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Gov. Hochul addresses potential changes to New York bail reform laws

Hochul hopes to eliminate the state’s least restrictive measures clause.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — In front of a room of New York elected officials at her State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul is now calling the state’s controversial bail reform law into question.

“The bail reform law as written leaves room for improvement, and as leaders, we cannot ignore that,” Hochul said.

She announced her wishes to strike down the state’s “least restrictive measures” clause that would allow judges to set bail without having to consider the least severe conditions to ensure someone’s return to court.

“The way it’s manifested itself since bail reform is that when a judge factors in the least restrictive measure, they put the least restrictive dollar amount on the person which makes it easier for the person to get out now,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said.

It’s a problem the district attorney says he is seeing directly on the streets of Buffalo, as he believes the current reform law is allowing criminals to become repeat offenders and contribute to the 70% of unsolved homicides in the city

“I do believe, and we know this from our intelligence, that there is a small group of people who are committing, like 80-90% of our violent crimes,” Flynn said.

And while he shared that he thinks getting rid of the least restrictive clause is a step in the right direction, the DA says until new york joins the other 49 states and allows judges to weigh a suspect’s dangerousness when setting bail, the crime rates in New York state will not go down 

“I'm hoping that we get there at some point that you factor in whether or not this person is a danger to society,” Flynn said. “That has to be at some point part of the equation.”

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