senate Bill S6370

Enacts the Michael Sandy Act, providing that evidence of a defendant and victim having the same protected category is inadmissible in hate crime cases

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 21 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES

Summary

Enacts the Michael Sandy Act, providing that evidence of a defendant and victim having the same protected category is inadmissible in hate crime cases unless determined relevant by the court.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7549
Versions:
S6370
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Criminal Procedure Law
Laws Affected:
Add §60.77, CP L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6370

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in
relation to enacting the Michael Sandy act

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The goal of this bill is to prevent
the defense from using the fact that the offender is the same
protected category as the victim to avoid hate crime charges unless
the court states it is absolutely necessary to evaluating the case.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 makes evidence of defendant and victim in a hate crime case
sharing the same protected category inadmissible unless the court
finds it to be essential to the understanding of the crime based on
proof.

JUSTIFICATION: Since its enactment in 2000, the hate crimes statute
has enabled prosecutors to pursue perpetrators who select their
victims because of the victim's real or perceived race, color, origin,
ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or
sexual orientation or who commit offenses against their victims
because of a belief or perception regarding the above listed
characteristics. Unfortunately, the law is inadequate to address
situations in which evidence is presented before a jury concerning a
defendant's sharing one or more of the characteristics with the
victim.

This bill will create a procedural protection in hate crime trials
that could involve the presentation of evidence of the sharing of
characteristics between the defendant and the victim. In at least one
high profile case in which the victim was selected because of his
sexual orientation, the defendant exposed the jury to evidence that he
shared the same sexual orientation of the victim. This tactic was
seemingly used to instill in jurors' minds that a gay man could not
commit a hate crime against another gay man although the hate crimes
statute pointedly does not prevent the prosecution of a case where the
perpetrator and the victim share the same characteristic of which the
victim was targeted.

The presentation of evidence of the shared characteristic is unduly
prejudicial and frustrates the purpose of the hate crimes statute.
Evidence suggests that the danger of undue prejudice is especially
acute where sexual orientation is concerned. Anecdotal evidence
suggests that despite recent social and legal developments the
understanding of non-heterosexual orientations is low, especially
where complex psychological and sociological issues are involved.
Social science evidence suggests that many perpetrators of
anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual, or anti-gay crimes may themselves be
internally struggling with issues around their own sexual orientation
and that this inner turmoil may drive them to select victims based on
their real or perceived sexual orientation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.


EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6370

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 21, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to enacting  the
  Michael Sandy act

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited  as  the  "Michael
Sandy act".
  S  2.  The  criminal  procedure law is amended by adding a new section
60.77 to read as follows:
S 60.77 RULES OF EVIDENCE; ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE  OF  DEFENDANT  AND
          VICTIM FALLING UNDER THE SAME PROTECTED CATEGORY IN HATE CRIME
          CASES.
  EVIDENCE  OF  DEFENDANT  HAVING THE SAME RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN,
ANCESTRY, GENDER, RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, AGE, DISABILITY,  SEXUAL
ORIENTATION,  OR OTHER CATEGORY, DEFINED IN ARTICLE FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-
FIVE OF THE PENAL LAW, OF THE VICTIM MAY NOT BE  ADMITTED  IN  A  PROSE-
CUTION  FOR  ANY OFFENSE, OR AN ATTEMPT TO COMMIT AN OFFENSE, DEFINED IN
ARTICLE FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE OF THE PENAL LAW, UNLESS SUCH  EVIDENCE
IS  DETERMINED  BY THE COURT TO BE RELEVANT AND ADMISSIBLE IN THE INTER-
ESTS OF JUSTICE, AFTER AN OFFER  OF  PROOF  BY  THE  PROPONENT  OF  SUCH
EVIDENCE  OUTSIDE  THE HEARING OF THE JURY, OR SUCH HEARING AS THE COURT
MAY REQUIRE, AND A STATEMENT BY THE COURT OF ITS FINDINGS OF FACT ESSEN-
TIAL TO ITS DETERMINATION.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD08638-01-3

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