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May 16, 2019

District Attorneys Association of the State of New York

3 Columbia Place
Albany, NY 12210

To New York State District Attorneys​:

Last month, the Governor and New York State Legislature passed long overdue reforms
to bail, discovery and speedy trial laws in order to reduce race and wealth-based
incarceration and create a more fair and balanced criminal legal system. ​While these
laws don’t go into effect until January 1, 2020, we call on all New York State
District Attorneys to phase-in the new reforms immediately, rather than wait until
their office is legally obligated to do so.

Actors in the criminal legal system have a responsibility to end draconian practices that
gave rise to mass incarceration. Phasing in these reforms now is not only ethical; it’s
responsible. Every prosecutor in the state should have experience doing their jobs in a
way that aligns with the new pretrial laws ​before​ they go into effect.

District Attorneys, both in New York and other states, have successfully instituted
office-wide policies providing open, early discovery and ending money bail on broad
categories of charges. Prosecutors can play an important role in rolling back New York’s
jail crisis by taking action now. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have suffered at
the hands of the current system. There is no reason for pretrial policies of the past to
remain in place, unchanged, for the next eight months.

Prosecutors have the power to implement many aspects of these critical reforms today.
We call on every District Attorney elected in New York State to publicly institute formal
policies requiring that prosecutors in their offices:

1. Share case evidence as soon as possible and not later than fifteen days after
2. Eliminate the practice of asking for money bail on all charges in the ‘mandatory
release’ category of the new bail law
3. Request that more people be released pretrial without onerous conditions
4. Request alternative, non-monetary forms of bail
5. Halt abuse of speedy trial law

In less than a year, your offices will be required to implement these common sense
reforms to bail, discovery and speedy trial laws. The New Yorkers who have elected you
to office should not have to wait until January for the justice that you could offer now.
We ask that you join us in ending pretrial injustice by taking the immediate actions
outlined above.


Jasmine Gripper | Legislative Director | ​jasmine@aqeny.org  
Erin George | Criminal Justice Campaigns Director | ​egeorge@citizenactionny.org  
Lucas Sanchez | Long Island Director | l​ sanchez@nycommunities.org  
Nick Encalada-Malinowski | Civil Rights Campaign Director | ​nick@vocal-ny.org  
Bill Lipton | New York State Director | b
​ lipton@workingfamilies.org 


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