Cohoes judge sets bail in low-level case, setting up legal challenge of new state law–Times Union

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COHOES — A Cohoes city judge on Wednesday set bail for a man with a long history of failing to make his court appearances, setting up the first constitutional legal challenge of a new state law that prohibits judges from requiring defendants to post cash bail for certain non-violent offenses.

City Court Judge Thomas Marcelle had outlined his reasoning in a 12-page decision he issued Monday questioning whether the state Legislature  — and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — had exceeded their authority by passing a law mandating that judges can never set bail in certain “non-qualifying offenses” that range from misdemeanors to felony drug trafficking.

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How New York’s Bail Reforms Are Playing Out in a Queens Court – The Appeal

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Despite dire-sounding headlines, the state’s cash bail reforms are having a positive impact on the people they are meant to help.

On a weekday in mid-January, a handful of people appeared in a fluorescent-lit, low-ceilinged basement room at Queens Criminal Court for their first arraignment hearing after being arrested. They were there to find out if a judge would let them go home or keep them in jail while they awaited a trial to determine their guilt or innocence. 

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Judge Reverses Conviction of Border Volunteers–The Intercept

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A FEDERAL JUDGE in Tucson, Arizona, reversed the conviction of four humanitarian aid volunteers on religious freedom grounds Monday, ruling that the government had embraced a “gruesome logic” that criminalizes “interfering with a border enforcement strategy of deterrence by death.”

The reversal, written by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Márquez, marked the latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s crackdown on humanitarian aid providers in southern Arizona, and the second time in matter of months that a religious freedom defense has prevailed in a federal case involving the provision of aid to migrants in the borderlands.

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