JustLeadershipUSA Recognizes Meaningful Assembly Action Toward Overhaul of New York State’s Discovery Law – Statement from Erin L. George, NYS Campaign Coordinator, JustLeadershipUSA

June 6, 2018

“The New York State Assembly’s passage of Discovery Reform Law A4360A (Lentol), represents an encouraging and positive step forward in the fight for justice, transparency and equity for people involved in the criminal legal system. In particular, JustLeadershipUSA recognizes Assemblymember Joseph Lentol’s longstanding and consistent leadership in responding to the calls of directly impacted people to correct the harm and injustice caused by New York’s regressive Discovery Law.

Open and early access to key case evidence is fundamental to establishing a more fair and balanced criminal legal system. On any given day, tens of thousands of legally innocent New Yorkers face criminal court proceedings – and despite Constitutional assurances of a fair trial – New York’s current discovery law leaves people blindfolded to the evidence being used against them in court. When compounded with a money bail system that preys upon poor people by locking them in jail as they await trial, New York’s bail and discovery laws work together to ensure guilty pleas and perpetuate the system’s deepest injustices. These injustices are overwhelmingly borne by Black, Latinx, immigrant, and working-class people and people experiencing poverty.

While A4360A (Lentol) must be improved even further to wholly address and eradicate the harms created and enabled by New York’s deeply flawed and corrupt criminal discovery process, we see it is an enormous step forward in the fight to ensure the rights to due process and a fair shot at justice. Assembly passage of A4360A represents a powerful discovery reform effort that will do much to prevent uninformed guilty pleas & ensure a fairer, quicker & more transparent system by ensuring open and early access to essential case evidence.

JustLeadershipUSA, the #FREEnewyork Campaign, and directly impacted New Yorkers from across the state remain dedicated to building the grassroots power and the political will necessary to achieve the full pretrial reforms demanded by the urgency of this moment. We look forward to continuing to work closely with elected leaders, like Assemblymember Lentol, who remain steadfast in their commitment to driving forward legislation to meaningfully overhaul the pretrial system. The Assembly’s actions today reflect a commitment to moving toward ultimate passage of gold standard discovery legislation – the Open, Early, Automatic and Mandatory discovery overhaul legislation (S7722 – Bailey, Benjamin / A10135 – Blake) – demanded by the urgency of this moment.”

– Erin L. George, NYS Campaign Coordinator, JustLeadershipUSA

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