To ensure that no other prisoner kills themselves like teen Kalief Browder, the New York legislature recently passed a bill known as “Kalief’s Law,” to ensure that persons arrested receive a speedy trial, the Amsterdam News reported.
“For too long, the constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy trial has been denied in New York. Our broken Rockefeller-era law does nothing to guarantee to a speedy trial for the accused,” stated New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, who cosponsored the bill with Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry.
“In fact, it does the exact opposite, protecting a system that too often delays justice at the cost of defendants, victims and the taxpayers,” he added.
Browder was accused of stealing a backpack and spent more than 1,000 days in Rikers Island’s pretrial detention center, which included approximately 700 days in solitary confinement, the newspaper reported. Even though Browder was released, his depression from his experiences in Rikers prompted his 2015 suicide.
Activists are praising this new legislation as a progressive step forward.
“The bill’s passage in the Assembly by the overwhelming margin of 138-2 shows that our lawmakers are finally hearing the voices of the many organizations and thousands of activists who have been fighting for a more just criminal justice system,” said Glenn Martin, president and founder of JustLeadership USA. “We call on the Senate to take up and pass S.5998-A as soon as possible and make the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution’s promise of a speedy trial a reality in New York.”
This isn’t real justice nor will it bring Browder back to his family, but this can help save future lives.