Common Council Unanimously Passes Bail Reform Resolution

Asks Albany to revisit loopholes in cashless bail system

WBEN Newsroom
January 07, 2020 - 4:12 pm

Brendan Keany

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BUFFALO (WBEN) - The Buffalo Common Council has unanimously passed a resolution asking the New York State Legislature to consider making immediate changes to the state's criminal justice reform laws.

The resolution specifically targets the recently instituted cash bail laws, which prevent judges from placing bail on a person accused of misdemeanors or non-violent felonies.

Councilman Joel Feroleto, who introduced the resolution along with Councilman Chris Scanlon, says he's pleased that everyone on the Council appears to be on the same page.

"We've seen specific instances of crimes committed and a judge not have the ability to set bail - not even the possibility," said Feroleto. "Several of those instances have been widely publicized in the news, and I'm happy that this body unanimously passed a resolution asking asking the State Legislature to make changes to the law."

Feroleto cited several cases where somebody has died and the person who killed them were released without bail. He brought up a New York City incident of a man allegedly killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, an Albany man accused of manslaughter after he strangled and stabbed a woman, and hate crimes in New York City.

The members of the Council all seemed to agree that cash bail unfairly targets economically disadvantaged residents, and that the heart of the reforms were in the right place, but there were some unintended consequences that need to be tied up.

"I think it's encouraging that we're seeing the governor and others talking about being open to changes," Feroleto continued. "When we initially filed this resolution, those conversations weren't being had and people weren't talking about making changes because this law just went into effect a week ago, so I'm happy to see that there's so many people open to making changes..."

Listen to the Council discuss the passing of the resolution:

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