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Politics & Government

Syracuse Police point to state bail laws after repeat offender rearrested within days of release

Syracuse Police Station
Maxwell Mimaroglu
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Syracuse Police Station downtown. 2/16/2022. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

Earlier this week, the Syracuse Police Department (SPD) arrested a 15-year-old boy who was driving a stolen vehicle, struck a police cruiser and possessed a firearm. The police chase ended in Eastwood, where police were able to apprehend and disarm the suspect. The Syracuse Police Department, however, identified the young suspect as the same person they had arrested for the same offense just 11 days prior to the police chase.

The SPD said that because of New York State's lenient bail reform laws, repeat crimes have risen, especially when suspects are released prior to their day in court. Matt Malinowski, a Lieutenant at the SPD, said this is a cause for concern for the local Syracuse community.

"We do need to understand he may need to be secured while he reforms his behavior," Malinowski said. "But to just allow juveniles that have committed these violent acts to just amongst our community while their case is being heard, you run into the problem of these repeat offenders."

Malinowski said the criminal justice system must balance the rights of the accused and the safety of the local public.

"Again, how that person was able to be free amongst our community and then clearly go and possess another firearm and get in a car chase just 11 days later," Malinowski said. "Again, from a police perspective, we're trying to point that this is not an arrest problem."

In New York, there has been a debate at the state level over reforming current bail laws, which critics have said only provide a slap on the wrist for crime suspects. Lawmakers and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have pressured Governor Kathy Hochul to consider changes. Governor Hochul said she is willing to have conversations in reform is needed (https://www.waer.org/politics-government/2022-01-28/hochul-under-increased-pressure-to-revise-bail-reform-laws).

Malinowski said the other parts of the criminal justice system have to work and bail reform laws are to blame.

"Everyone wants to say 'well what are the police doing?', Malinowski said. "We're doing every part that we can."