War ignites between Kathy Hochul, New York judges over bail reform

Mayor Eric Adams’ ongoing effort to roll back the state’s bail reform law has sparked a war of words between Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York’s judges over who’s to blame for the state’s revolving-door justice system.

In a highly unusual move Friday, a spokesman for New York’s Office of Court Administration responded to Hochul’s proposal Thursday to have the state pay for judges to get schooled on the controversial statute.

“Judges have received extensive training on the bail reform legislation, including all of its amendments,” spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.

A city judge called Hochul “disingenuous,” telling The Post that crimes once eligible for bail no longer are “because her former boss passed these changes that she supported.

“We’re the one branch of government that does not speak openly in the press so we’re the easiest scapegoats,” the outraged jurist said.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares called Hochul’s offer to train judges “offensive” and accused her of suggesting that “some of the best and brightest that work in public service are not astute enough to understand what can sometimes be incomprehensible pieces of legislation that we have to live with.”

The head of the state District Attorneys Association said​,​ “​T​he risks posed to public safety by this law will remain” until Hochul and the state ​l​egislature give judges the ability to consider the danger posed by releasing defendants​ when weighing bail​.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares said Hochul’s idea for judge training is “offensive.”
Hans Pennink

“Denying judges the ability to make bail decisions using the very discretion they are expected to exercise in every other task of their job has likewise resulted in the release of too many defendants returning to the communities and victims they have been tormenting,” ​said the organization head, ​Washington County DA Anthony Jordan.

GOP gubernatorial nominee​ and​ Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin chimed in​, too​.

“Instead of giving New York judges the ability to do their jobs, to weigh dangerousness, flight risk and, yes, the ability to afford bail, Kathy Hochul is spitting in the face of our judicial system in an effort to appease her far-left base,” he told The Post in a statement. 

“Hochul’s pandering to pro-criminal supporters is resulting in the handcuffs getting slapped on our judges and law enforcement, rather than getting tough on criminals.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin accused Hochul of "spitting in the face of our judicial system."
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin accused Hochul of “spitting in the face of our judicial system.”
James Messerschmidt

B​ut Hochul spokeswoman ​Hazel Crampton-Hays​ fired back in a statement, “The notion that judges’ hands are tied is simply not supported by facts nor the data. 

​”​Judges have and use their broad discretion under the law every day. This is clear from the data that the courts themselves post, which show that judges outside New York City release people at lower rates for the same types of crimes.

“This was true before the 2019 law changes and it is true now, and in fact, Governor Hochul worked with the legislature earlier this year to further expand the types of cases where judges have the discretion to set bail or remand people.”