses of crimes,” she wrote.
Ryder is fortunate that his crime has only increased 5%. 28 miles away from New Cassel, in New York City, serious crimes are at a 5-year high.
Ask the NYPD, and you’ll get a straight answer.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to figure this one out. There is one core reason why this number has escalated. And it is bail reform. According to department data, there is an ongoing spike that officials attribute to the state’s new bail reform law.
The latest Compstat data, which covers the time frame from January 1st through the end of the month, shows that total overall serious felonies — such as homicide, burglary, robbery and auto theft — are up 16.4% over the same period in 2019. The increase is 6% when compared to 2015, the data shows.
Crime in the city had been on the decline in the past few years.
Now, NYC is seeing double digit increases in burglaries, grand larcenies and auto theft, the latter up 70% over 2019 for the January reporting period, while robberies and felonious assaults saw single digit increases. The data does show that homicides are down nearly 20%, while rapes decreased by 18%.
But those numbers do not reflect the legitimacy of the increase of overall crime in the city.
According to Newsday, serious felonies citywide continued to rise throughout the month. NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea is scheduled to talk about the overall upward trend Tuesday during his monthly crime briefing.
He is again expected to call on the legislature in Albany to tinker with the bail law, which took effect January 1st. The new law eliminates bail for most nonviolent crimes.
To reinforce Shea’s stance, NYPD officials are most likely to provide data that details the percentage of newly arrested suspects that were put back out on the street while not posting bail and walking away from an arrest and possible jail sentence.
Commissioner Shea spoke a few weeks ago with some alarm at the crime trends, which are affecting most areas of the city, particularly Queens and northern Manhattan.
“You are seeing the affects in a very quick time and that is why we are so concerned,” Shea said at the time.
Advocates of bail reform have been pushing back at Shea’s remarks, calling them asinine and thoughtless.
“From day one, law enforcement has been intent on erasing the progress we’ve made through fear mongering that distorts the impact of the laws,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowski.
He’s the civil rights campaign director of the justice advocacy group Vocal-NY. He said in a recent statement:
“…threatening to take us back to a racist and unequal system that preyed upon Black, Brown and low income communities.”
Shea has said that he is a fan of bail reform, even doing away with bail altogether, but wants state judges to have the capability to set bail conditions based on a danger level to the community. With federal judges, they can set bail conditions, but their New York State counterparts are not allowed under the new state law.
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