BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As Buffalo remains on track for its deadliest year in a while, bail reform is front and center in discussions about violence. Some say the two are related but others argue violence is increasing across the entire country.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said he doesn’t want to speculate about whether people getting out on gun possession charges due to bail reform are the same ones committing violent crimes, but said one fact needs to be recognized.
“I am seeing more and more individuals getting let out on felony offenses in the past year and a half than in my first three years,” Flynn said.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said the spike in violence is a national problem.
“Chicago, Washington, all-seeing record numbers absolutely unrelated to bail reform. What it’s related to is the surge of unregulated guns in society, illegal guns coming across borders that do not have the same restrictions that we do,” Hochul said.
Assemblywoman Monica Wallace also doesn’t believe there’s a correlation. She said there is no data to back up the theory.
“What we did in bail reform was say low level, non-violent offenders should get appearance tickets,” she said. “Violent felons are and always have been eligible to get bail from the judges.”
Senator Patrick Gallivan proposed a bill that would allow judges to consider public safety to determine whether a defendant should be held.
He said this about bail reform in a statement:
“These new policies favor offenders over law-abiding citizens and have led to a sense of lawlessness, where those perpetrating these crimes have no fear of being held accountable for their actions.”
Wallace also said the state legislature just passed a bill to research the core causes of gun violence.