2010 Legislative Memos
Legislative Report Summer 2010: Click the link to read NYSACDL’s report on criminal justice issues addressed by the State Legislature during the 2010 session.
Set forth below are some of the bills on which NYSACDL has recently taken a position along with a link to the Legislative memo.
Formation of a Statewide Office of Indigent Defense Services
NYSACDL supports the formation of an Office of Indigent Defense Services. We have supported the formation of a Statewide Defender System as described in Judge Kaye’s report on Indigent Defense Services in New York. With the financial condition of the State precluding a fully-funded state-run office, we applaud the effort to begin state responsibility for the indigent defense function. It is apparent that the county-run system is not working well in many counties and there ought to be a system that includes standards and oversight as well as incentives for counties and providers to meet those standards. Legislative Memo, April 7, 2010
Sealing Records of Certain Criminal Convictions
NYSACDL supports comprehensive sealing legislation for all misdemeanor convictions and for many felony convictions after the passage of a designated waiting period. Support for this legislation is rooted in the belief that those individuals who have earned a “second chance” should be relieved of the bar a conviction typically poses to employment or other opportunities. NYSACDL proposes changes to the current bill which to extend eligibility for sealing of convictions for less serious crimes without an unduly prolonged waiting period. Legislative Memo, April 23, 2010
A hotline has been set up in the office of the Brooklyn Defenders to collect stories of those who would benefit from a sealing statute, which will be compiled into a booklet to be distributed with our memorandum in support and other materials. Click here for additional information.
Governor’s Proposed Bill #2010 to Expand Sexual Offense Registration Act (SORA)
NYSACDL Opposes Governor’s Proposed Bill # 2010 which would expand the number of crimes for which registration is required and the number of crimes for which Youthful Offender Adjudication ineligible as making it easier to prosecute for failure to comply with technical requirements of SORA. These proposed changes fail to take into account empirical data questioning the effectiveness of sex offender registration requirements on the safety of the community. Morover, improperly stigmatizing an offender as a “sex offender” further inhibits that individual’s chances at rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society. In short, the proposed changes will not enhance public saftey. Legislative Memo, April 30, 2010
Persistent Felon Status / “Three Strikes” Law:
NYSACDL opposes the effort to enact a “three strikes” law mandating a Class A-I (minimum 15 years to life, maximum 25 years to life) for anyone convicted of his or her third felony offense. Under the existing law, repeat offenders in New York State are subject to enhanced terms of incarceration while repeat violent offenders currently face life sentences. The proposed legislation removes sentencing discretion from the provence of the judiciary and provides for the harshest life sentences non-violent offenders. Legislative Memo, April 23, 2010
Strangulation and Throttling, (A10237 / S7111)
NYSACDL opposes this bill which would create 2 new crimes: Throttling, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months incarceration and Strangulation, a Class C violent felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 to 15 years. The proposed legislation is both vague and overbroad and seeks to create as new crimes conduct which is readily subject to prosecution under existing statutes. The bill raises additional concerns in proposing that acts undertaken for valid medical or dental purposes may be raised as an affirmative defense, adds strangulation to the list of designated offenses eligibe for an eavesdropping warrant, and to the list of offenses requiring DNA database profiling. Legislative Memo, April 23, 2010