On June 14, I held a public forum in my capacity as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations to assess the efficacy of New York State’s 13-year-old Hate Crimes Law, including how state and local government agencies are implementing and enforcing the Law and whether amendments should be considered to expand the data collection, statistical reporting, law enforcement training requirements and/or otherwise further the Law’s goals.
Testimony was taken from a wide array of experts, including Adam Dean, Chief of the New York State Crime Reporting Program, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; Charles M. Guria, Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, Office of Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes; Kristen Clarke, Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, Office of the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; New York State Senator Daniel Squadron; New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm; former New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane; the Anti-Defamation League; Council on American-Islamic Relations/New York City Chapter; New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; the Sikh Coalition; Human Rights Campaign; the Michael Sandy Foundation; and Nicholas Porto, a recent crime victim.
Suggestions included amending the New York’s Hate Crimes statute to mandate training for law enforcement personnel and community education, and requiring periodic reviews of the law’s implementation. Several witnesses advocated for alternatives to incarceration for hate crime offenders and recommended passage of the proposed Michael Sandy Act, which would limit evidence of a defendant and hate crimes victim status as members of the same protected category. Written testimony provided by the witnesses is available for download below.