Mayoral-elect Eric Adams said that he would appoint criminal court judges who would be less open to allowing bail for suspects with a criminal history.
Adams, who has previously said he would call for modifying the bail reform laws but faces resistance in Albany, told ABC, “What’s happening now, it’s not the bill — [it’s] the judges. They’re not actually putting bail on where they could put bail on. You can’t have someone arrested with a gun on Monday and then out on the streets on Tuesday.”
The 2019 bail reform laws requires judges to release suspects of non-violent crime on bail. The controversial reform has been blamed for allowing perpetuators of hate crimes and people with criminal histories back on the streets.
Adams said he wanted to return to the initial understanding of the bill: “When you look at the bail law, those petty crimes, those other offenses…let’s stop putting people in jail because they can’t afford it when they didn’t do violent or predatory crimes.”
Adams mentioned the recent October killing of Saikou Koma, 21,who was shot while unarmed by Steven Mendez, 17. Mendez had been arrested four times, the most recent for charges related armed robbery in June 2020, but was released on five years probation .
“As mayor, I appoint criminal court judges and I’m going to be extremely clear: If you don’t understand that my city must be safe, and you can’t get caught up in the politics in this city,” Adams said. “And you must make sure that those who pose an imminent threat to our city — they are not going to be placed back on my streets and back into my community.”
Adams, once mayor, would have the power to appoint judges to the city’s family court, small claims civil courts and misdemeanor criminal courts.