Lawyers in New York City will soon be referring to a new criminal justice system in the state, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed changes to the current set of laws.
Cuomo drew inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr. in planning to overhaul state laws, as part of his “New York Promise” program. The proposal will seek to change existing policies regarding bail, which can only be granted if the accused party can pay a certain amount of money to ensure their presence in a court trial.
By changing the rules surrounding bail, Cuomo believes that underprivileged defendants can temporarily be released without requiring them to provide money. It will also eliminate a common belief that the right to freedom equates to a specific monetary amount.
Another change under the proposal involves defendants being allowed to be set free, when a judge rules during bail hearings that they pose no threat to society. New York is one of four states that do not exercise this option and by amending the justice system, people could then remain with their families and jobs until such time that the court summons them for trial.
Other intended changes to the criminal law include an improved pace of trials as speedy as possible, shorter delays to court proceedings and comprehensive steps to uphold the credibility of police investigations, notes Marc J. Bern & Partners.
Cuomo’s plan gained praise from various law professionals and civic groups, saying the initiative is a step in the right direction.
Soffiyah Elijah, Alliance of Families for Justice executive director, hopes that 2017 will be the year that the state legislature would approve Cuomo’s second attempt in raising the minimum age for defendants to be prosecuted as adults. The current law states that 16- and 17-year-old people should be tried as adults.
Lawyers in New York City are among the best in the country, whether or not they work on high-profile cases, so amending state laws will surely affect their line of work one way or the other.