WHITE PLAINS, NY — December 24, 2019 — As 2019 rapidly comes to a close, indulge me as we share some of the work we have undertaken this year to lay the ground work for the year ahead to continue to keep Westchester safe.
The State of New York enacted sweeping criminal justice reform with the biggest changes in law taking effect January 1, 2020. To be ready, my Office has been immersed in preparation and training since the laws were signed. An internal working group established training programs for our staff and has overseen testing of the delivery of materials in real time to assess the workflow and staff hours needed to meet the new discovery mandate to cover all 27,000-plus cases handled by this Office each year–from violations through misdemeanors and felonies.
In June, we began an education campaign with police departments to give them an overview of the new law and its practical impact on them. This work–with each our 40 local police departments as well as other agencies, such as the SUNY Purchase Police and the MTA police–stretched throughout the summer. In October, we hosted a training session for hundreds of representatives from all departments to bring them up to speed. My Office also created a new electronic portal to share these materials in a seamless manner among police, our office and defense attorneys, at no cost to taxpayers.
As for bail reform, the new 2020 law will end cash bail and pre-trial detention in all but a short list of qualifying cases. With that before us, earlier in December, I directed prosecutors to stop seeking bail immediately on cases that would not be eligible January 1.
Also in 2019, our Office instituted new practices to meet the state’s new Raise the Age legislation, which completely took effect Oct. 1, 2019.
We are proud of our signature initiatives which include school safety, opioid response and outreach, alternatives to incarceration and much more. Even with all of this work, we executed our daily workloads, prosecuting thousands of cases through our eight bureaus and branches working in local courts. As we move forward, our mission remains the same–to keep Westchester safe and to serve justice under the law. We hope you will support us in that mission. We invite you to stay in touch via Facebook and Twitter or by contacting our office through voice or email.
Let me take a moment to wish you and your families a safe holiday season and much happiness in 2020.
Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.
Westchester County District Attorney
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SOURCE: Helen Jonsen | Director of Public Information | Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino Jr.,