Senator Montgomery votes “NO” on the New York State Criminal Street Gang Act (S2410). The Senator expressed concern about the overly broad language of the legislation and its impact on young people in her district. One of the troubling aspects of the bill as outlined by the Senator, is the definition of a criminal "street gang" as an association in fact of two or more individuals identified by a common name, sign, dress, symbols, tattoos, or other mark or markings.
Clearly this bill has a very, very broad definition of who is in a gang. So any three young people standing on a corner or gathering in a park or cycling somewhere in my district; could be, under this definition, considered to be participating in a gang. It is just up to the police officer, who may stop them, because that police officer using this law could stop them.
Senator Montgomery respectfully urged the bill sponsor, Senator Golden, to use his power in this house to deal with MS-13,
“Not try to come up with ways of arresting young people. Especially, some of the young people in my district who are going to be gathered on the streets looking alike; but they are no way, in any way, considered to be a gang.”
The legislation would also create new Class C, D and E felonies:
-§ 495.10 Accepting the benefits or proceeds of criminal street gang activity. Knowing accepting from a criminal street gang the benefits or proceeds from criminal street gang activity, or of any substituted asset obtained or converted.
-§ 495.15 Participation in criminal street gang activity. Acting as a member of a criminal street gang, a person knowingly promotes, furthers, assists in, conducts, facilitates, or participates in commission of criminal street gang activity, or knowingly receives the benefits from such activity, or uses or invests the income, assets, proceeds, or substitute proceeds, from criminal street gang activity for the benefit of the criminal street gang.
-§ 495.20 Solicitation for participation in a criminal street gang in the third degree. Soliciting or recruiting a person or threatening physical injury to participate in a criminal street gang.
*New Class D felonies
-§ 495.25 Solicitation for participation in a criminal street gang in the second degree intending to cause and causing physical injury to another person in order to coerce, induce, or solicit such person to participate in a criminal street gang.
-§ 495.30 Solicitation of minors for participation in a criminal street gang Soliciting a person less than 18 years old.
*New Class C felonies
-§ 495.35 Solicitation of minors for participation in a criminal street gang on school grounds. Soliciting minors per 495.30 on school grounds.
§ 495,40 Sentencing. Enhanced sentencing provisions for persons convicted of participation in criminal street gang activity, depending on the status of the underlying specific offenses.
*If a person is convicted of participation in criminal gang activity and at least one of the criminal gang activities is a violent felony offense, the crime of participation in criminal street gang activity shall also be deemed a violent felony offense.
*Where the criminal street gang activity offense is a misdemeanor or class "A", "D", or "E" felony, the crime of participation in criminal street gang activity is deemed one category higher than the offense the defendant committed.
* Where the crime is a class "B" felony, the minimum prison term will depend on which section of the Penal Law the defendant is sentenced under, and would range from a minimum of four years to a minimum of twelve years in prison.
*Fourth, if the criminal street gang activity offense is a class "A-1" felony, the minimum sentence would be twenty years.
To learn more about the New York State Criminal Street Gang Act (S2410), visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/S2410