By David Brand
Councilmember Rory Lancman, a candidate for Queens district attorney, denounced the state legislature Monday for not eliminating cash bail as part of the 2019 state budget.
Lancman visited the Queens Criminal Courthouse to double down on his commitment to ending cash bail in Queens if elected DA.
“Of all the evils of our current criminal justice system, perhaps none is so sinister, and so easily remediable, as cash bail,” Lancman said. “We literally incarcerate thousands of people every year because they're poor, punishing people before they're convicted and forcing innocent people to plead guilty and get stuck with a record for the rest of their life.
“The legislature's failure to end cash bail is a travesty,” he continued. “As Queens District Attorney, I will never ask for cash bail, period.”
Lancman said the bail reform provisions included in the new budget, agreed to on Sunday, do not go far enough to overhaul the bail system because cash bail remains in place for violent felonies, a broad category that includes various robbery offenses.
He said he favors remanding people charged with the most serious offenses and releasing defendants with various pretrial monitoring and check-in conditions. He also disagreed with the argument that ending cash bail might result in more defendants being remanded by judges.
“It’s a sham,” Lancman said. “People in Queens deserve to be home with their families without being locked up on Rikers Island simply because they cannot afford [bail].”