Hawley, Ortt speak out against ‘dangerous bail reform’

Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2020 at 5:22 pm

Photo from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office: Assemblyman Steve Hawley shares his concerns during a news conference today in Albany about the new bail reform law in the state.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Sen. Robert Ortt both are speaking out today about the state’s new bail reform regulations which don’t allow judges to set bail for many crimes.

Hawley, R-Batavia, joined law enforcement professionals, lawmakers and family members of crime victims at a press conference today in Albany held by Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay. They are seeking a repeal of “dangerous bail reform laws that are leading to serial criminals being released before trial.”

Joining lawmakers at the press conference today was Jennifer Payne, mother of Sarah Tombs who was shot and killed in April 2019 by her live-in boyfriend. The individual was released from custody last week under the new bail reform laws.

Also in attendance at the press conference was Sheila Harris, cousin of Maria “Rosie” Osai, a 35-year-old mother of three who was struck and killed by an unlicensed, hit-and-run driver in Rockland County on Christmas Eve. The driver was immediately released without bail pursuant to the new law.

“Bail reform has already become a public safety epidemic with a new, dangerous criminal released back out onto the streets seemingly each day,” Hawley said. “New York City politicians who passed this law are directly responsible for tying our judges’ hands and restricting their ability to lock up career criminals with long rap sheets and that has dire consequences. I am calling on legislative leaders to join us in making much-needed changes to bail reform immediately before any more damage is done.”

Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, issued a statement after a 21-year-old undocumented Guyanese immigrant allegedly raped and murdered 92-year-old Queens woman.

“This murderer was an illegal alien protected by New York’s radical regressives,” Ortt said. “He should have been deported and he would have been if he committed his violent crime nearly anywhere else in the country. How many more of our citizens need to die before New York Democrats wake up to the tragic effects their policies are having? Whether it’s complying with Democrats’ bail reform or Democrats’ sanctuary cities, dangerous criminals are being released back into our communities with alarming regularity.”

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R-Lockport) also attended the news conference and urged an immediate repeal of the new bail reforms which he said have caused confusion, fear and serious public safety concerns across the state.

“A full repeal is necessary right now!” Norris said. “This matter needs to be immediately addressed by the downstate driven majority legislature and Governor so that New Yorkers can remain safe in our communities. These sweeping changes never should have happened in this way. It was irresponsible to remove so much judicial discretion.

“By not allowing judges to decide if or how bail should be set in many of these cases, Albany has removed a critical public protection tool. Furthermore, it is extremely concerning to hear about cases all across our state where dangerous, repeat offenders are being set free only to commit new heinous acts – sometimes even on the same day they are released.”

Return to top