×

Stec, other Republicans push bill to repeal Democrats’ bail reform

Assemblyman Dan Stec speaks Friday, Nov. 1 at the Saranac Lake village offices. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

State Assemblyman Dan Stec joined Republican colleagues Tuesday in sponsoring a bill to repeal new bail reform measures that otherwise will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

The changes, which the Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed earlier this year, would remove cash bail for crimes deemed nonviolent. This would require such defendants be released to appear for their court hearings; judges would not have discretion to send them to jail and/or set bail as leverage to help ensure they return for their court dates.

Stec, whose district includes Essex County, says he is alarmed at some of the crimes that will be considered nonviolent for the purpose of bail, such as criminal sale of a controlled substance, second-degree manslaughter, money laundering in support of terrorism, failure to register as a sex offender, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child and aggravated cruelty to animals.

The assemblyman from Queensbury also spoke out about the issue in September after a man from Warren County, where Stec lives, was killed from his vehicle being hit by that of an Akwesasne man fleeing from police at a high speed. The defendant, Skyler Crouse, was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter, among other offenses. Under the new bail reform measures, Crouse would be set free without bail, despite his criminal history.

Stec co-sponsored the repeal bill with Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua and Assemblyman Karl Brabenec of Deerpark.

“This is about public safety and ensuring that victims and communities are safe from harm,” Stec said in a press release. “After the tragic loss of a Warren County man, I have remained diligent on this issue. I am very proud to stand with my colleagues today and say enough is enough. The new bail changes are deeply flawed and were rushed through during budget negotiations. It’s time to repeal them and have them properly debated and discussed on the floor like they should have been months ago.”