senate Bill S2251

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Increases the penalties for bias related and gang related graffiti, and graffiti upon religious property

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Archive: Last Bill Status - Passed Senate


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 09, 2014 referred to consumer affairs and protection
delivered to assembly
passed senate
May 05, 2014 advanced to third reading
Apr 30, 2014 2nd report cal.
Apr 29, 2014 1st report cal.462
Jan 08, 2014 referred to codes
returned to senate
died in assembly
Jun 13, 2013 referred to consumer affairs and protection
delivered to assembly
passed senate
Jun 12, 2013 ordered to third reading cal.1314
committee discharged and committed to rules
Jan 15, 2013 referred to codes

Votes

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Apr 29, 2014 - Codes committee Vote

S2251
13
1
committee
13
Aye
1
Nay
2
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Codes committee vote details

Codes Committee Vote: Apr 29, 2014

nay (1)
aye wr (2)

Jun 17, 2013 - Rules committee Vote

S2251
19
3
committee
19
Aye
3
Nay
2
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
1
Excused
0
Abstained
show Rules committee vote details

Jun 12, 2013 - Rules committee Vote

S2251
19
3
committee
19
Aye
3
Nay
2
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
1
Excused
0
Abstained
show Rules committee vote details

Co-Sponsors

S2251 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3740
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Add §§60.31 & 145.62, amd §§65.10, 145.60 & 240.31, Pen L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S532B, A6648B
2009-2010: S1856

S2251 - Bill Texts

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Increases the penalties for bias related and gang related graffiti, and graffiti upon religious property.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S2251

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to
bias-related graffiti, the disposition of graffiti offenses, graffiti
for the purpose of promoting gang related activities and graffiti upon
religious property

PURPOSE OF THE BILL: The purpose of this bill is to address the
pervasive problem of graffiti by taking a multi-faceted approach while
also recognizing that all graffiti is the same. Graffiti that is
created in relation to gangs and graffiti made on religious structures
or curtilage should be treated with greater severity, Additionally,
graffiti is often the tool of hateful harassment based on race,
religion, sex, or other factors, thus this legislation addresses
graffiti that is made from this hateful angle. Lastly, educating
offenders of the severity of the crime of graffiti and requiring them
to clean up damaged property may help to curb the incidence of such
activities.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Amends the Penal Law by adding section 60.31 which allows a
judge to require completion of a diversity training program when the
graffiti creator is convicted of Aggravated harassment in the first
degree as defined in section 240.31 of the penal law.

Section 2: Amends Penal Law section 65.10(2) (h) to change Division of
Substance Abuse Services to Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Section 3: Amends penal Law Section 65.10 to add a new subdivision 6
which requires that, when practicable and not dangerous, the court
require that the defendant convicted of such graffiti activity remove
the graffiti from the property that was the underlying cause of the
offense.

Section 4: Amends Penal Law Section 145.60 to make that section of law
to become the lower offense of making graffiti in the second degree.

Section 5: Amends the Penal Law to add a new section 145.62 to create
a new heightened crime of making graffiti in the first degree. Making
graffiti in the first degree requires doing the commission of the
crime of graffiti in the second plus it is done in a manner that
either: a) promotes or encourages gang related activities or b) is
graffiti placed on a religious building, structure, or curtilage of a
place of worship or upon property consisting of religious symbols
representative of expressing faith. To be convicted of this crime, the
assailant would need to have knowledge that such property was
religious property or was property that embodied a religious beliefs
and that such person intended to damage such property. Graffiti in the
first degree is a Class E Felony.

Section 6: Amends Penal Law section 240.31 which defines Aggravated
harassment in the first degree to add section 1-a which includes
graffiti placed on property that is motivated by a person's race,
ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, or other factors as
aggravated harassment.


JUSTIFICATION: This bill recognizes that existing law does not
appropriately address the growing problem of graffiti, especially that
graffiti that is motivated by gang related activity or against houses
of worship or religious property.

Graffiti is a pervasive problem that causes damage to property, lowers
property values, lowers the wellbeing of the neighborhood, may
heighten the incidence of crime, and represents a serious quality of
life problem fox many New Yorkers. The laws in place now have not gone
far enough to stem the growing trend in graffiti which has even
targeted Houses of worship and often can contain messages of hate.
Such graffiti can also be used as a tool of organized gangs to promote
their illegal activities.

In this vein, these amendments take into account many facets of the
issue ranging from mindless vandalism to targeted hate. First, this
legislation requires that anyone caught creating graffiti is taught
the lasting lesson of the difficulty of cleaning up such vandalism by
allowing a judge to require, where practicable and not unduly
dangerous, that as part of the punishment that the graffiti be cleaned
up with the property owner's consent.

This bill creates a class E felony to combat this problem. It also
adds as Aggravated harassment in the first degree graffiti motivated
by a person's characteristics such as race, national origin, gender,
religion, religious practice, age, disability or other factors. This
is creates a tool to help those being harassed and intimidated based
upon their religious beliefs,ethnicity, sex, or other characteristics.
It requires that those who are found to have committed aggravated
harassment, graffiti or not, that we address the underlying problem
and require that in the court's discretion that the offender complete
a diversity training program.

Also as a class E felony, this legislation creates the offense of
graffiti in the first degree when the offender creates graffiti that
either promotes or encourages gang related activities or is done on or
in the curtilage or a place of religious worship or on a display of
religious symbols. This recognizes that graffiti designed to further
crime or to attack religious freedoms is far more serious that than
graffiti created as mindless vandalism. That the underlying sentiment
is far more dangerous and should be addressed as such by both
categorization as a class E felony.

This bill goes far to address the realities and spectrum of the issues
graffiti presents. It teaches the hard lessons of consequences by
requiring the errant vandal to clean up his or her mess. It also
addresses underlying problems of hate and violence by recategorizing
certain types of graffiti as class E felonies.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012 - S. 532, Passed Senate.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This law shall take effect on the first of November
next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law.


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

                                  2251

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 15, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, AVELLA, RANZENHOFER -- read twice and ordered
  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to bias-related graffiti, the
  disposition  of graffiti offenses, graffiti for the purpose of promot-
  ing gang related activities and graffiti upon religious property

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

  Section  1.  The penal law is amended by adding a new section 60.31 to
read as follows:
S 60.31 AUTHORIZED  DISPOSITION;  AGGRAVATED  HARASSMENT  IN  THE  FIRST
          DEGREE.
  WHEN  A  PERSON  IS  CONVICTED  OF  AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT IN THE FIRST
DEGREE AS DEFINED IN SECTION 240.31 OF THIS CHAPTER, OR OF AN ATTEMPT TO
COMMIT SUCH AN OFFENSE, OR OF A LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE, IN ADDITION  TO
ANY OTHER SENTENCE IMPOSED OR AS A CONDITION OF PROBATION OR CONDITIONAL
DISCHARGE  THE  COURT MAY ORDER SUCH PERSON TO PARTICIPATE IN, AT HIS OR
HER OWN EXPENSE, A DIVERSITY TRAINING PROGRAM THAT IS DESIGNED TO  OVER-
COME DISCRIMINATION, PREJUDICE AND INTOLERANCE, AND THAT PROMOTES COMMU-
NICATION,  UNDERSTANDING AND RESPECT AMONG DIVERSE RACIAL, RELIGIOUS AND
ETHNIC GROUPS.
  S 2. Paragraph (h) of subdivision 2 of section 65.10 of the penal law,
as amended by chapter 508 of the laws of 2001, is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  (h) Perform services for a public or not-for-profit corporation, asso-
ciation,  institution  or  agency, including but not limited to services
for the [division] OFFICE of ALCOHOLISM AND  substance  abuse  services,
[services  in  an  appropriate community program for removal of graffiti
from public or private property, including any property damaged  in  the
underlying  offense,] or services for the maintenance and repair of real
or personal property maintained as a cemetery plot, grave, burial  place
or other place of interment of human remains. Provided however, that the

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06601-01-3

S. 2251                             2

performance of any such services shall not result in the displacement of
employed  workers  or  in  the  impairment  of  existing  contracts  for
services, nor shall the performance of any such services be required  or
permitted  in any establishment involved in any labor strike or lockout.
The court may establish  provisions  for  the  early  termination  of  a
sentence   of   probation  or  conditional  discharge  pursuant  to  the
provisions of subdivision three of section 410.90 of the criminal proce-
dure law after such services have been completed. Such sentence may only
be imposed upon conviction of a misdemeanor, violation, or  class  D  or
class  E  felony,  or  a  youthful  offender  finding replacing any such
conviction, where the defendant has consented to the amount  and  condi-
tions of such service;
  S  3. Section 65.10 of the penal law is amended by adding a new subdi-
vision 6 to read as follows:
  6. GRAFFITI REMOVAL.   WHEN IMPOSING A SENTENCE  OF  PROBATION  OR  OF
CONDITIONAL  DISCHARGE IN CONNECTION WITH A VIOLATION OF SECTION 145.60,
145.62 OR 145.65 OF THIS CHAPTER, THE COURT SHALL AS A CONDITION OF  THE
SENTENCE,  REQUIRE  THAT  THE  DEFENDANT  REMOVE GRAFFITI FROM PUBLIC OR
PRIVATE PROPERTY, INCLUDING  ANY  PROPERTY  DAMAGED  IN  THE  UNDERLYING
OFFENSE, UNLESS THE COURT SHALL DETERMINE THAT AN APPROPRIATE PROGRAM TO
SUPERVISE  SUCH  REMOVAL  IS NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT SUCH GRAFFITI REMOVAL
WOULD  BE  UNREASONABLY  DANGEROUS;  PROVIDED,  HOWEVER,  THAT  GRAFFITI
REMOVAL  FROM  PRIVATE  PROPERTY  PURSUANT  TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE
SUBJECT TO CONSENT OF THE OWNER OF SUCH PROPERTY.
  S 4. Section 145.60 of the penal law, as added by chapter 458  of  the
laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
S 145.60 Making graffiti IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
  1.  For  purposes  of this section AND SECTION 145.62 OF THIS ARTICLE,
the term "graffiti" shall mean the etching, painting, covering,  drawing
upon or otherwise placing of a mark upon public or private property with
intent to damage such property.
  2. [No person shall make] A PERSON IS GUILTY OF MAKING GRAFFITI IN THE
SECOND DEGREE WHEN HE OR SHE MAKES graffiti of any type on any building,
public  or  private, or any other property real or personal owned by any
person, firm or corporation or any  public  agency  or  instrumentality,
without  the express permission of the owner or operator of said proper-
ty.
  Making graffiti IN THE SECOND DEGREE is a class A misdemeanor.
  S 5. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 145.62  to  read
as follows:
S 145.62 MAKING GRAFFITI IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
  A  PERSON  IS  GUILTY OF MAKING GRAFFITI IN THE FIRST DEGREE WHEN SUCH
PERSON DAMAGES THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER PERSON IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED IN
SECTION 145.60 OF THIS ARTICLE, BY MEANS OF MAKING GRAFFITI OF ANY TYPE:
  1. IN A MANNER TO PROMOTE OR ENCOURAGE GANG RELATED ACTIVITIES; OR
  2. HAVING KNOWLEDGE THAT SUCH PROPERTY IS USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS
WORSHIP, HE OR SHE DAMAGES A BUILDING, STRUCTURE  OR  THE  CURTILAGE  OF
SUCH  BUILDING  OR  STRUCTURE  USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP BY A
RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, AS INCORPORATED UNDER THE RELIGIOUS  CORPORATIONS
LAW; OR
  3.  HAVING  KNOWLEDGE  THAT SUCH PROPERTY COMPRISES A DISPLAY OF RELI-
GIOUS SYMBOLS WHICH ARE FOR A REPRESENTATIVE EXPRESSION OF FAITH, HE  OR
SHE  DAMAGES  A  SCROLL,  RELIGIOUS  VESTMENT, VESSEL, ITEM COMPRISING A
DISPLAY OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS WHICH ARE A  REPRESENTATIVE  EXPRESSION  OF
FAITH  OR  A  MISCELLANEOUS  ITEM  OF PROPERTY KEPT OR USED IN OR UPON A

S. 2251                             3

BUILDING, STRUCTURE OR CURTILAGE THEREOF DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF
THIS SECTION.
  MAKING GRAFFITI IN THE FIRST DEGREE IS A CLASS E FELONY.
  S 6. Section 240.31 of the penal law is amended by adding a new subdi-
vision 1-a to read as follows:
  1-A.  ETCHES,  PAINTS,  COVERS,  DRAWS UPON OR OTHERWISE PLACES A MARK
UPON ANY BUILDING OR ANY OTHER REAL PROPERTY, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, WITHOUT
THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE OWNER OR OPERATOR OF SUCH BUILDING OR REAL
PROPERTY; OR
  S 7. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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