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Congress Member Katko Proposes Federal Remedy to what Some See as Bail Reform Failures

Federal Bail REform bill - John Smith.jpg
John Smith/WAER News
Guy Tuori (at podium), who's Aunt Connie Tuori was killed in Skyline Apartments by someone awaiting trial for another crime, speaks in support a a federal bill to reform loosened bail practices. John Katko (L) is proposing the measure.

A Syracuse-area Congressmember is introducing federal legislation to bail reform states such as New York that would restore a judges’ power to consider if people who commit crimes pose a real danger and should be held without bail options. John Katko is introducing the SERVE Our Communities Act. It would ensure that dangerous individuals would be held in jail before their trial date.

“We provide grant money to state to engage in anti-recidivism conduct for states that have a component in their law which considers the dangerousness of the individual when they’re deciding to release them pending trial.”

He adds the money could be used for programming to help get dangerous or repeat offenders the help they need to get on the right path. Katko is introducing the legislation, in part, due to the murder last winter of an elderly woman, Connie Tuori (Tory’s) of Syracuse.

“We’re not going to tolerate dangerous people being out on the street.  I’ve heard the tragedy of the Tuoris all over this country and I can’t tell you how bad it is.”

The suspect in the homicide, a 23 year-old woman, was released leading up to the crime by a judge in a case for biting another elderly woman’s ear during an alleged robbery attempt. Tuori’s family members and Nephew Guy Tuori support Katko’s legislation.

“(If) That review of her casd had gone differently, (and) the District Attorney had different options to keep her off the streets, our aunt would still be here today.”

Another supporter of Katko’s legislation is Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

“We’re not asking them to gut, and this important … to get out to the people, the rhetoric is so harsh (opponents saying), ‘the DAs only want to lock up poor people and marijuana smokers, and we’re the champions of liberty and freedom and the American way.’ That’s just a false narrative.  All we’re asking for is a few common sense tweaks.”

He adds that all he wants is to make Onondaga County as safe as it was before bail reform was enacted in New York State.