SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has been advocating for bail reform for several years and is starting 2023 with a request for the legislature.
Sarno sent a letter Thursday to State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. requesting him to refile the bail reform legislation. Puppolo is also an advocate of the effort and has been filing the bail reform legislation, An Act Relative to the Commonwealth’s Right to Appeal Bail Decisions, since 2015.
The original legislation was introduced as a result of repeat violent criminal offenders being let off at arraignments with low bail and returning to communities to commit more crimes. The bill would allow prosecutors to appeal bail decisions, much like criminal attorneys do for their clients.
“They are going to re-offend. They are going to re-commit. And that effects my residents and effects my business community. and again this really zeroes in on the one or two percent of violent criminal offenders,” said Mayor Sarno.
Opponents say the proposed law would give prosecutors too much power and keep people in jail for long terms before a trial, especially low income persons who can’t make bail.
Proponents say the bill would target violent offenders involved and charged with guns, drugs and other violent crimes.
State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. stated, “At the request of Mayor Sarno, I intend to refile this legislation. My colleagues and I will continue to work diligently with the Mayor, Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood and District Attorney Anthony Gulluni in moving this bill through the legislative process.”
According to Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice David Lowy, courts do not use bail as a form of punishment, but instead, as a way to ensure the defendant will show up for their next court date. The judge also has to consider the defendant’s financial resources when setting bail.