Statement: Senate Majority and Governor Fail to Act on Kalief's Law


Statement from Melody Lee, Director of STrategy & Campaigns of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice:

“The legislative session concluded last night failing to address New York’s broken speedy trial system. The Governor, Senate, and Assembly have all recognized that this is a problem, yet only the Assembly has taken action by passing Kalief’s Law (A3055-A). The Assembly’s unanimous, bipartisan vote demonstrates the urgency of the problem and nonpartisan nature of this issue. But the Senate and Governor failed to act, again. As a result of this ongoing dysfunction in Albany, and the lack of leadership by the Governor and Senate on issues that matter to communities of color and low income communities, criminal justice reform is again stalled in New York. Another year will pass where tens of thousands of New Yorkers are denied their basic constitutional right to a speedy trial. New Yorkers will continue to be held pre-trial, languishing for months or even years because of court delays and a broken speedy trial process. This is unacceptable, and the Senate Majority and Governor should be ashamed of themselves. We will continue to fight for passage of Kalief’s Law to fix the broken speedy trial process in New York. We thank the sponsors of Kalief’s Law, Assemblymember Aubry and Senator Squadron for their leadership on this issue and we look forward to continuing to work with them to fix this egregious problem in New York State.”

Statement from Carl Smith, member of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice

“Kalief’s Law needed to be passed because putting people in jail without their right to a speedy trial is against the constitution. What we are seeing is jail being used as a punitive measure against people of certain backgrounds and income levels as opposed to being based in values of compassion, understanding, or safety. Even though this bill never made it to the floor, when I went up to Albany and talked to Senators, there was agreement that something needed to be done to fix the system to address the fact that people are getting locked up without their day in court, and the issue was on everyone’s lips. The fact that nothing got passed makes it seem like that dialogue was just lip service. We’re going to keep on fighting for speedy trial reform, we’re going to keep coming back up until we win this thing.”

About Katal

Katal works to strengthen the people, policies, institutions, and movements that advance health, equity, and justice for everyone. As a strategy hub and collaborative partner, Katal deploys expertise in organizing, advocacy, leadership development, and research to help secure practical and lasting change. Katal takes its direction from those most impacted by the harms we work to transform.