Many inmates will be let out of local jails because bail reform takes effect on January 1


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Anthony Saccone put up $100,000 to get out of jail after he was arrested for driving drunk and recklessly when he killed three OCC students last year.

In crashes with similar circumstances, after January 1, it won’t cost the suspect anything.

Manslaughter is one of the crimes that will no longer come with jail time or a bail figure set by a judge. Instead, the suspect will be given a ticket and let go.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, who’s running for reelection, tells NewsChannel 9, “If your home was burglarized, after January 1st, that person has to be released the following morning.”

Currently, the point of bail is to get out of jail with a financial incentive to show up for court appearances. Suspects who run away lose that money.

Instead, booking officers will ask the suspect for contact information and only if reminder phone calls and emails are ignored can they be arrested.

If Bill Fitzpatrick wins another term as district attorney, his office will have to follow these new rules starting on January 1, 2020.

Fitzpatrick tells NewsChannel 9, “I’m not the county’s chief social worker. I’m the DA. I’m trying to keep you safe. As abhorrent as it is for some people, safety sometimes means locking people up.”

Fitzpatrick doesn’t think the changes are necessary, because he and his staff already overlook jail time for minor crimes.

But enough people support the changes for the Democratically-controlled state legislature to pass the laws, which were proposed and then signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Advocates argue the reforms make the system more fair for people living in poverty, like Syracuse, and that people not yet convicted of a crime aren’t stuck in a jail because they can’t afford to meet bail.

More from NewsChannel 9:

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