MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Families and judges are grappling over the issue of bail reform, and one family worries their son is becoming the poster child for what’s wrong with changes in the criminal justice system.
Two days after the grieving parents and a cousin were called to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the body of 27-year-old Jonathan Flores-Maldonado, a Nassau judge was asked to reverse another court’s decision, reports CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“A double tragedy is what we are looking at,” said Carolyn Beyernheimer, the victim’s cousin. “With this new reform, we are not allowing judges to be judges.”
The Nassau County judge issued a bench warrant for Jordan Randolph, the accused DWI driver in the fatal Suffolk County DWI crash, will now be held without bail.
“I think this case really highlights the importance of judicial discretion,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran who is working on what she calls “common sense” reforms.
State Senator Anna Kaplan has introduced legislation funding and empowering the courts to get mentally ill and drug-dependent defendants evaluated and treated pending trial.
“It is a solution and I tell you it is my priority,” said Kaplan. “I dropped this bill Monday, we have already had so many people sign onto this bill.”
A Suffolk judge claimed his hands were tied and released the three-time DWI defendant with no bail despite six felony convictions, six misdemeanor convictions and five failures to appear in court.
The family told CBS2 they are grateful to law enforcement and to the judge for his decision to hold the suspect without bail.
It has been difficult for them to mourn Jonathan while carrying the anger they feel.
“Jonathan was the first, let him be the last,” said Lillian Flores, Jonathan’s mother.
“As long as we decide to place laws on the books that are going to be able to allow walking time bombs to get behind the wheel of a car and get on the roads and our highways, this is not going to end,” said Phillip Beyerheimer, Jonathan’s step-father.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving does not support merely amending bail reform, they are now calling for an immediate repeal of the new law.