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BLOG: Public relations battle begins over future of 'bail reform'

BLOG: Public relations battle begins over future of 'bail reform'

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Unless you have been living under a rock, chances are you are aware of the state's controversial bail "reform" laws and the furor in some circles over them.

Those opposed to them, which includes most in law enforcement, victims advocates and many judges, have been vociferous in their opposition.

Those complaints started building last year, and now it seems that those who pushed for the law are seeing that the groundswell of opposition prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to acknowledged it was a "work in progress."

(I'm not sure why that conclusion wasn't made last year, before the law took effect Jan. 1, because many stakeholders in the criminal justice system began raising questions even before these changes were hastily attached to the 2019-20 state budget. I personally think laws should be "works in progress" before they are enacted, but I guess I just don't understand how the legislative process works.)

So it was just a matter of time before public relations firms and special interests became involved, with television commercials featuring actors playing friendly-looking alleged criminals who plant trees now running, urging the Legislature to keep the laws intact. We've received a number of press releases along those lines as well.

Today, I saw social media advertisements from Republicans advocating changes. And opponents of the changes are increasingly vocal on social media, as Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy's Facebook page seeking repeasl of the changes has gotten 130,000 members in 10 days.

Expect this back-and-forth to continue at least through this legislative session. And we will see if anyone is satisfied with what changes, if any, are made.

-- Don Lehman

Don Lehman covers police and court matters, Warren County government and the outdoors. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or


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