The National Police Association Supports New York Bill to Restore Common Sense to the State’s Bail Laws

The National Police Association Supports New York Bill to Restore Common Sense to the State’s Bail Laws

SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Stock Image

Indianapolis – May 10, 2024. As unbelievable as it sounds, New York State law prohibits judges from considering a defendant’s danger to the public when considering bail. The law states that judges can only set cash bail to ensure defendants return to court. Now, the New York legislature has a bill allowing judges to determine a defendant’s immediate risk to the community when considering whether bail is appropriate. The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Edward Ra (019) on the Assembly side and by Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick (09) on the Senate side. Both versions of the bill are currently in the Codes Committee for consideration. The Assembly bill can be found here, and the Senate bill is here.

New York’s bail reform law, which passed in 2019 and went into effect in 2020, eliminated cash bail (get out of jail free) for most misdemeanor crimes like shoplifting and grand larceny; and most “non-violent” felonies, including those involving drugs. Since its enactment, the law has been amended three times to expand the list of crimes eligible for cash bail; and to allow judges more latitude when considering bail, provided they take the least restrictive course of action.

A4208 / S5335 adds an amendment to allow judges to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a defendant poses a threat to the community or is a flight risk, and thus can be held without bail. To prevent abuses and arbitrary judgments, the court would be required to explain, on record, its reasoning for denying bail. Other aspects of the current law would remain. Misdemeanors and most “non-violent” felonies, for example, would still be ineligible for cash bail.

The bill would taper the cycle of arresting and releasing criminals, only for them to re-offend. In an analysis for the Manhattan Institute, a retired veteran district attorney discovered that the re-arrest rate in New York City was nearly 70% for offenders arrested for prior offenses, including larceny, burglary, and robbery. Both suspects involved in the killing of NYPD police officer Jonathan Diller had multiple prior arrests.

Bail reform has created more crime victims and usurped the quality of life for the citizenry. It has also had profound negative effects on law enforcement. When police have to expend valuable time and skill to re-arrest offenders who don’t respect our laws, it harms officer morale. It also takes resources from other essential police work, including task forces, community building, and proactive policing, which has been demonstrated as an effective problem-solving tool used to prevent crime.

“Amending New York’s current bail reform to allows judges to examine a defendant’s criminal history when considering bail, is reasonable and will help keep those accused of committing the most heinous crimes off the street,” said Paula Fitzsimmons, Legislative Director, of the National Police Association. “Requiring judges to apply sound reasoning for denying bail, in writing, would prevent abuses and protect a defendant’s rights.”

We commend Rep. Ra and Sen. Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick for introducing this bill. Given that it would aid in reducing crime and free up resources for other law enforcement initiatives- especially at a time when police staffing numbers have plummeted- we urge the New York legislature to pass it.


About The National Police Association: The National Police Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit Educational/Advocacy organization. For additional information visit