Criminal Justice Reform

Discovery, Use of Force Policy and Reporting, Bail Reform, and Raise the Age Consulting.

Discovery

Adhering to the 2020 Discovery mandates has got to be the most arduous task law enforcement has faced in all the recent Criminal Justice Reforms enacted in New York State. One major challenge police departments have endured with it is the lack of specific guidance of the law and then followed by different agency interpretations.

We have witnessed one department using a single-sided, single-page checklist to fulfill the requirements and then the State Police using a multi-page form that requires information based on particulars of the case at hand.

We can provide a department with a system to streamline the collection of the 21 different kinds of materials that the prosecution is required to turn over to the defense and to aid in the creation of a template to protect sensitive information in a Protective Order. This system will aid in meeting submission timeframes and ensure consistency from the department when fulfilling these mandates.

Use of Force Policy and Reporting

Upon it’s release, it was obvious that the authors of New York State’s Use of Force Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting legislation had no experience or general understanding of the topic whatsoever – but, it is here, and we must abide by it.

When does a Police Officer “brandish” a firearm? When does a Police Officer point an impact weapon such as a baton at a person or persons? The use of non-traditional terminology has created confusion. The legislation identifies three potential uses of force as “brandish, uses, or deploys/discharges” when in fact there are only two potential uses; threatens the use of or uses/deploys/discharges the device or weapon.

We can help you navigate through these confusing requirements related to Use of Force Policy development and fit it specifically to your department. We can also provide guidance to ensure your department is capturing all the necessary data related to this legislation and fulfilling the mandatory reporting requirements.

Bail Reform

In the initial reform, money bail and detention were eliminated for nearly all misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases. The amended reform makes more than two dozen additional charges— most technically considered nonviolent felonies— again eligible for bail and detention.

The revisions also create new categories of defendants eligible for detention, such as individuals charged with a new case and a still pending case involving “harm to an identifiable person or property,” even if neither charge is otherwise eligible for bail. State law contains no definition of such “harm.”

Raise the Age

New York’s Raise the Age (RTA) legislation changed the age that a child can be prosecuted as an adult in criminal cases from 16 to 18 years of age. Previously, New York was one of two remaining states to hold 16 year olds criminally responsible.

As a result, 16 & 17-year-olds who now commit offenses that in the past would have been crimes, will now have their cases decided in Family Court, local criminal court (misdemeanor Vehicle & Traffic Law offenses), or Youth Part of Supreme or County Court.

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