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Green Party Blasts Efforts to Weaken Bail Reform

2/24/20 - Green Party officials and members, including longtime criminal justice advocate Alice Green, said the effort to modify and overturn the newly enacted bail law was a cynical scheme by law enforcement and prosecutors to claw back lost power, and that it was cloaked in the language of moral panic that has always surrounded the mass carceral state.

The Greens called on the Legislature and Governor to resist attempts to modify the law to grant judicial discretion, and any attempt to change trial discovery laws.

"The facts are clear: ending cash bail and increasing trial discovery time has led to a decrease in crime and fewer rushed plea deals from poor and minority defendants in every state where it has been enacted. There is no evidence in any of these places of a mass crime wave due to the ending of cash bail.

Instead, we have ended the injustice where the accused- who are presumed innocent - sit in jail simply because they are poor, where they often lose their jobs and see their families torn apart. Make no mistake, this is an important step in dismantling mass incarceration, which is why the groups that have benefited from it are pushing back so vigorously.

We urge the Legislature and Governor to stand firm," said Alice Green, director of The Center for Law and Justice in Albany and former Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor and Mayor of Albany, who added:

"Judicial discretion only takes us backwards

and increases racial disparity in the system. We are reminded of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who warned us of the tyranny behind preventative detention based on predictions of future dangerousness which is inconsistent with the basic democratic principle of presumption of innocence."

State party co-chair Peter LaVenia added:

"We condemn the moral panic whipped up by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the media over this law. Mass incarceration created the expectation from police that they could harass and jail poor and mostly minority suspects with impunity, and from DA's that they could force plea deals from the accused without trial.

The mass carceral state - essentially a police state - has shattered lives and devastated communities. We call on the Legislature and Governor to not cede one inch on this law, which has taken the first serious steps in decades towards restoring power to citizens from law enforcement.

By focusing on the hysteria generated by the law, rather than the facts and the vast number of people helped by it, the media are manufacturing consent to a reactionary rollback of this law. It is unfortunate, and we as a party hope to see a turn in reporting to covering the whole story, and downplaying the self-serving narrative of those opposed to cash bail reform," concluded LaVenia.

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