Scott Levy Presented Testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing
Scott Levy, Special counsel of the Criminal Defense Practice, presented testimony at City Council Oversight Hearing: Why Does the City Make It So Hard to Post Bail?
Written Comments of The Bronx Defenders
New York City Council Committee on Criminal Justice &
Committee on Justice System
Oversight Hearing: Why Does the City Make It So Hard to Post Bail?
In 2017, The Bronx Defenders welcomed the enactment of legislation intended to address some of the obstacles facing our clients and their families when attempting to pay bail that needlessly keep people in jail and cause additional pain and frustration. While we recognize that there have been some tangible improvements since their passage, the City — and the Department of Corrections (DOC) in particular — has failed to fully implement and adhere to the laws. The unfortunate reality is that many of our clients and their families continue confront the same obstacles that existed last year. As the Bronx Freedom Fund’s recently released report shows, there is still a long way to go. Many of the bills’ mandates remain unfulfilled. And significant challenges remain unaddressed. Chief among them are the persistent problems associated with the outdated practice of using nominal $1 bail as an administrative hold and the bariers to utilizing the City’s new online bail payment system. That is why The Bronx Defenders supports Int. 0944-2018, which would require DOC to notify detainees and their attorneys whenever a person is detained solely on $1 bail, and Int. 1199-2018, which would remove fees associated with credit card bail payments and allowing payments by direct deposit and electronic check. Also, given our experience with the 2017 bail laws, we urge the Council to take preemptive action to ensure compliance with these new proposals.