Some of the state senators involved in passing a flawed bail reform law jointly issued statements late last week that pretty much ignored the problem that threatens to get someone killed. But there was a glimmer of hope that perhaps points to a solution.
State Sen. Martha Hennessey said the law includes “an entirely new public safety protection process for police and prosecutors to detain dangerous persons without bail.”
What is needed, she said, is for police and prosecutors to get “training” in the new process. “We would ask the Attorney General, in coordination with the new bail reform coordinator finally funded in the compromise budget, to do just that,” said Hennessey.
If training is the issue, it sounds like it is bail commissioners who need it. Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau told our reporter last week that “bail commissioners have discretion to release or to hold defendants pending trial ... including detaining a defendant they determine is dangerous.”
Yet a bail commissioner in Manchester last week released a man who has been charged with criminal threatening for allegedly pointing a handgun at another driver in a road rage incident. And that’s not dangerous?
Gov. Chris Sununu says he will convene a group of legislators to find “solutions not only to fix bail reform” but to “overhaul the system.”
That’s all well and good but legislative solutions will take time.
We repeat our suggestion that Judge Nadeau, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, and the governor get together now to see what can be done immediately to work around a bad law.
The consequences of not acting are scary.