Extraditing made difficult due to COVID and bail reform

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(WETM-TV) – First law enforcement said bail reform was made it difficult to keep alleged criminals behind bars, now they’re being hit with another challenge, COVID-19.

When law enforcement finds a person who is wanted in another state, they must hold them for at least 30 days for the other state to pick the alleged criminal. But due to COVID, the trip might not be worth the money or the health risk.

“When the state will initially say ‘we want them,’ and then we get them here and 15 days in they call back and say, ‘yeah, we are not traveling to New York to get them, because your infection rate is higher than ours,'” said Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard. “So then we release the person again, but they are still wanted, which means every time they get stopped of interact with that police and they check to see if they are wanted it’s going to come up, yeah, they are wanted and you go through that whole process again.”

When a person is found with a warrant from our community, local officials must factor in the cost of retrieving that person as well.

“There is always the math equation that goes into extradition,” said Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker. “It’s, what’s the nature of the charge, what’s the right thing to do, what’s the right use of resources because ours are limited,”

Baker says that they now must factor in COVID in their decision making. Sending deputies to retrieve the person puts the local law official at greater risk of catching the virus.

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