Urge Gov. Hochul to Preserve Discovery Reform

Dr. Yusef Salaam on Oct. 29, 2019 in New York. (Larry Busacca/AP Images for the Innocence Project)

Act now to prevent the rollback of discovery reform that prevents wrongful convictions and protects due process.

New Yorkers accused of committing crimes are once again at risk of being “blindfolded.”

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers are currently in negotiations over the governor’s proposed “Ten Point Plan” for public safety, which is being considered for inclusion in the FY23 budget. Unfortunately, the plan threatens to roll back crucial reforms that were passed in 2019 to protect New Yorkers. The 2019 reform repealed unjust discovery rules — previously known as the “blindfold law” — which prevented people accused of crimes from accessing critical evidence that any person should expect to have when criminal charges are brought against them. New York’s discovery law was ranked the fourth-worst in the country before this change.

Now, the state may take a step backward.

Police and prosecutors, who are directly involved in criminal investigations, have an enormous advantage when it comes to accessing evidence in criminal cases. New York’s current discovery law (after being reformed in 2019) ensures that both sides in a legal case have prompt and comprehensive access to evidence so that people accused of crimes can make informed plea agreements and helps defend against wrongful convictions. A strong discovery law is fundamental to an effective public safety plan. It protects innocent people and allows law enforcement to focus its energy on detecting people who have actually committed crimes.

Protecting transparency and due process through fair discovery laws is essential to keeping our communities safe. New York must never put the blindfold back on. Use the form above to contact Gov. Kathy Hochul and urge her to preserve discovery reform and call her now: 516-916-7076

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