The reforms abolished cash bail for most misdemeanors and “nonviolent” felonies, with an exception for “domestic violence” misdemeanors. Speedy trial and discovery reforms were also included in the bail reform package; previously, New York’s speedy trial law had gaping loopholes, and the state had some of the worst laws governing discovery, which didn’t require prosecutors to turn over evidence until the night before trial. Additionally, progressive legislators were able to fend off incorporating “dangerousness” considerations into bail decisions, keeping New York as one of the only states without “dangerousness” considerations. However, the reinforcement of the “violent/nonviolent” distinction, as well as the bill opening the door for electronic surveillance, has some advocates less than enthused. You can read The Bronx Freedom Fund’s statement here.
The reforms don’t go into full effect until January 2020, but most could be implemented immediately. However, the courts have refused to fast-track the reforms.
Summarized by Lillian Kalish