Long Islanders with loved ones killed in crimes ranging from murder to drunken driving rallied in Hauppauge Tuesday against the state’s new bail reform law, a measure advocates considered overdue but viewed by police and prosecutors as a danger to public safety.
“We are basically here fighting because we don’t want any new members,” said Mastic resident Jennifer Harrison, of Long Island/New York Metro Area Parents and other Survivors of Murdered Victims Outreach.
Harrison spoke outside the H. Lee Dennison Building and in front of a monument to murdered children.
“We feel that bail reform is a dangerous initiative,” Harrison said.
On Jan. 15, 2005, Harrison's boyfriend, Kevin Davis, 28, was stabbed to death during a scuffle at a bar in New Jersey, she said.
Others at the 4 p.m. gathering — some of whom held signs saying, “Victims’ Rights Matter” and “Repeal Bail Reform” — had similar stories of tragedy. Some told tales of killings decades ago. For one attendee, Rebecca Carr, 23, of Mastic — whose boyfriend was killed in a car crash Sunday — the pain is still fresh.
Carr said she met and fell in love with her boyfriend, Jonathan Armand Flores-Maldonado, 27, of Westhampton Beach, at SUNY Buffalo State College, where she is a student.
Jordan Randolph, 40, of Bellport, is charged with drunken driving in connection with the crash on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley. About 4 a.m. Sunday, Flores-Maldonado was driving a 2015 Ford when Randolph drove a 2014 Cadillac ATS into the back of the vehicle, officials said. Flores-Maldonado was pronounced dead at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Randolph had three prior convictions for driving while intoxicated since 2011, Suffolk prosecutors said, but he was released on his own recognizance Monday after arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip.
"I want justice,” Carr said.
The new law bars imposing cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
Randolph had been convicted of misdemeanor DWI in 2011 and felony DWI in 2016 and 2018, prosecutors said.
Harrison said the rally was a response to a demonstration in Albany on Tuesday in support of pending bills in the State Legislature that could grant parole to incarcerated people 55 years or older who also served 15 years or more in prison. The bills would allow the parole board to give greater weight to the personal changes an applicant has made rather than who they were at the time they committed their crime.
“In this New York, victims have no rights, police are vulnerable and our children are not safe as they roll out the red carpet for convicted criminals,” Harrison said in a statement she read as a light rain fell. “This bail reform is a farce and must be repealed immediately until it can be properly researched, written and executed with the support and advice of all pertinent law enforcement, judges, victims groups and civil liberty organizations in a way that makes sense.”