Photo of Speech Against Bail Reform

As New York politicians scramble to adjust their anti-bondsman stands to conform more closely with public sentiment the first chickens have come home to roost following the recent implementation of that state's so-called 'bail reform' law. Two incidents, in particular, have been garnering a fair amount of media attention and for good reason. They are perfect examples of exactly what prosecutors, law enforcement and the more enlightened legislators in Albany warned about. Let’s take a closer look at these events.

Bail Reform Enables a Serial Burglar in Westbury

One of the hallmarks of the reform legislation that went into effect on January 1st is that virtually everyone not accused of a violent crime is immediately released as long as they promise to show up in court. Sensible people warned this would create an essentially lawless state where criminals could operate with impunity. Bail bonds reformers, on the other hand, expressed their undying faith in the character of the accused and said warnings about chaos were fear-mongering.

Well, it wasn't fear-mongering in Westbury when residents there got a firsthand glimpse of the brave new, bail-free world. On December 29th, a 22-year-old man named Gerard Conway tossed a flower pot through the window of a local Pizza Hut and made off with the cash register. Not satisfied, he then headed for The Source Mall and invited himself into 3 more closed businesses. Conway was arrested the next day and immediately released in accordance with New York’s new catch and release system.

According to anti-bail zealots, Conway was the kind of person who was victimized by the old system of cash bail. And releasing him was the right thing to do for him and for society as a whole. Except, once again, the bail reformers were wrong. Because just hours after being released Conway broke into yet another Westbury business and stole cash registers. A burglary that would not have happened under the old system.

Long Island Woman Goes Off the Rails After Being Released Without Bail

Maria Campione of Island Park had been held in the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow, New York since last October. Ostensibly because she could not afford the $25,000 bail imposed on her for an earlier burglary. On New Year's Day, she was released from jail under the terms of New York's new bail reform legislation. She was another one of those alleged ‘victims’ the bail reformers are always yammering on about.

As it turns out though the only victims when it came to Campione were/are the people that happen to cross paths with her. Because shortly after being released the 20-year-old was caught spray-painting graffiti on a local bank. She was given a desk appearance ticket and ordered to appear in court for vandalism. But she wasn't through.

After the bank graffiti incident, Campione made her way to the Hewlett Elementary School where she broke in and ran up and down the halls pulling fire alarms, bringing a full complement of firefighters to the school for no reason. The police were finally able to arrest her and they charged her with a variety of crimes including burglary, false reporting of an accident, criminal mischief and more.

Surely, local officials learned their lesson with Campione and she was held over for trial this time. Right? Right? Nope. After being arraigned for her latest alleged infractions she was released once again. Causing the local populace to hold their breath wondering what this ‘victim’ will be up to next. Campione’s own mother told local news stations that she asked the police to detain her but that they declined, citing the new catch and release policy of the state of New York.

Bail Bonding Reform Disaster: Bonus Round

Just to drive home the point that reformers have left us all vulnerable let’s look at the case of one Jonathan Martin 27, which unfolded shortly after Campione was arrested and released for the 3rd time.

Martin, 27, was out looking for trouble in Westchester when he decided to break into a home. After forcing his way in, he scoured through the house looking for valuables. He entered a bedroom, came upon a teenage and demanded cash. Now mind you, that teenager was asleep in their bed, in their home, in the middle of the night, when they were awakened by an invader demanding money.

Martin is lucky he did not pull his stunt in Adams County, Broomfield County, Weld County and Denver where Colorado’s ‘Make My Day’ law gives people the right to use deadly force on an intruder if they feel it necessary. Instead, because the break-in occurred in New York, the true victim had to flee. They were able to gather their cell phone as they fled and call 911. Police responded, found Martin still in the home and arrested him.

Any reasonable person would conclude that breaking and entering an occupied home and attempting to extort money from a vulnerable teenager was grounds for Martin to be held without bail or to be assigned a hefty bail. Instead, Martin was allowed to walk free because he, according to bail reformers, is the real victim here. Oh, and after his release did he go home and vow to behave himself? Nope. He returned to the police station where he had been held and smashed the glass on the front door. Thanks bail reform!