Lancman Praises Landmark Court Decision on Excessive Bail

    City Council Member Rory I Lancman

    City Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hillcrest Estates, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia Estates) Chair of the Committee on the Justice System, yesterday praised Dutchess County Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa’s landmark ruling that setting cash bail without considering a defendant’s ability to pay is a violation of a person’s constitutional rights.

    Lancman convened a Courts & Legal Services Committee hearing in 2015 to examine the current bail system and the need for reform. Lancman is also the prime sponsor of legislation to provide judges with defendants’ financial information at arraignment.

    “It is a grave injustice that thousands of men and women in New York City are stuck in jail, waiting for their day in court, solely because they cannot afford to pay bail. We are punishing people for their poverty, and they are paying the price with their freedom,” said Lancman.

    “This landmark ruling sets an important standard for our judges that setting bail without first considering a defendant’s ability to pay is a violation of both the United States and New York Constitutions. As Chair of the Committee on the Justice System, I will continue to support programs that provide judges with defendant’s financial information prior to setting bail, like the Vera Institute’s Bail Project.”

    Avella Demands City Action on Flooding and Poor Road Conditions

    Sen. Tony Avella

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) and College Point residents today will stand together and call on the city to address poor roadbed and flooding conditions on Powells Cove Boulevard.

    The flooding results from a lack of storm sewers in the area.

    The rally to improve road conditions is slated for 11:30 a.m., today, Feb. 9 at 126-24 Powells Cove Boulevard in College Point.

    Peralta Celebrates African-American History Month

    State Senator Jose Peralta

    State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and the Corona-East Elmhurst branch of the NAACP yesterday hosted the African-American History and Heritage celebration at the Langton Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, honoring the achievements of several key community leaders and activists.

    The celebration included amazing performances by the Dena’s School of the Art with the Kehinde O’uhuru and the Djembe Orchestra, and the Jazz Unlimited Band. Additionally, students and faculty from the Louis Armstrong Middle School presented original artwork to the award recipients.

    “This month is a time to reflect upon the countless contributions made by African-Americans not only to our communities and our state, but also to the entire nation. Contributions to the arts, the economy, culture and politics that strengthen and enrich our communities. As we continue to fight for social and economic justice, our daily struggles for equality continue,” said Peralta. “I want to congratulate all the honorees for their outstanding contributions and the tireless work they do to help others and make our neighborhoods stronger.”

    Peralta and the NAACP honored the vital contributions of Deirdre Cooper Owens, Queens College Assistant Professor of History (Lifetime Achievement Award); Atiya Butler, Director of External Affairs and Marketing for Elmhurst Hospital ((Public Service Award); Sakinna Conyers (Good Spirit Award), Lester Youngblood, President of the NAACP Corona-East Elmhurst branch (Civic Leadership Award); and Nakaeh George, Residential Manager at AABR (Community Activist Award).

    Crowley Votes No On Government Funding Bill

    U.S. Representative Joe Crowley/via Facebook

    U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside and parts of the Bronx) yesterday led the way with the Queens Congressional delegation in voting against the two-year budget agreement bill.

    The measure passed largely along 224-193 largely along party lines.

    “The Republicans’ latest effort to keep the government funded fails to make the investments this country needs and deserves. People want to be put back to work in good-paying jobs with good benefits. They want us to create strong and safe communities. They want us to lead and innovate. None of these things can or will be achieved through this bill,” said Crowley.

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