To the editor:
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Riverdale Task Force applauds the state legislature for creating a more equitable criminal justice system by reforming New York’s bail and discovery laws.
Beginning next January, money bail will no longer be required for most misdemeanors and non-violent low-level felonies, meaning pre-trial freedom for thousands of New Yorkers — most of them low-income and people of color.
In addition, New York now has one of the strongest discovery laws in the nation. Prosecutors must now turn over evidence 15 days after first appearance, which will significantly reduce their ability to obtain coerced, uninformed or wrongful plea deals.
Further, some of the speedy trial loopholes that cause New Yorkers to languish in jail for months or years have been eliminated.
Our elected leaders have set New York on the right track, but further reform is required. We need to fully eliminate money bail and must enact laws that address court delays in order to truly guarantee speedy trials. Tell your elected officials to continue the work they began just last month in the state budget.
Sue Ellen Dodell
The author represents Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Riverdale Task Force, which includes Leah Ferster, Madeline Ritter, Deborah Schiavo and Aviva Schwab.