New coalition calls for changes to state's new bail reform law

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A new coalition is calling for changes to the state's controversial new bail reform law.

At a news conference Tuesday, local leaders announced the creation of what they call a common-sense coalition.

The group suggested changes to the bail reform law they want Albany lawmakers to consider -- such as giving judges discretion in setting bail for defendants based on prior convictions, criminal history and whether someone who has been previously arrested shows up for court.

Monique McCray and the group Central Islip Residents for Change spoke to residents at a community meeting Tuesday, asking them to sign and send letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state lawmakers requesting the bail reform law be suspended for six months while lawmakers review possible changes.

"You're allowing people to hurt other people and walk," said McCray. "Walking in the front door and walking right out the back door and walking back into our communities and that's not fair."

As News 12 has reported, last week a bench warrant was issued for 40 year-old Jordan Randolph, of Bellport, after he failed to show up for a court appearance on outstanding charges. Under the new law, Randolph, who has prior DWI convictions, did not have to post bail on a DWI charge. Police say Randolph was driving drunk when he crashed and killed 27-year old Jonathan Flores-Maldonado.

News 12 also reported on 20-year old Maria Campione of Island Park, who was arrested four times in one week after being released from a Nassau jail on New Year's Eve under the new bail reform law.

Members of the law enforcement community say they specifically want to see changes to the discovery portion of the law, which gives them 15 days to turn over everything they've collected in the course of their investigation to defense council.

"That means our witness' information, that means our victims' information all goes to the defendant and he has options within that 15 days to go back and view a crime scene," said Patrick Ryder, the Nassau County police commissioner.

While some local leaders are calling for change, state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie wants to let the reforms play out without changes, saying it's important to "have a criminal justice system that treats everybody fairly."

In a statement to News 12 following the meeting, state Sen. Monica Martinez, who one of the letters is being sent to, said in part, "Amendments to bail reform are imperative. Lawmakers should not leave Albany until amendments are passed. I will not leave Albany until reforms are made."

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