Attorney Nicholas Hicks covers the pros and cons of the new cash bail law in New York.
A new law recently went into effect, creating a wave of concern among citizens in New York. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that legislation passed a new state law that removes cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent offenses. While Democrats believe the law protects the poor from unjust imprisonment, others say it opens the door to more danger and crime.
According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, research was conducted which concluded that poor defendants, especially minorities, spent more time in jail compared to wealthier defendants who were accused of committing the same crimes. Now, New York judges will focus on offering the least restrictive options that will still encourage the accused to come back for their court appearances. People can be released on their own recognizance and courts can remind defendants of court appearances via text messages, emails, phone calls and regular mail.
Mayor Bill Blasio believes the new cash bail law should be amended so that judges can have more discretion when deciding if someone is actually safe to release. Although many positive reforms have been made, Attorney Nicholas Hicks states that some believe the new bail laws have gone too far.
Even though the new bill recently went into effect, the release of so many persons has made some people very concerned. Attorney Nicholas Hicks explains that in just a few weeks, people accused of very serious crimes were released back to the streets. New York residents have reported feeling less safe in their neighborhoods and are scared these people will immediately repeat their alleged crimes.
Republicans believe the new law makes it seem like democrats are weak on convicting criminals. According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, many people are asking Democrats to explain to the public how the law has made their lives better or safer. Councilman Joe Borelli of Staten Island is comparing New York’s system to New Jersey’s, saying they have a more responsible bail reform. Attorney Nicholas Hicks believes that some New York residents will not lightly accept the appearance of New Jersey being more ‘sensible’ in their approach to bail reform.
Local law enforcement officials have felt crippled by the cash bail law and another recent measure that expedites the discovery process for evidence. According to Attorney Nicholas Hicks, New York law enforcement officials are now requesting increased funding, that they say, is necessary to comply with the new discovery laws as well.
More funding has already been given to pretrial services, a department in local government that will feel more of a burden with the new laws. Pretrial services manage defendants who must call in on a regular schedule to check-in and get information about their upcoming court hearings. Attorney Nicholas Hicks notes that this department also handles defendants who are assigned ankle monitors for house arrest.
Despite negative drawbacks, some still remain hopeful that the new laws will benefit society. Some people feel like the process was unfair, but is no longer. Many defendants can skip lengthy stays in jail while a backlog of criminal court cases are heard before them, spending more time being productive to society instead of draining resources locked up.
Nicholas Hicks was rescued from NYC foster care at the age of 5 years old. Lawyer Nicholas Hicks attended both public and private schools where he eventually graduated from ECC, UB & UB Law School. He specializes in various areas of practice, including injury cases, debt elimination, criminal defense, divorce, child support, child custody, and more.