Zero-Tolerance of Violence

Pedro Espada, Jr.

February 08, 2010

      As a man who deeply loves and respects my wife of over 30 years and as a grandfather with ten grandchildren, I have worked hard to build a world free of violence, a world that respects women and protects our most vulnerable populations. I have fought hate crimes in my district, provided help to victims of violent crimes, sponsored last month's March for Peace Against Gun and Youth Violence, and proposed legislation to classify violence against women as hate crimes (S.2788).

     All my life, I have stood for the protection of human and civil rights. Today, I've introduced a new bill (S.6727) that addresses both. We cannot tolerate physical or sexual abuse of anyone - women, children, the disabled - anyone in New York State.

     At the same time, we cannot have ambiguity in the law regarding automatic expulsion, which is why my proposed bill would, once and for all, make it clear that an elected official who is convicted of violence upon another human being does not deserve to stay in office. We need a law that respects the power of the voters and simultaneously sends a message of zero-tolerance of violent crimes. I believe this new legislation achieves both.

     S.6727 would establish clear legal standards, providing for automatic expulsion of members of the state legislature, as well as other public officers, convicted of certain specified egregious Class A misdemeanor offenses, which include the following: assault in the third degree; sexual misconduct; sexual abuse in the second degree; arson in the fifth degree; aggravated harassment in the second degree involving physical contact; endangering the welfare of a child, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.

     By ratifying this proposed bill, we would eliminate vague language and strengthen the current Public Officers Law, as well as obviate the need for burdensome and costly investigatory and administrative procedures. And most importantly, it sends a clear message that New York State has zero tolerence for violence against women, children, the disabled, or any human being.