The state of New York will soon allow accused criminals to inspect their own crime scenes and will quickly provide them with a complete list of named witnesses testifying against them as part of a series of new jailbreak laws.
As Breitbart News reported, New York’s bail reforms, set to go into effect January 2020, will ensure that suspects accused of crimes deemed “non-violent” are not jailed before their trial dates and do not have to post bail. Instead, these suspects are released directly back into the public and expected to show up for their court dates. Roughly 125,000 accused criminals are expected to be released from prison every year in the state.
Those so-called non-violent crimes include second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, criminally negligent homicide, and aggravated vehicular homicide.
As part of the measure, defendants will have new privileges in their criminal trials — including being allowed to inspect their own crime scenes. For example, if an individual is charged with home burglary, the suspect will be allowed to return to the victim’s home and inspect their property as part of their defense.
“It really boggles the mind that this is a reality for us now,” Lt. Steven Stockdale of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office told CBS 6 Albany in October of the provision. “Talk about re-victimization.”
Another portion of the law will more quickly give defendants a full list of named witnesses testifying against them in the criminal trial. Starting in January, the prosecution will be forced to hand over to defendants a list of named witnesses within 15 days of the defendants’ arraignment.
In June, the Manhattan Institute’s Seth Barron and Ralf Mangual wrote that such a provision will make it impossible for prosecutors to ensure witnesses are protected through the criminal trial process:
Prosecutors will no longer be able to assure witnesses that their identity will be protected, even in the case of grand jury testimony, which the new law will now require be disclosed. (While there’s a provision to ask a judge for a protective order to shield a name, that would come after cops and prosecutors talk to witnesses to make an arrest and build a case.) [Emphasis added]
Manhattan DA Cy Vance put it this way: “Having to hand defendants a roster of who has spoken out against them just 15 days after their first appearance, absent a protective order, is a seismic change that undoubtedly will dissuade witnesses who live in all neighborhoods from reporting crime.” [Emphasis added]
Manhattan’s District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez are just two of New York’s district attorneys, as well as law enforcement officials, who have spoken out against the bail reform plans. Both are progressive Democrats.
Across the county, jailbreak legislation is helping to free thousands of accused and convicted criminals from prison. Federally, the First Step Act that was signed into law by President Trump has thus far freed about 240 sex offenders, nearly 60 convicted murderers and assailants, as well as almost 1,000 inmates convicted of drug crimes.
Also freed by the First Step Act is Joel Francisco, a notorious former leader of the “Latin Kings” gang who immediately returned to a life of drugs after his release and is now accused of murder.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.