Albany DA David Soares Criticizes Governor Kathy Hochul and Lawmakers for No Action Against Bail Reform
On Monday, October 3rd, David Soares, a fellow Democrat and the Albany County district attorney, spoke out against bail reform after two fatal shootings in the state’s capital. He criticized Governor Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers for taking no action to address bail reform.
He stated, “No meaningful legislative action has been taken to address bail reform and Raise the Age, which have demonstrably impacted violent crime in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
Soares, taken aback by recent events, asked, “At what number will the body count be enough to prompt action?”
Furthermore, he added, “Our state’s legislature and executive branch have the authority to take action during crises, but they only do so on occasion. They demonstrated this by returning to the capitol and enacting swift change following the racist mass shooting in Buffalo.”
The DA’s harsh condemnation comes amid a recent uptick in violence that has affected the entire state, including a fatal shooting 80 miles to the south in Poughkeepsie, near Marist College, and the recent stabbing of veteran FDNY Lieutenant Alison Russo-Elling in Queens.
Democrats in Albany, including Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, have fought for criminal justice reforms that have reduced the use of cash bail while diverting juvenile offenders from adult courts and jails.
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Soares’ criticism comes after a fatal shooting that happened in Albany on Sunday, October 2nd, only blocks from the state capitol and two days after another killing.
Soares stated, “In August, Albany saw two shootings that could be categorized as mass shooting incidents, both with Raise the Age implications. No legislative action was taken. For the third year in a row, Albany’s homicide count is in the double digits, with about three months left in the year.”
Over the past year, shootings have increased in Rochester and other upstate communities as well.
Critics on both political sides of the issue have accused bail reform of releasing deadly criminals because alleged crimes are either considered to be minors to qualify for monetary bail or some other legal reasons provided that prevent them from being imprisoned until trial.
“Governor Hochul is leading a comprehensive approach to end the gun violence epidemic,” said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays. “Gov. Hochul is investing millions in gun violence prevention and victim assistance programs, including in Albany; convening regional gun violence listening sessions to hear directly from communities across the state; and working with law enforcement and leaders throughout New York on solutions to save lives, get guns off the streets, and make our communities safer.”
It has been claimed that Raise the Age, a law approved by the legislature in 2018 while the state senate was controlled by the GOP, allowed juvenile gunmen to evade punishment since they are too young to be charged as adults.