Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District) joined with Senator Dean Murray (3rd Senate District) and a coalition that included Suffolk Police Benevolent Association (Suffolk PBA) to denounce the recent signing of the Clean Slate Act. The Act, which was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday, automatically seals criminal conviction records, including misdemeanors and some felonies, as long as the person avoids getting arrested again within a certain amount of time.
The signing comes as New York State residents have made clear that safety is one of their top concerns and is one more example of the continued disregard for law-abiding New York residents and for New York's crime victims.
“Under one-party control in Albany, there persists an ongoing haste to prioritize the rights of criminals over those of our law-abiding citizens. By wiping away the history of those who commit crimes, the state is telling our residents that crime has no repercussions just like it did with the cashless bail fiasco and other short-sighted policies. While those who have committed crimes should be afforded an opportunity for redemption, there must be accountability. Unfortunately, such a common-sense approach appears to be a rarity in our state and the families in our communities will have to deal with the consequences,” said NYS Senator Mario R. Mattera, 2nd Senate District.
"Clean Slate is wrong on so many levels. Not only is the message this law sends to crime victims and their families a disgrace, I have absolutely no doubt that this will also create more crime victims. Private business owners won't fully know who they are hiring, and landlords won't have the whole picture about who they are allowing into their properties and in some cases, into their homes," said NYS Senator Dean Murray, 3rd Senate District.
In essence, the law seals the records of almost all crimes – even the most violent of felonies, with the exception of sex offenses that require registration as a sex offender and class A felonies (except drug felonies). Some of the crimes that qualify for being sealed include:
- crimes committed against children (except sex crimes)
- assaults on police officers
- gun felonies
- domestic violence felonies
- some terrorism offenses
- multiple degrees of arson
- animal abuse
Senator Mattera, Senator Murray and every single member of the Senate Republican Conference vocally opposed the legislation and jointly voted against it on the floor of the Senate earlier this year.
However, due to one-party control, even with common sense Democrats like Assemblyman Steve Stern voting against it, the measure passed and was ultimately signed into law.
Following on the heels of the cashless bail fiasco and with other ill-conceived legislation that will put the rights of criminals ahead of those who follow the law, it is clear that common sense needs to return to Albany. New Yorkers want a safer place to live and raise their children, but these pro-criminal laws are doing the opposite.
“Clean Slate is an engraved invitation for criminals to rip off unsuspecting businesses and continues the radical left’s pro-criminal anti-public safety agenda. Employers won’t know if the bookkeeper they hired is a convicted fraudster, store owners won’t know if the guy who responded to a help wanted sign has a history of sticking up convenience stores and serious felonies like vehicular homicide and burglary will be sealed and the public will be kept in the dark. Make no mistake, this wrongheaded law will only create more opportunities for criminals to commit crimes and victimize hard working New Yorkers,” said Lou Civello, President of the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association
Suffolk County Executive-Elect Ed Romaine said, “The Governor’s Clean Slate Act is contrary to what most of our law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers want. Crime is on the rise on Long Island, and we cannot allow it to continue the way it’s going. The criminals are getting a free ride and that is wrong on every level. There need to be consequences for their actions. I stand with Senator Murray in opposition of Governor Hochul’s misguided policy.”
“I am truly disappointed that the Governor and Legislature have once again put the interests of convicted criminals ahead of the rights of victims. These reckless games with our public safety must stop. Automatically wiping away hate crime convictions while we are seeing an epidemic of hate speech, financial frauds in an age of online scams, weapons charges when we are seeing school shootings and drug sales when our children are dying of overdoses, without any mechanism of review to protect us, leaves us utterly exposed to violence and victimization,” stated Suffolk District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney
“The Clean Slate Law is a brazen assault on justice, accountability, and community safety. This egregious legislation that I voted against shamelessly aims to obliterate the records of individuals who have committed crimes. Wiping criminal records without consideration for the severity of offenses or the potential risks to society withholds critical information from employers, judges and DA’s in determining who is truly a danger to society. I was elected to push policies that protect our communities and raise hell on policies that favor criminals. Providing opportunities for individuals who have genuinely reformed is crucial, but it's equally important to acknowledge that not every offender merits having their records cleared,” said Senator Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick (9th Senate District).
“The governor yet again continues to favor policies that put criminals before law abiding citizens. The ‘Clean Slate’ bill was signed by the governor yesterday, which would hide the records of those convicted of manslaughter, armed robbery, hate crimes, some terrorism offenses, domestic violence, animal abuse, and arson – to name only a few. I do believe in second chances. But wiping away a criminal’s record clean is not a way to give them that chance. Instead, we should be working with them to provide rehabilitation services back into society. We are seeing chaos and lawlessness in our communities without repercussions. Radical Albany politicians continued pandering to criminals is a snub to those who are victims of their crimes. I will not stand for it and will continue to vehemently defend our communities and put victims and law-abiding citizens first before criminals,” said Senator Steve Rhoads (5th Senate District).
“This is yet another unnecessary piece of legislation that will make New Yorkers less safe,” said Assemblyman Jodi Giglio (2nd Assembly District).
“The Clean Slate Act raises concerns with its potential to undermine accountability, potentially diminishing the gravity of individual offenses. This act will seal criminals' records while neglecting the potential impact on victims, as it prioritizes the interests of offenders over the rights and well-being of those who have experienced harm. Rehabilitating individuals must be prioritized over removing the consequences of their past crimes,” said Assemblyman Ed Flood (4th Assembly District).
"First we had to accept that our loved ones were gone forever, then process that another human being intentionally and horrifically took them from us. Then we had to accept the outcome of the court proceedings. Then the people that did this to us would be free to live their lives and see their families. Now, we will have to accept that they get to pretend it never even happened, while we still suffer the lifelong pain and consequences of their actions. Not only is this another kick in the gut, felt in the very core of our souls as victims, but it is a huge risk to public safety,” said Jennifer Harrison, Founder/Executive Director of Victims Rights NY.