Setting: Somewhere in the halls of New York’s state legislature, and senate...
"Hey, I got a great idea. Why don’t we join California and become one of the most liberal states giving criminals an open door policy? We could do away with cash bail, by almost eliminating it. That way the poor downtrodden criminals won’t have to stay in jail and will become positive, contributing members of our society. Together we will march arm in arm singing Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya.."
On paper the idea sounded, well... not so great, but perhaps palatable to state legislators. A mostly Democrat electorate would love the idea.
I reality, it all but did away with the municipal village, town and county judge system. No longer could the actual boots on the ground decide if a person’s history or crime, was worth applying bail to ensure they would return for assigned court dates.
Counties developed "CAP" Courts where area judges took turns in any and all crimes that had occurred. But Wait! Those very same judges would have strict rules so the poor downtrodden law breakers could go freeeeee.
Instead of relying on judgments by the people we refer to as "judges", the overall law system would know best.
The result, you ask? Shoplifters, domestic abusers, even more serious crimes and criminals refuse to show up on court dates. Some, three, or more missed court dates leading to police having to show up on their doorstep to rearrest them again and again and again for Failure to Appear.
Meanwhile many of those very same crime peeps continue on their same paths causing more mayhem for police and society.
California and a few other states are witnessing gang intrusions into stores, grabbing whatever they can, sometimes into the hundreds of thousands. Getting caught means only an appearance ticket, which the offenders too often ignore.
Yes, it is happening here as well. Police, along with local judges, frustrated beyond belief, simply waste more time hunting the re-hunted.
Wayne County had a system in place, before the NYS government went bat-shit crazy, to allow a solid pre-trail release program for those really down-stricken individuals facing medium, or high cash bails, to be released prior to court appearances.
The program was not perfect by any means, but it worked.
Why the state could not learn from little ole’ Wayne County’s format instead of going hog wild on crime releases is beyond me.
Good old New York State determined that a person committing crimes had to be over 18 years old, before realizing what they were doing wrong was a crime. Something most human beings know by age 7. If you are 18, or younger, State Police could no longer release your names under the new rules of Holy Albany.
The gurus of crime knowledge also placed the State Police under restrictions on releasing their mug shots. Something regular states have mostly ignored.
Luckily, when a person is arrested they are sent to jail under the supervision and control of the county sheriff departments. Those very same sheriff’s offices, along with local village and town police departments can ignore the state suggestions on mugs and release the photos.
The latest hinderance to arrests and arrest information is that the local press can no longer contact the individual state police barracks, sergeants, or troopers. Everything has to go through the PIO (Press Information Office) for the zone. Luckily our PIO now realizes what we need for reporting in the Times and what is required for a good, complete story.