Does Zeldin attack show hypocrisy in New York laws?

On Balance with Leland Vittert

In this photo provided by Ian Winner, people subdue a person who assaulted U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for New York governor, at a campaign appearance Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Fairport, N.Y. Zeldin escaped serious injury. (Ian Winner via AP)

(NewsNation) — A man accused of attacking, and attempting to stab, a Republican candidate for governor in New York is not sitting behind bars today, but rather is free.

The suspect, 43-year-old David Jakubonis, climbed on a campaign stage Thursday night and is seen on camera attacking U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican vying for the governorship of New York. According to the New York Post, Jakubonis appears to try and stab Zeldin with a cat keychain and apparently is going through a “mental break,” according to those who know him.

Jakubonis, despite the alleged attack, is a free man, out on bail from the Monroe County Jail thanks to New York’s no cash bail system.

NewsNation’s Leland Vittert believes this shows a striking level of hypocrisy for the state that sent now infamous bodega worker Jose Alba to Rikers Island jail after he stabbed a man to death in what many believe was an act of self-defense.

“Jose Alba, the bodega worker on video defending himself against a career criminal, got charged with murder with bail at a quarter million dollars. Only after a national out cry did those charges get dropped,” Vittert said on “On Balance: With Leland Vittert.” “Jakubonis is charged with attempted assault and because of New York’s cashless bail system he got processed and released within hours. Its literally that simple.”

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said the incident with Jakubonis, and the fact he is walking free, points to why New York needs to reform its criminal justice system.

“Even if we show someone is dangerous and needs to be detained, we’re not allowed to do that in New York state for certain cases and in particular this particular felony we charged this suspect with,” he said. “Attacking a congressman and still walking through the streets is what we’re living through in New York.”

Baxter said New York’s lenient laws involving criminal intent make it hard for people like Jakubonis to find their way into police custody, even if they are brandishing weapons.

“We have people that are repeat offenders, we have people that are dangerous to society, we’ve got people here in Monroe County that we’ve caught three times with guns, this year alone, and we cannot detain those people in our jail system to figure out what the hell is going on in their life.”

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