Hoylman’s Legislation to Allow Gangs to be Charged with Hate Crimes Passes New York State Senate

June 11, 2014

New York Hate Crimes Law could be strengthened this year as Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell announces introduction of bill in the New York State Assembly

New York, NY— Senator Hoylman released the following statement on the passage of S7093, which would expand the reach of New York’s Hate Crimes Law by adding the offenses of gang assault in the first degree and second degree. Senator Hoylman introduced this legislation to close a loophole that allowed the ringleader of one of the City’s most savage anti-gay assaults to strike a plea deal for a 14-year sentence because gang assault in the first degree currently doesn’t qualify for enhanced penalties under the Hate Crimes Law.

“Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson could not charge Idelfonso Mendez, the ringleader of one of the most vicious and infamous anti-gay assaults in our city’s history, with a hate crime, which points out the glaring need for this legislation. Moreover, the victims of the October 3, 2010 brutal gang attack in the Bronx have been denied equal justice under the law, even though they suffered heinous and despicable acts at the hands of their tormentors simply because they were gay. I commend Assembly Member O’Donnell for his leadership on this important issue and hope that the New York State Assembly will swiftly pass this legislation and bring it to the desk of Governor Cuomo.”

Senator Hoylman has been a strong advocate for reforming and strengthening the State Hate Crimes Law since taking office in 2013. New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is currently conducting an audit of the law, based in part on recommendations from Senator Hoylman’s State Senate report and forum on the topic last summer following a surge in reported hate crimes in New York City.