Deutsch Says No To Bail And Discovery Reform Laws
City Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest, Midwood) this week released an online petition letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling attention to his concern regarding state bail reform laws set to go into effect Jan. 1.
“Bail reform and discovery reform will revamp much of the criminal justice system in a manner that raises serious concerns for some. In the case of bail reform, the list of crimes for which judges can no longer order bail is lengthy. Just this week, we learned that after an arsonist set fire to a college dorm, he was released without bail – and re-arrested (and released again!) just hours later. This is the new world we live in here in New York City, and it’s frightening,” wrote Deutsch in a newsletter to constituents.
“Discovery reform will also have a substantial impact on crime in our city. Currently, in criminal litigation, the defense attorney (representing the accused), is permitted to request “discovery” – meaning all documents and information in the possession of the prosecutor relevant to the case. This includes witness and victim statements, grand jury minutes, and other evidence (e.g. DNA tests). This information is in order to aid the accused in mounting a defense, a critical right granted to all who are charged with a crime. Discovery is usually turned over once a trial date is set, which only occurs in about 3% of all cases.
“New laws will now require the prosecution to automatically turn over discovery within 15 days of arraignment. This means that even in cases where there is no trial, the defendant will have access to witness information and statements, and other documents that would otherwise not be released,” Deutsch added.
To sign the petition to say no to bail and discovery reform click here.
Rose Visits Troops For The Holiday
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island), a member of the House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and Homeland Security, left Camp Arifjan, a key military base that supports operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, Christmas Eve day after spending the day with American service members who are serving in Kuwait.
Rose is traveling with a bipartisan delegation of eight Members of Congress who are visiting troops in the Middle East to thank them for their service, receive classified briefing from military leaders, and meeting with diplomatic and economic personnel in the region.
“For so many soldiers on their 5th, 6th or even 10th deployment, missing the holidays is the new normal, but it’s never easy for them or their family,” said Rose, an Army combat veteran. “I’m honored to be able to join some brave men and women serving abroad this Christmas and Hanukkah to thank them for the sacrifices they’re making for our country. We still have soldiers all over the world serving and putting their lives on the line, and families celebrating the holidays without their loved ones. Let’s keep them, and especially those of Sgt. 1st Class Michael Goble who was killed in Afghanistan this week, in our prayers.”
The delegation departed Andrews Air Force Base last Sunday morning. While in Kuwait, they met with staff at the American embassy and received briefings on American foreign policy in the country. They will spend the next few days visiting additional countries in the region. The locations of those visits are being withheld for security purposes.
Eichenstein Against Con Ed Proposed Rate Hike
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein (D-Borough Park) last week wrote John B. Rhodes, Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) asking the commission to reject Con Edison’s proposed rate increase on electric bills.
“New York City customers are currently paying a monthly average of $145.55 for basic utilities, and that includes small apartment dwellers. New York’s residents typically pay 35-40% more for electricity on average than the rest of the country, and its rates are the fifth highest in the nation. Con Ed needs to do a lot of explaining to justify the substantial increase it is seeking,” wrote Eichenstin.
“Perhaps Con Edison should first demonstrate that its capable of upgrading its services before we consider their proposed rate increase which hard-working New Yorkers cannot afford right now,” he added.
The PSC is expected to vote on whether to approve a proposed rate increase by Con Edison which would go into effect in the coming year.
Ortiz Lauds New Traffic Controls
Assemblymember and Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) this week announced that new traffic controls will be installed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 59th Street in Sunset Park.
Ortiz said the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) conducted a study at this location after he informed the department that this location was dangerous and needed better traffic control lights. Installation is expected by June, 2020.
“Please remember to let me know of any intersections that you think need better traffic safety controls. We’ve seen one too many accidents recently. Your safety is always my primary concern,” he said.
Ortiz’s office is located at 4907 4th Avenue, Suite 1A in Sunset Park. The phone number is 718-492-6334.