Kathy Hochul hit by press for skipping questions on criminal justice changes: ‘Another day, another ditch’
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New York press criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., for what they called “11th hour” proposed changes to bail reform and “cowardly” caginess regarding any questions about her rollback plan.
The controversial 2019 bail reform law passed by the state’s Democrat-majority legislature limited a judge’s discretion to consider whether an individual should have to post bail. Hochul said in January that she supported the “fundamental premise” of the reforms.
The changes in her new 10-point plan, however, include provisions to give judges new criteria to determine who is eligible for bail, targeted reforms of the “Raise the Age” statute, raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old, and a strengthening of Kendra’s Law, which requires people who have mental health issues receive treatment, among other changes.
When pressed about how she intends to amend bail reform, Hochul has told reporters in recent days that she “doesn’t negotiate in public.” After co-authoring a defensive op ed with Lt. Governor, many in the press accused Hochul of hypocrisy. Brian Benjamin, Wednesday’s New York Daily News columnist, argued that their opinion piece was the definition public negotiation.
In their joint piece, Hochul and Benjamin said the 2019 bail reform passed by the state legislature was “successful,” but not “perfect.” Since the measure passed, New York has seen a crime wave, including “a distressing increase in shootings and homicides,” they wrote.
” Hochul and Benjamin stated that they are committed to protecting the gains made towards a fair criminal justice system. “But this is not in contradiction with making thoughtful, measured modifications to our laws that would enhance public safety.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Annex in the Brooklyn borough of New York Jan. 20, 2022. (Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Paul Frangipane/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Monday: we won’t negotiate our positions in public and in the press, full stop Wednesday: here’s an op-ed in a newspaper about the thing we said we wouldn’t negotiate in public and in the press,” Dan Clark, host of PBS’ “New York Now,” said of the op-ed.
NY1 News reporter Zack Fink shared a clip of Hochul not answering his questions about bail reform on Twitter.
“Another day, another ditch,” Fink tweeted. “@GovKathyHochul was quickly whisked into an SUV after delivering remarks about the Bronx. @nyspolice blocks us from getting closer. Hochul has refused to answer any specific questions about her 11th hour proposal to change criminal justice laws in budget.”
“Cowardly Kathy,” Law & Crime editor Colin Kalmbacher tweeted.
New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference the day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation at the New York State Capitol, in Albany, New York, U.S., August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Schultz
“Hopefully no one tells @GovKathyHochul that the executive budget she proposed in January was released to the public or she won’t be able to keep claiming she doesn’t ‘negotiate in public,'” David Lombardo, host of WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, tweeted Monday.
Some Democratic New York lawmakers were as upset as the plan’s lack of transparency.
“Governor Hochul ran from the media because what she’s offering most of us is a combo of crumbs criminalization,” Bright Dae-Jung Limm of the Working Families Party of New York tweeted. “We need the whole dinner and policies that actually create public safety. We will get what we need even if we reject her budget proposal and her next term. “
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 06: NYPD officers respond to the scene of a shooting that left multiple people injured in the Flatbush neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough on April 06, 2021 in New York City. So far this year New York City has seen a 40% rise in shootings over the same period in 2020. (Photo by Michael Santiago/Getty Images
(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
One lawmaker, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), even threatened to go on a hunger strike to oppose Hochul’s plan. The back and forth about Hochul’s proposals happens just weeks before the state budget is finalized.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams ran and won last year on a platform that included what some considered a tough-on-crime policy, saying it was a far cry from the strained relationship between the police and the mayor’s office under the leadership of Bill de Blasio.
Hochul’s disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned from office following sexual harassment allegations, is reportedly considering staging a political comeback and running against Hochul next year. Media analysts and observers called Cuomo’s purported move “insane,” but not surprising, arguing that was his plan since the day he resigned.
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