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New York criminal justice reforms for 2020 draw mixed reactions

'The statute did provide some exceptions for (domestic violence) cases, but the exceptions don't cover everything that I believe should be covered.'

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2020 is less than a week away. That's when New York's criminal justice reforms are set to take effect.

One of the most talked-about changes is the elimination of cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses. 

Those in favor of the reforms say the changes were long overdue and necessary. They also say this will make the criminal justice system more fair for everyone.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo was in town he told reporters, "This system has been enacted by other states, and I don't think it's going to have the traumatic impact that some people would suggest."

However, several people have spoken out against the reforms.

Those people include members of law enforcement, state and local lawmakers, and advocates of domestic violence.

Mary Travers Murphy, the CEO of the Family Justice Center, told 2 On Your Side, "My fear is that it could make already dangerous situations for victims of domestic violence even more dangerous."

She added, "One of the most critical things that we can do, services that we can provide for victims of domestic violence, is to give them safety plans done by domestic violence advocates, crafted and drafted and customized to what's going on in the relationship."

The law does include provisions in cases of domestic violence. So, those in favor of the changes argue these victims will still be just as protected come 2020. 

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said he supports criminal justice reforms, but he still has concerns heading into the new year.

"The statute did provide some exceptions for (domestic violence) cases, but the exceptions don't cover everything that I believe should be covered. I am definitely concerned that individuals in (domestic violence) cases are more frequently gonna be out on bail come January first," he said.

In 2019 alone there were at least a dozen domestic violence-related homicides in Erie County.

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