Advocates rally in Melrose for immediate bail reform

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MELROSE -

Advocates rallied in Melrose Tuesday afternoon for bail reform.

Many in attendance told News 12 they have been fighting for the change and that in about three weeks it will come into effect.

However, advocates say they want the reform to change now. They say a big priority on their agenda is getting people released prior to trial, avoiding a bond payment.

Protesters say they believe District Attorney Darcel Clark can make the change now but is choosing not to do so.

At the start of the new year, New Yorkers can expect bail reform that includes a change to the law to end bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges. This means the court will have to take in consideration the individual's financial status, but restrictions will be different for people charged with sex offenses and domestic violence cases.

Another change will also set new deadlines for discovery reform. The district attorney will have 15 days after a defendant is arraigned to provide information and evidence to their lawyers. This change prevents defendants from staying in jail before their trial.

Organizers say often times people have not been convicted of anything but can't get out because they can’t afford it. Starting this early, they say, would give those arrested a chance to spend the holidays with their families as they await trial.

Protesters are also demanding that the district attorney hold police officers accountable when it comes to wrongful arrests.

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