New York state’s brand new “bail reform” law proved to be something of an embarrassment last week when a woman, Tiffany Harris, was arrested several times for misdemeanor assault and harassment charges against Jews — only to be released without bail due to the new law.
This came on the heels of the anti-Semitic machete attack, where five Jews observing Hanukkah were hacked by a deranged anti-Semite.
Naturally, the press had a field day with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo — the two principal architects of the bill. So hizzoner and hizexcellency have beaten a hasty retreat.
Cuomo, who proudly signed the bill into law, blamed the “system” saying, “There’s no doubt that this is a work in progress.”
“Changing the system is complicated,” he added.
This is especially true when the “change” allows anti-social individuals to roam the city looking for targets for their rage.
Meanwhile, De Blasio stepped in last week and got a judge to order Mrs. Harris off the streets — which sort of defeats the purpose of the “reforms,” but who’s noticing?
And if you become a victim of a criminal released with no bail, you better have a gun.
And as disturbing as the bail changes seem, worse is on the way: Revisions in discovery procedure mean that defendants now free on no-bail will be told where key witnesses against them live; it takes little imagination to see where that will lead: Look for witness shortages, one way or another.
For certain, none of this is going to make for safer streets. Quite the contrary, and especially not in largely minority neighborhoods, where most violent crime occurs and where most victims live. This is ironic, given that the premise of the reform was to buffer minority New Yorkers against a supposedly unfair justice system.
The problem with “reforming” the justice system is that advocates proceed from the premise that the law is racist and administered in a racist manner. They base that observation on the fact that more people of color are in jail and serving prison terms as a percentage of the U.S. population than should be.
Perhaps they think we should have racial quotas for prisons and stop basing incarceration on mundane things like criminal acts.
I support reforming drug laws so that past minor offenders can have their records expunged, but what’s a “minor” offense? Like “bail reform,” it sounds wonderful to the liberal ear — compassionate, expansive, generous. But then you have cases like Tiffany Harris or you release a gangbanger from prison because of his “minor” drug offense. What then?
Society will end up paying the price for liberal “compassion” — as they always do.