The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — calls on the New York State Legislature to immediately review and accordingly revise New York State’s Bail Reform Law in light of the release of Jordan Burnette, the 29 year old suspect who was hit with 42 charges, including a number of hate crime-related offenses for allegedly smashing windows at various synagogues and swiping prayer books during an 11-day crime spree in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. These actions struck fear in the hearts of peace-loving New Yorkers.
Initially, a Bronx judge ordered the accused Riverdale synagogue vandal held on bail but this determination was later struck down due to the current New York State’s Bail Reform Laws. Frustratingly, the current Bail Reform Laws do not permit New York Judges presiding over hate crimes to set bail, even to protect innocent citizens. The Judge’s hands are handcuffed and due to the well-meaning law’s unintended consequences, the Jewish public is scared to leave their homes and attend their houses of worship.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, called this “a great travesty of justice.” Mirocznik added, “It is well documented that New York had the highest number of overall anti-Semitic incidents in the United States last year, with most of those incidents classified as harassment and vandalism. These acts of vandalism and terror sprees strike fear and hopelessness into the hearts of the good, law-abiding people who reside in New York City. These hate crimes not only violate sacred ground and show disrespect for minority cultures, they undermine the peace and tranquility of New York City and diminish the quality of life of its residents.
“The ‘catch and release’ of those charged with anti-Semitic crimes allows the Jewish community to be repeatedly attacked. The Bail Reform Law as it currently stands sends a message to the public that hate crimes are not taken seriously by society. Therefore, the Rabbinical Alliance of America calls upon the New York State Legislature to revise the Bail Reform Law to allow for the incarceration of those charged with hate crimes. This is a public safety issue which must be addressed in order to preserve the rule of law.”