Bath Police Chief discusses bail reform law shortfalls


Javan Harris, 26, who is currently homeless, was arrested four times over the last four days in Steuben county for nine different offenses in Bath and Hornell.

Due to the new bail reform law, Harris was able to walk away from his first three arrests.

He was released from his first offense of grand larceny.

Then the second time, he was set free the morning after allegedly exposing himself and grabbing a hotel clerk.

With his last offense, the judge was finally able to set a $2,000 bail after Harris allegedly inappropriately touched women in the Wegmans and Walmart.

A new statewide poll released this week by the Siena College Research Institute shows nearly one-half of State voters think the new bail reform law is bad for New York.

Locals in the Southern Tier are seeing it firsthand, and so is Bath Village Police Chief Chad Mullen.

“That wasn’t the first time he stole some property,” says Mullen. “This course of action shows where the problems are in this law. Even though there were a couple felonies in there, there were only certain things he was allowed to be held in the county jail on.”

Chief Mullen says any sex crime including misdemeanors allows a judge to set bail and that’s why bail was set for Harris’s last offense.

In addition, he says the 15-day Discovery Law is making it harder for police to even make arrests.

Mullen says the law gives police 15 days to get all evidence in a case to a district attorney’s office. However, for drug and rape cases he says lab results can take up to 6 to 8 months.

Police now face the decision of releasing the offender into public without making an arrest to make sure the charge sticks or making the arrest with dismissed charges.

He says for public safety, it’s good to make the arrest. However, since results lab results can take months, there’s a high probability of dismissed charges.

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