TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to
classifying gang assault in the first degree and gang assault in the
second degree as hate crimes
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Adds the crime of gang assault to the
list of crimes which are prosecutable under the hate crimes law.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends subdivision 3 of section 485.05 of the penal law to
add sections 120.06 (gang assault in the second degree) and 120.07
(gang assault in the first degree) of the penal law to the list of
specified offenses which are included in the hate crimes law.
Section 2 establishes an immediate effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: New York State's hate crimes law enhances penalties
for crimes which are committed against individuals based wholly or
substantially upon the individual's race, color, national origin,
ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or
sexual orientation. This section of law is crucial to ensuring legal
protection for vulnerable segments of our population.
On October 3rd, 2010, three Bronx men were savagely beaten, tortured,
and robbed by a group of nine young men. The group carried out the
attack because they suspected the three victims to be gay. They took
the victims back to an apartment in the Bronx, where they stripped
them of their clothes and carried out a vicious series of assaults
with various implements, including a baseball bat, a box cutter, a
plunger handle, and lit cigarettes.
On February 20th, 2014, the assailants were given sentences of varying
lengths for their crimes. The leader of the assaults was sentenced to
14 years in prison on one count of gang assault in the first degree.
However, prosecutors had initially sought to charge the leader and the
other assailants with a hate crime. Due to the fact that the charge of
gang assault is not included in New York's hate crimes law, they were
unable to elevate the assailants' sentences to a higher category and
did not pursue a hate crime charge because they would not have been
able to secure an elevated sentence.
This bill would add language including the offenses of gang assault in
the first degree and gang assault in the second degree to New York's
hate crimes law. This will ensure that any gang assaults which are
based wholly or substantially on an individual's race, color, national
origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age,
disability, or sexual orientation can be prosecuted under the hate
crimes law and result in an elevated sentence.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediate.