Congressman Anthony Brindisi stood with local law enforcement and joined Democrats and Republican New York lawmakers to call Governor Andrew Cuomo to address concerns regarding soon-to-be-implemented criminal justice reform. Brindisi joined New York members Tom Reed (R-23), Max Rose (D-11), Peter King (R-02), John Katko (R-24), Elise Stefanik (R-21), and Lee Zeldin (R-01) to share their concerns with the Governor.

“We need responsible, common-sense, criminal justice reform in this state and in this country,” Brindisi said. “But it cannot come at the expense of the safety of our communities. New York State needs to listen to local law enforcement from places like Upstate New York and take into consideration the unique challenges facing our law enforcement departments and our local budgets.”

Brindisi’s efforts were praised by local law enforcement officials.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Brindisi for standing with local law enforcement on this important issue,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol. “The Congressman always puts the safety of our communities first and listens to the people on the ground, doing the work every day. I am hopeful that the Governor’s office will listen to Congressman Brindisi and the bipartisan group of lawmakers on his letter and re-evaluate this with the input of local law enforcement.”

“As a law enforcement officer, I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for taking the time to listen to the men and women who protect and serve,” said Broome County Sheriff David E. Harder. “The fact that the Congressman took the time to weigh in, in a bipartisan way, shows he takes both community safety and the needs of law enforcement in his district seriously. Hopefully, we can all work together to address law enforcement’s concerns and keep our communities safe.”

Earlier this month, law enforcement officers from across Central and Upstate New York expressed concern with the upcoming changes to the law.  The new laws will accelerate the timeline for authorities to process case materials, potentially placing a larger burden on taxpayers. Local district attorneys have estimated their operating budgets will increase by at least 30 or 40 percent due to this law.

“While we agree criminal justice reform has long been needed around the country, New York State’s new soft-on-crime bail laws, which will let dangerous criminals roam free, endanger their victims, and hamstring the authorities who want to hold them accountable, this is not the answer,” the lawmakers wrote. “Additionally, this new law will cripple local counties and municipalities that will be forced to pass along new, unfunded mandates required in the bill to local taxpayers.”

Brindisi’s bipartisan letter to Governor Cuomo is below:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

After hearing from multiple district attorneys from across the state and many local city officials, we would like to express our concern over the recently passed criminal justice reform bill in New York state which will be implemented this January.

While we agree criminal justice reform has long been needed around the country, New York State’s new, soft-on-crime bail laws, which will let dangerous criminals roam free, endanger their victims, and hamstring the authorities who want to hold them accountable, is not the answer.

For example, local district attorneys must turnover witness names, statements, and contact information to the defense within 15 days of first appearance, and with the bail reforms implemented in this law, almost all defendants will be on the street. A defendant will also have access to the crime scene through a court order – even if it is the home of the victim. Further, grand jury testimony- which has long been a secret by statute – must now be turned over within 15 days of arraignment on a felony case, along with the addresses of witnesses.

With these changes Mr. Governor, we are concerned about violent criminals being released back into our communities.

Additionally, this new law will cripple local counties and municipalities that will be forced to pass along new, unfunded mandates required in the bill to local taxpayers. We already know people are fleeing the state because of tax and spend policies coming out of Albany. As representatives of New York, we do not want this exodus further fueled by the high cost of policies from the State Capitol being pushed down to the local level.

Local district attorneys have estimated their operating budgets will increase by at least 30 to 40 percent due to this law, with costs coming from overburdensome discovery standards that New York state cannot even comply with. For example, lab results must be turned over within 15 days before the start of trial readiness, but New York State police labs are backed up for months. Under the requirements of this new law, district attorneys will be forced to turn to costly private labs to avoid speedy trial dismissal

Therefore, we request that you put forward reforms to be considered immediately in this upcoming legislative session to protect law-abiding citizens, victims of crime and our already overburdened taxpayers.