Bronx DA Darcel Clark supports bail reform law at town hall meeting

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Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark held a town hall at the Bronx County Courthouse to give her thoughts on the state’s new bail reform law.

She got a positive reaction from the public while speaking about safety and fairness without mass incarceration, but there are still many questions people are hoping to get answered about bail reform specifically.

For most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, cash bail is no longer permitted. Judges must release people charged with those crimes with no cash bail, either on their own recognizance or with release conditions to ensure the person returns to court. For those charged with the most serious crimes, including almost all violent felonies and certain nonviolent felonies, judges will still retain the option to set cash bail.

But recent crimes are raising serious questions about the new law. A Bronx man was recently caught on video viciously beating his girlfriend in a violent attack in Orange County. He was let go with no bail. Jay Vasquez-Paulino was charged with four misdemeanors, but the Orange County district attorney said they were unable to protect the victim under the state's new law.

In another case, the feds were forced to step in to handle alleged serial bank robber Gerod Woodberry. The FBI says police arrested him after a January robbery, but he was freed – then wound up being arrested for another robbery.

Clark's office has been ahead of bail reform – implementing new policies since she took office in 2016, including not asking for a judge to set bail unless the criminal is violent.

 

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