State Lawmakers Must Halt 11th Hour Attempt to Rollback Discovery Laws, Preventing Accused New Yorkers from Seeing the Evidence Against Them
Contact: Anthony Chiarito, email@example.com
New York, NY – The Bronx Defenders issued the following statement following reports that Governor Hochul and New York City’s District Attorneys are proposing changes to the discovery reform law passed in 2019:
“Not satisfied with trying to roll back bail reform to make it easier to jail more New Yorkers awaiting trial, the Governor – at the urging of New York City’s District Attorneys – is now considering rolling back New York’s reformed discovery laws, which finally gave those same New Yorkers the basic right to see the evidence against them in criminal cases.
“Let’s be clear – New York’s old system of discovery was among the worst in the country. It allowed police and prosecutors to withhold critical and life-saving evidence, thereby forcing people to fight their cases blindfolded, often enduring months or years in hellholes like Rikers Island without ever seeing a shred of evidence. Many were coerced into pleading guilty just to escape. And those who stood strong, like Kalief Browder, suffered the torture of an inhumane jail system. The new law has changed this dynamic, requiring prosecutors to turn over evidence so that people have a chance to fight for their innocence and freedom.
“Discovery reform has been an undeniable success, and any complaints from prosecutors must be seen for what they are: an unabashed attempt to return to the bad old days when unfair discovery practices freed them from doing their jobs. But justice is not a game. State lawmakers must reject this last-minute betrayal by the Governor. They must stand with the thousands of New Yorkers whose lives, families, and communities now hang in the balance. That means fully funding discovery reform and its implementation as envisioned and promised to New Yorkers.”