On the streets of Borough Park in Brooklyn, people are on edge. A series of violent anti-semitic attacks over the last couple of weeks have led to calls for the legislature to revisit its bail reform plan taking effect this week.
"They are afraid to walk the streets," said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein of Brooklyn. "So what I am doing with this proposed piece of legislation is, I am focusing on the hate crimes piece only. I think we need to understand that people who are filled with hate should be in a separate category."
Eichenstein has proposed legislation that would reinstitute cash bail for hate crimes, many of which are included on a list of crimes no longer eligible for bail under the new law.
Eichenstein is not alone. State Senator Jim Gaughran also has a bill that would go even further, reinstating 52 crimes that were made ineligible for bail. He's also looking to add a dangerousness factor for judges to consider when decising whether to set bail.
"Unfortunately, the way the bill was ultimately adopted in the budget is that it includes some crimes that I believe really should be crimes that a judge should have the discretion to set bail if he or she determines it is necessary," Gaughran said.
"It's pretty troubling that three days into them we are alreday hearing a desire to undercut them," said Sergio De La Pava, a New York County Defender.
De La Pava says it's too early to start clawing back portions of the law before we've seen it's full ramifications.
"It kind of betrays a disrespect for the legislative process," he said. "These reforms were decades in the making. The truth is, New York was operating under a severely unjust pretrial detention system. One of the bedrock principles of this country is the presumption of innocence."
There was talk of including a dangerousness factor for judges to consider when the law passed as part of the budget last spring, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he would not allow it. We reached out to the speaker's office to see whether he would reconsider, but did not hear back.