Suffern's police chief joins chorus of law enforcement leaders calling for changes to bail reform law

Posted: Updated:

A burglary case in Peekskill is attracting the attention of critics of the new cash bail reform law, bringing them to call on lawmakers to either repeal or amend the new law.

Peekskill police charged Jonathan Martin with burglary after allegedly breaking into the bedroom of a teenage girl on Friday. Police say the new cash bail law allowed him to walk free until trial.

But after being released, he allegedly smashed a glass door and was arrested again, charged with criminal mischief. He now resides at Westchester County Jail.

It also turns out that Martin was arrested last month for the same crime in Tarrytown.

Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn is among the growing number of law enforcement leaders condemning the new law, which took effect this month, limiting when a judge can impose bail on a defendant. He fears it puts public safety at risk.

"The bail reform gives you a very limited amount of offenses you can give bail on," says Osborn. "Manslaughter second degree -- that's taking somebody's life."

But some state leaders are standing by the law. Sen. Pete Harckham says there are measures in place allowing judges to use discretion on when to apply bail, but he says he is open to improving the law.

"Whether it's adding a little more jurisdiction to judges, whether it's adding a few more types of crimes back into the bill," says Harckham.

Meanwhile, Democratic state Sen. James Skoufis is calling for an amendment to the cash bail law that would allow judges to consider "dangerousness" during pretrial detention.

Police have also taken issue with another law requiring them to hand over evidence to the defense within 15 days. Osborn says it will cause overtime pay to skyrocket.

Harckham agrees that the state needs to provide funding to help police departments meet the new mandates.

 

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