Public Hearing - January 25, 2022

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 1  BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE FINANCE
    AND ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES
 2  -----------------------------------------------------

 3          JOINT LEGISLATIVE HEARING

 4             In the Matter of the
          2022-2023 EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON
 5              PUBLIC PROTECTION 
    
 6  -----------------------------------------------------

 7                              Virtual Hearing 
                               Held via Zoom 
 8  
                                January 25, 2022
 9                              9:36 a.m.
    
10  
    PRESIDING:
11
              Senator Liz Krueger 
12            Chair, Senate Finance Committee
    
13            Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein
              Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
14  
    PRESENT:
15
              Senator Thomas F. O'Mara 
16            Senate Finance Committee (RM)
    
17            Assemblyman Edward P. Ra 
              Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
18  
              Senator Brad Hoylman
19            Chair, Senate Committee on Judiciary
    
20            Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine 
              Chair, Assembly Committee on Judiciary
21  
              Senator Jamaal T. Bailey
22            Chair, Senate Committee on Codes
    
23            Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
              Chair, Assembly Committee on Codes
24  
    

                                                                   2

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4            Senator Julia Salazar
              Chair, Senate Committee on Crime Victims, 
 5             Crime and Correction
    
 6            Assemblyman David I. Weprin 
              Chair, Assembly Committee on Correction
 7  
              Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski
 8            Chair, Assembly Committee on Governmental 
                Operations
 9  
              Senator Diane J. Savino
10            Chair, Senate Committee on Internet and
                Technology
11  
              Senator Gustavo Rivera 
12  
              Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson
13  
              Senator Pete Harckham
14  
              Senator Andrew Gounardes
15  
              Assemblyman Erik M. Dilan
16  
              Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar
17  
              Assemblyman Phil Steck
18  
              Senator Zellnor Myrie
19  
              Assemblywoman Dr. Anna R. Kelles
20  
              Senator James Tedisco
21  
              Assemblyman Robert C. Carroll
22  
              Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio
23  
              Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda
24  
    

                                                                   3

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4            Senator Anna M. Kaplan
    
 5            Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti
    
 6            Assemblywoman Karen McMahon 
    
 7            Assemblyman Ron Kim 
    
 8            Assemblyman Philip A. Palmesano
    
 9            Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz
    
10            Assemblyman Mike Lawler
    
11            Senator Kevin Thomas
    
12            Assemblyman Michael Tannousis
    
13            Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes
    
14            Assemblyman Harvey Epstein 
    
15            Senator Anthony H. Palumbo
    
16            Assemblyman Michael Cusick
    
17            Senator George M. Borrello
    
18            Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright
    
19            Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner
    
20            Assemblyman Michael Reilly
    
21            Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman
    
22            Senator James Gaughran
    
23            Assemblyman William Colton 
    
24            Assemblywoman Monica P. Wallace
    

                                                                   4

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-2022
    
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
    
 4            Senator Jeremy A. Cooney
    
 5            Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes
    
 6            Senator Sue Serino
    
 7            Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello
    
 8            Senator Phil Boyle
    
 9            Assemblywoman Latrice Walker
    
10            Assemblyman Chris Burdick
    
11            Assemblyman Mark Walczyk
    
12            Senator Patrick M. Gallivan
    
13            Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal
    
14            Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry
    
15            Assemblyman Kenny Burgos
    
16            Senator Fred Akshar
    
17            Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook
    
18            Senator Peter Oberacker
    
19            Assemblyman John T. McDonald III
    
20            Assemblyman J. Gary pretlow
    
21            Senator Patty Ritchie
    
22  
    
23

24


                                                                   5

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3                      LIST OF SPEAKERS
    
 4                                        STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  Honorable Lawrence K. Marks
    Chief Administrative Judge 
 6  NYS Office of Court
     Administration                           15        24                    
 7  
    Robert H. Tembeckjian
 8  Administrator and Counsel
    New York State Commission on 
 9   Judicial Conduct                        158       163
    
10  Jackie Bray
    Commissioner
11  NYS Division of Homeland Security 
     and Emergency Services                  188       194
12  
    Rossana Rosado
13  Commissioner
    NYS Division of Criminal 
14   Justice Services                        216       224
    
15  Anthony J. Annucci 
    Acting Commissioner 
16  NYS Department of Corrections            303       309
    
17  Kevin P. Bruen 
    Superintendent
18  NYS Division of State Police             434       441
    
19  Angelo Riddick
    Interim CIO and Director
20  NYS Office of Information
     Technology Services                     510       517
21  
    Patricia Warth
22  Director
    NYS of Indigent Legal 
23   Services                                534       543
    
24


                                                                   6

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3                     LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                        STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  Shayna Kessler
    Senior Planner
 6  Vera Institute of Justice
         -and-
 7  Karin Anderson Ponzer
    Director
 8  Neighbors Link Community 
     Law Practice                            581        588
 9  
    Rachel Halperin
10  CEO
    Legal Services of the 
11   Hudson Valley
         -and-
12  Joan Gerhardt
    Director of Public Policy
13   and Advocacy
    New York State Coalition
14   Against Domestic Violence             
         -and-
15  Anthony Maud
    Member
16  Treatment Not Jail Coalition
         -and-
17  Sebastian Doggart
    Executive Director
18  Families Civil Liberties 
     Union                                   597       611
19  

20

21

22

23

24


                                                                   7

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3                     LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                        STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  Karen Murtagh
    Executive Director
 6  Prisoners' Legal Services
     of New York
 7       -and-
    Theresa Grady
 8  Community Leader
    Release Aging People in Prison
 9   Campaign 
         -and-
10  Sirena Sharpe
    Community Leader 
11  Center for Community Alternatives
         -and-
12  Nan Gibson
    Executive Director
13  JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter              631        645
    
14  Brian Zimmerman
    Vice President
15  Assigned Counsel Association
     of New York State
16       -and-
    Susan C. Bryant
17  Executive Director
    NYS Defenders Association                668        674
18  
    Troy Caupain
19  PBA Secretary
    Police Benevolent Association 
20   of New York State
         -and-
21  Timothy M. Dymond
    President
22  NYS Police Investigators 
     Association
23       -and-
    Michael B. Powers
24  President
    NYSCOPBA                                 676        685

                                                                   8

 1  2022-2023 Executive Budget
    Public Protection
 2  1-25-22
    
 3                     LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
    
 4                                        STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
    
 5  J. Anthony Jordan 
    President
 6  District Attorneys Association
     of the State of New York              
 7       -and-
    Imogene V. Jones
 8  President
    NYS Court Clerks Association
 9       -and-
    Elena Sassower
10  Director
    Center for Judicial 
11   Accountability                          727        738
    
12  

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24


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 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Good morning, 

 2           everyone.  Hi.  I'm State Senator Liz 

 3           Krueger, the chair of the Finance Committee 

 4           in the Senate.  

 5                  I'm joined by many legislators, but -- 

 6           perhaps most importantly for budget 

 7           hearings -- my colleague in the Assembly 

 8           Helene Weinstein, the chair of the Assembly 

 9           Ways and Means Committee, which means 

10           "Finance Committee" in Senate language.

11                  We take turns in these budget 

12           hearings, and today's hearing is the first of 

13           13 hearings, but that will be chaired by the 

14           Finance Committee.  

15                  I just want to quickly go over a 

16           couple of rules of the road for all the 

17           hearings.  

18                  First, if you're not speaking, please 

19           keep yourself on mute, because it's amazing 

20           how it can get so confusing if you go to 

21           answer a phone or somebody walks into the 

22           room.  

23                  Second, everyone will be getting -- 

24           excuse me, the government representatives 


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 1           will be getting 10 minutes to testify and 

 2           then the legislators will be able to ask 

 3           questions.  The chair of the committee also 

 4           gets -- of the relevant committee gets 

 5           10 minutes to ask questions.  All the other 

 6           legislators get five minutes.  And we go back 

 7           and forth between Senate and Assembly until 

 8           we complete that particular testifier's 

 9           questions.

10                  And this is a long hearing, for people 

11           who have followed Public Protection, so that 

12           will continue as a pattern throughout the day 

13           and I suspect evening.  Hopefully just early 

14           evening.

15                  Again, if you want to ask a question, 

16           please raise your hand with the hand button 

17           at the bottom of your screen, Assemblymembers 

18           and Senators, and we will be calling on you.

19                  I want to just make the opening 

20           statement first, and then I will start to 

21           introduce Senators and Helene will start to 

22           introduce Assemblymembers.  

23                  So again, good morning.  Today is the 

24           first of 13 hearings conducted by the joint 


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 1           fiscal committees of the Legislature 

 2           regarding the Governor's proposed budget for 

 3           state fiscal year '22-'23.  These hearings 

 4           are conducted pursuant to the New York State 

 5           Constitution and Legislative Law.

 6                  Today the Senate Finance Committee and 

 7           the Assembly Ways and Means Committee will 

 8           hear testimony concerning the Governor's 

 9           proposed budget for the Judiciary, the State 

10           Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Office of 

11           Indigent Legal Services, the New York State 

12           Division of Homeland Security and Emergency 

13           Services, the New York State Office of 

14           Information Technology, the New York State 

15           Division of Criminal Justice Services, the 

16           New York State Department of Corrections and 

17           Community Supervision, and the New York State 

18           Division of State Police.

19                  Following each testimony there will be 

20           some time for questions from the chairs of 

21           the fiscal committees and other legislators.

22                  I will now introduce members of the 

23           Senate, and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, 

24           chair of the Assembly Ways and Means 


                                                                   12

 1           Committee, will introduce members from the 

 2           Assembly.  In addition, Tom O'Mara, my 

 3           ranking member of the Senate Finance 

 4           Committee, will introduce the members from 

 5           his conference.

 6                  And now let me just get to the list of 

 7           people who are here already.  All right.  

 8           It's a little tricky because we're looking at 

 9           boxes and lists, but we do our best here.  

10           All right, as I mentioned, we have the Senate 

11           chair of Codes, Jamaal Bailey; Senator Luis 

12           Sepúlveda; Senator Andrew Gounardes; 

13           Senator Anna Kaplan; Senator Brad Hoylman, 

14           chair of Judiciary; Senator Gustavo Rivera; 

15           Senator Jeremy Cooney; Senator Zellnor Myrie.

16                  And Tom O'Mara, I'm going to ask you 

17           to introduce the Republican Senators here 

18           with us.

19                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you, 

20           Senator Krueger.

21                  In addition to myself, at this point 

22           we are joined by Senator Jim Tedisco on the 

23           minority side.  And that's it right now.  I 

24           think a bunch of our members are finishing up 


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 1           another meeting right now, so I'm sure there 

 2           will be more joining us.

 3                  Thank you.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 5           much.  

 6                  And so now Helene Weinstein to 

 7           introduce the Assemblymembers.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 9           Chair Krueger.  It's a pleasure to join you 

10           today and start probably our longest budget 

11           hearing of the series.  And as everybody 

12           knows, since we're virtual there is a 

13           little -- we'll catch up with -- as things go 

14           along.

15                  I want to introduce our committee 

16           members who are here:  Assemblyman Dinowitz, 

17           chair of our Codes Committee; 

18           Assemblyman Weprin, chair of our 

19           Corrections Committee; Assemblyman Bronson, 

20           Assemblyman Burdick; Assemblyman Carroll; 

21           Assemblyman Epstein; Assemblywoman Hyndman; 

22           and Assemblywoman Rajkumar.  

23                  I also just wanted to clarify the time 

24           frames, because -- for the chairs are 


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 1           10 minutes, and the chairs of each of the 

 2           committees are the only ones who will have a 

 3           second round of three minutes.  The rankers 

 4           have five minutes.  And so that we end before 

 5           the next hearing begins, all other members 

 6           who are here have three minutes.

 7                  I just would encourage members to ask 

 8           questions, not make statements, so that the 

 9           witnesses have time to answer the questions.

10                  And now I'd like to turn it over to 

11           the ranker of the Assembly Ways and Means 

12           Committee, Assemblyman Ed Ra.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

14           Chair Weinstein.  Good morning, everybody.  

15                  We are currently joined by 

16           Assemblyman Joe Giglio, our ranker on the 

17           Corrections Committee; Assemblyman Mike 

18           Lawler, the ranker on the Gov Ops Committee; 

19           Assemblyman Angelo Morinello, our ranker on 

20           Codes; as well as members Palmesano, Walczyk, 

21           and Tannousis.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  Thank you 

23           very much.  

24                  And Helene, thank you so much for 


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 1           clarifying on the second-round issue and on 

 2           the three minute versus five minutes.  It's 

 3           so easy to get lost in the details of these 

 4           hearings as we re-practice what we'll be 

 5           incredibly good at by Day 13, for those of us 

 6           who stick it out with us.

 7                  With that, I would like to introduce 

 8           the Honorable Lawrence Marks, Chief 

 9           Administrative Judge of the Office of Court 

10           Administration, as our first testifier.  

11                  And all the legislators should have 

12           already received the testimony.  And I 

13           believe the public also has access to the 

14           testimony for following along.

15                  Good morning, Judge Marks.

16                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 

17           morning, Chair Krueger, and good morning, 

18           Chairperson Weinstein.  And I'd like to say 

19           good morning and acknowledge the Judiciary 

20           chairs, Senator Hoylman and Assemblyman 

21           Lavine, as well as all the other members 

22           participating today.

23                  I'm Lawrence Marks.  I'm the 

24           Chief Administrative Judge of the state court 


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 1           system.  And thank you for the opportunity to 

 2           be here with you this morning to discuss the 

 3           Judiciary's budget request for the 2022-2023 

 4           fiscal year.

 5                  Our budget request will enable the 

 6           courts to continue to fulfill their mission 

 7           of providing justice to the people of 

 8           New York.  It calls for an appropriation of 

 9           approximately $2.4 billion in state operating 

10           funds.  Our budget also projects a 

11           $58.2 million increase in state operations 

12           spending, which is a 2.5 percent increase 

13           over our current cash plan.  

14                  So as was the case last year, this 

15           year's budget request must be viewed in the 

16           context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

17           The pandemic has presented the Judiciary with 

18           multiple challenges.  These have included the 

19           unprecedented task of keeping the courts open 

20           consistent with rapidly changing public 

21           health needs -- and, at least in the early 

22           stages of the pandemic, to do so with 

23           significantly less funding than would 

24           otherwise have been available during a normal 


                                                                   17

 1           year.  

 2                  Throughout the course of the pandemic, 

 3           the court system has adapted its operations 

 4           to comply with the prevailing guidance 

 5           provided by public health authorities.  And 

 6           very early on, while determined to keep the 

 7           courts open for business, we limited our 

 8           in-person operations to essential and 

 9           emergency applications only.  That was 

10           quickly followed by a program of virtual 

11           court operations which used the latest in 

12           technology.  And this made it possible for 

13           judges and staff to safely adjudicate cases 

14           in all of our courts across the state.  

15                  But as time passed and as we learned 

16           more about COVID-19, we were able to resume 

17           in-person court appearances in critical 

18           matters such as grand jury proceedings, 

19           criminal arraignments, evidentiary hearings, 

20           and criminal and civil jury trials.  In doing 

21           so, we followed a rigorous screening program 

22           of temperature checks, self-reporting of 

23           exposure and symptoms for court personnel and 

24           court users, extensive use of masks and other 


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 1           personal protective equipment in all public 

 2           court spaces, social distancing, and cleaning 

 3           protocols.  

 4                  In addition, beginning in the late 

 5           summer of 2021, we were one of the leaders in 

 6           the state in introducing a mandatory testing 

 7           program requiring all unvaccinated judges and 

 8           nonjudicial staff to undergo weekly COVID 

 9           testing; and, subsequently, in introducing a 

10           mandatory vaccination program requiring 

11           judges and staff to be vaccinated unless they 

12           qualified for a medical or religious 

13           exemption.  

14                  Looking forward, we are committed to 

15           resuming full court operations, including the 

16           full resumption of jury trials, in the 

17           upcoming fiscal year.  And this budget will 

18           enable us to do so.  

19                  In following through on this 

20           commitment in 2022-'23, we will continue to 

21           make every effort to fill vacant nonjudicial 

22           positions in the courts.  During the pandemic 

23           the court system has seen hundreds of 

24           employees retire and leave for other reasons.  


                                                                   19

 1           And at the same time, because of the state's 

 2           fiscal crisis in 2020-'21, the Judiciary, at 

 3           the urging of the Executive, cut its planned 

 4           spending through a variety of austerity 

 5           measures, which included a system-wide hiring 

 6           freeze.  

 7                  These circumstances prevented the 

 8           courts from filling vacancies, although 

 9           fortunately this past year we were able to 

10           end the freeze and resume hiring.  And the 

11           budget we have submitted will enable us to 

12           continue to fill vacancies during the 

13           upcoming fiscal year.  

14                  While this will still leave us with 

15           vacancies to fill to return to pre-pandemic 

16           employment levels, the new hires will allow 

17           us effectively to resume full court 

18           operations.  This in turn will enable us to 

19           continue our commitment to Chief Judge Janet 

20           DiFiore's Excellence Initiative, our 

21           comprehensive effort to achieve operational 

22           and decisional excellence throughout the 

23           Unified Court System.  

24                  Our budget submission will also permit 


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 1           us to meet other critical goals.  These 

 2           include the funding of three new court 

 3           officer academy classes to help ensure safety 

 4           in courthouses statewide, and an upgrading 

 5           and expansion of the courts' technology 

 6           capacity to facilitate virtual court 

 7           appearances where appropriate, to expand case 

 8           management systems, to enhance cybersecurity 

 9           for the courts' computer network, and to 

10           increase our ability to provide the 

11           Legislature and the public with critical 

12           information regarding caseload activity.  

13                  Another crucial goal addressed in our 

14           budget request is enhancement of the 

15           Judiciary's support for civil legal services.  

16           In our budget we ask for an increase from 

17           $85 million to $95.7 million in funding for 

18           nonprofit agencies that provide direct legal 

19           services and access to justice services to 

20           help low-income New Yorkers across the state 

21           secure the essentials of life.  We also ask 

22           for an increase from $15 million to 

23           $16.8 million in funding for the Interest on 

24           Lawyer Account Fund, likewise to be 


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 1           distributed to nonprofit agencies that 

 2           provide legal services to the poor.  These 

 3           increases are necessary to help fulfill the 

 4           state's longstanding commitment to civil 

 5           legal services.  

 6                  I'd like to mention briefly three 

 7           other key initiatives that we are actively 

 8           pursuing, and the first is our commitment to 

 9           expanding our statewide program of 

10           presumptive alternative dispute resolution.

11                  And in the interests of time, I won't 

12           go into the details of this, but I would 

13           refer you to the written remarks that I've 

14           submitted to the members.

15                  But we are also continuing our full 

16           commitment to implementing the 

17           recommendations of the Johnson report.  In 

18           2020 the Chief Judge appointed Jeh Johnson, 

19           the prominent New York City attorney and 

20           former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, 

21           to serve as our Special Advisor on Equal 

22           Justice in the Courts.  His charge was to 

23           conduct a broad review of the programs, 

24           practices, and policies of the court system 


                                                                   22

 1           for evidence of systematic and implicit 

 2           racial bias.  

 3                  In the fall of 2020 he reported that, 

 4           notwithstanding the hard work of Judiciary 

 5           personnel, there is ample evidence that 

 6           New York's court system remains 

 7           underresourced and overburdened, and that 

 8           this has a disparate impact on people of 

 9           color.  In his report, Secretary Johnson 

10           presented numerous recommendations to broadly 

11           improve the court experience for people of 

12           color.  

13                  We have fully embraced all of them, 

14           and our efforts have yielded numerous 

15           accomplishments, which are summarized in an 

16           annual report released last November by the 

17           Chief Judge.  Many challenges remain, 

18           however.  And in the year ahead, we will 

19           redouble our efforts to keep faith with 

20           Secretary Johnson's recommendations to 

21           promote a court system free of bias and 

22           discrimination. 

23                  Finally, in 2022 we will renew our 

24           effort to simplify our trial court system 


                                                                   23

 1           through a constitutional amendment to merge 

 2           our nine major trial courts into two courts:  

 3           a Supreme Court and a Municipal Court.  In 

 4           making this effort, we will be joined by a 

 5           coalition of over 100 groups representing all 

 6           corners of the community -- bench, bar, legal 

 7           services providers, business, and good 

 8           government.  

 9                  Our task is challenging, but it is not 

10           insurmountable.  The end we seek -- a court 

11           system that can be more efficiently managed, 

12           that distributes its resources more evenly to 

13           ensure that every community has fair access 

14           to justice, and that is more easily 

15           accessible and understandable to the 

16           public -- is one we all should share.  We 

17           look forward to working with you in the days 

18           ahead to make it happen.  

19                  So I close by emphasizing that even 

20           while the COVID-19 pandemic stays with us, 

21           the courts remain committed to assuring the 

22           fair and prompt administration of justice.  

23           And the budget we have submitted, if 

24           approved, will enable us to meet that 


                                                                   24

 1           commitment.  

 2                  So thank you for your attention, and 

 3           of course I'm more than happy to answer any 

 4           questions you may have.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 6           much, Judge.  

 7                  And before we turn it over to the 

 8           first questioner, Judiciary Chair Brad 

 9           Hoylman, I want to announce that we have been 

10           joined since the last time we went through 

11           the list by Senator Diane Savino, by Senator 

12           Jim Gaughran, by Senator Patrick Gallivan, by 

13           Senator Pete Harckham.

14                  I don't know if you have additional 

15           Assemblymembers, Helene.  Okay, I don't think 

16           so right now.

17                  Then I'm going to turn it over to -- 

18           oh, hi.  Did you have additional 

19           Assemblymembers you wanted to announce?  

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, if we 

21           could.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sure.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've been 

24           joined by Chair Zebrowski of the Government 


                                                                   25

 1           Ops Committee; Assemblyman Abinanti; 

 2           Assemblyman Cusick; Assemblywoman McMahon; 

 3           Assemblywoman Mitaynes; Assemblywoman 

 4           Seawright; Assemblyman Steck; and 

 5           Assemblywoman Walker.

 6                  Thank you.  

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 8                  All right, so our first questioner is 

 9           Senator Brad Hoylman, chair of the Judiciary 

10           Committee.

11                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, 

12           Madam Chair -- Madam Chairs.  

13                  Good to see you, Judge Marks.  I look 

14           forward to discussing further with you the 

15           plans on court reorganization.  We've already 

16           had some preliminary conversations.  I know 

17           how important this initiative is.

18                  And I also am happy to see that your 

19           budget has increased by 2.5 percent.  I think 

20           you know that we in the Legislature want to 

21           continue to support your efforts with the 

22           state resources available.

23                  I wanted to ask you first about what's 

24           in the news recently -- of course, bail 


                                                                   26

 1           reform.  Since the enactment of bail reform 

 2           we've seen, I believe, an inconsistent 

 3           application of the laws by judges across the 

 4           state.  Many tragic incidents that have been 

 5           blamed on bail reform stem from situations 

 6           where the defendant was bail-eligible but the 

 7           judge, it appears, in some instances declined 

 8           to exercise their discretion.

 9                  I was wondering if you could inform us 

10           what kind of training has the Office of Court 

11           Administration and the Judicial Institute 

12           provided to judges about the new laws.  And 

13           in some cases, judges know the law but 

14           apparently purposefully flout it.  

15                  And as a follow-up, what are the 

16           consequences for those judges who do flout 

17           the law?

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, I 

19           guess I'd have to take issue that judges are 

20           deliberately flouting the law.  I mean, I'm 

21           not aware of that.

22                  Judging obviously is not a science.  

23           Judges don't have a crystal ball.  And, you 

24           know, it's impossible to predict -- you can 


                                                                   27

 1           try to predict but it's impossible to predict 

 2           with any certainty what the consequences 

 3           would be of releasing someone to the 

 4           community or not releasing someone to the 

 5           community.

 6                  But in terms of the training that 

 7           judges received on the bail legislation, they 

 8           did receive extensive training, in-person 

 9           training in 2019 at our summer judicial 

10           seminars following the original enactment of 

11           the legislation.  

12                  And the amendments that were made to 

13           the bail legislation in the -- around the 

14           adoption of the budget in 2020, again -- 

15           although judges I don't believe received 

16           in-person training.  But there was extensive 

17           online training and webinars on bail reform.  

18           There have been memos and educational 

19           materials, extensive educational materials 

20           that have been distributed to judges in the 

21           early stages of the enactment of the 

22           legislation, so -- look, you can never do 

23           enough training.  

24                  But I'm comfortable in saying that 


                                                                   28

 1           judges did receive extensive training on the 

 2           new legislation, both the original version 

 3           and then the amendments that took place in 

 4           the early months of 2020.

 5                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  

 6                  I would point to a Nassau County 

 7           district judge; in news reports, it appears 

 8           that the judge ignored the bail reform law 

 9           last year.

10                  But to change tack, Judge, I was 

11           wondering if we could discuss briefly the 

12           eviction moratorium, which of course sadly 

13           has expired, but thankfully there are still a 

14           variety of protections for tenants, including 

15           ERAP, the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, and various 

16           protections from legislation in the Housing 

17           Stability and Tenant Protection Act.  

18                  Can you explain to us how courts are 

19           assisting tenants in understanding what their 

20           rights are and what the instructions to 

21           judges are on how to process these cases?

22                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, 

23           firstly, in New York City -- and the 

24           overwhelming, overwhelming number of these 


                                                                   29

 1           pending eviction cases are in New York City.  

 2           The number dwarfs the number of cases in the 

 3           57 counties outside New York City.  And more 

 4           cases will be filed, certainly, but the vast 

 5           percentage of these cases are pending in 

 6           New York City and will ultimately be filed in 

 7           New York City.

 8                  And the most important thing that a 

 9           judge can do to ensure that tenants' rights 

10           in these cases are recognized or understood 

11           by tenants and are realized in the court 

12           process is the appointment of counsel.  And 

13           fortunately in New York City, going back to 

14           the prior mayor's administration and 

15           continuing in the current mayoral 

16           administration, tenants who can't afford a 

17           lawyer will be matched with a lawyer.  And 

18           we've established a process in New York City 

19           Housing Court where the first appearance will 

20           be a virtual appearance -- and actually this 

21           has been going on -- this isn't taking effect 

22           now, this has been going on for a number of 

23           months now in the New York City Housing 

24           Court.  


                                                                   30

 1                  The first appearance will be for the 

 2           purpose of connecting the tenant with a 

 3           lawyer if the tenant can't afford a lawyer.  

 4           And the second appearance will be an 

 5           in-person appearance with the tenant, if the 

 6           tenant chooses to appear, but the lawyer 

 7           that's been assigned to the tenant will 

 8           appear in person.  And the landlord, and if 

 9           the landlord has a lawyer, the landlord 

10           and/or the landlord's lawyer will be in 

11           person, with the goal of trying to resolve 

12           the case without further litigation.

13                  So hopefully that answers your 

14           question, that the critically important step, 

15           so that not only the tenants understand what 

16           their rights are, but that their rights are 

17           protected by legal representation, is 

18           something that is assured in New York City, 

19           again where the vast, vast percentage of 

20           these cases are pending and will be filed.

21                  Outside New York City, less of a 

22           guarantee that a lawyer will be assigned to a 

23           tenant who can't afford one.  But I know the 

24           Governor has thankfully identified that as a 


                                                                   31

 1           problem and has suggested at least that maybe 

 2           there will be funding from the state to 

 3           replicate sort of the very positive situation 

 4           in New York City, in that lawyers will be 

 5           provided to replicate that in landlord/tenant 

 6           cases outside of New York City.

 7                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Yes.  I mean, that's 

 8           obviously an enormous problem outside of 

 9           New York City, and thank you for supporting 

10           the efforts of the Governor in that regard.

11                  Just to make one more pivot with my 

12           remaining time, when we're discussing court 

13           reopenings, particularly during the pandemic, 

14           many stakeholders have continued to point to 

15           significant issues with court plans.  Of 

16           course since that time we've had vaccines but 

17           also variants that continue to threaten the 

18           public's safety.

19                  What have you learned since the 

20           pandemic in terms of reopenings?  And have 

21           you considered returning to virtual 

22           arraignments as requested by the defense bar?  

23           Are there any plans in place for, say, the 

24           safe operation of Housing Court as you 


                                                                   32

 1           described this new process?  

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, let 

 3           me just say in general, and then I'll get to 

 4           the specifics on the question you raised, in 

 5           general we've learned a lot over the last 

 6           nearly two years, and there have been steps 

 7           forward we've had to take, and steps 

 8           backward, based on the public health 

 9           circumstances.  And, you know, public health 

10           is critically important to us.  I mean, that 

11           goes without saying.

12                  With respect to arraignments, for a 

13           very substantial percentage of the last two 

14           years now of the pandemic, arraignments were 

15           conducted virtually.  I can tell you -- and I 

16           viewed many, many virtual arraignments in 

17           this time.

18                  (Zoom interruption.)

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Would everybody 

20           please mute unless they are Judge Marks or 

21           Brad Hoylman.  

22                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Sorry.  

23           That it -- the virtual approach to 

24           arraignments is not ideal.  And in fact 


                                                                   33

 1           that's why the State Office of Indigent Legal 

 2           Services propounds a policy that 

 3           arraignments, except in extreme situations, 

 4           need to be done in person.  It's a critically 

 5           important first appearance in a criminal 

 6           case.  

 7                  And the communication and interaction 

 8           between the defendant and the lawyer is far 

 9           superior in an in-person proceeding than it 

10           is in a virtual proceeding at arraignments.  

11           And I believe that the Chief Defenders 

12           Association of the state also strongly 

13           supports in-person arraignments.

14                  As for Housing Court, that's a real 

15           challenge, I have to tell you.  In normal 

16           times our Housing Court facilities, 

17           particularly in New York City, are very, very 

18           crowded, Brooklyn and Bronx in particular.  

19           And which is why in Housing Court we've 

20           expanded to some in-person proceedings, but 

21           very cautiously and very carefully.  And we 

22           have a limited number of in-person 

23           proceedings.  

24                  But most of the proceedings in Housing 


                                                                   34

 1           Court it's fair to say are still virtual, and 

 2           we believe it can be effective.  I mean, 

 3           ideally we would have full in-person, but at 

 4           the moment that's just not practical and 

 5           feasible.  And -- but we can conduct even 

 6           virtual trials in Housing Court.  They're not 

 7           jury trials, they're judge trials.  And we 

 8           feel a lot can be accomplished and the rights 

 9           of the litigants can be protected and 

10           vindicated with a combination of in-person 

11           and virtual proceedings in Housing Court 

12           cases.

13                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:   Thank you, Judge.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I'm sorry, the 

15           time is up, shockingly, for 10 minutes.  

16                  I'm turning it over to Assemblywoman 

17           Helene Weinstein to announce the first 

18           Assemblymember.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

20                  The first questioner will be -- and 

21           actually, he joined us while Judge Marks was 

22           speaking -- chair of the Assembly Judiciary 

23           Committee, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, for 

24           10 minutes.


                                                                   35

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Thanks, 

 2           Chair Weinstein.  

 3                  And good morning, Judge Marks.  Always 

 4           great to see you.

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 

 6           morning.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Judge, during the 

 8           course of our sessions at times some members 

 9           have criticized the Judiciary, shocking as 

10           that may seem, for its inability to open the 

11           courts the way the courts were open 

12           pre-pandemic.  Now, that's an argument I 

13           don't accept.  I'm not even going to ask you 

14           to comment on that.  But having spent much of 

15           my life in the courts, that's not the way it 

16           is.

17                  But can you describe what's been the 

18           human toll on the Judiciary and court 

19           personnel as a result of the pandemic?

20                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, at 

21           the outset of the pandemic there was, I think 

22           it's fair to say, a devastating toll.  We 

23           lost three judges, who passed away in the 

24           early spring of 2020.  Of course there's no 


                                                                   36

 1           way to know whether they contracted COVID 

 2           while in the courthouse or in their -- at 

 3           home or, you know, in their personal lives.  

 4           But regardless, it was a devastating 

 5           circumstance for us.

 6                  We also lost -- fortunately, a small 

 7           number, a very small number, but we did lose 

 8           to COVID, again, back in the early spring of 

 9           2020, we did lose a small number of employees 

10           who passed away.

11                  And we've been very fortunate since 

12           then in that there haven't been further 

13           deaths.  But a lot of our people, judges and 

14           judicial staff, have contracted the virus.  

15           We keep careful tracking of this.  We know 

16           when someone's tested positive; they're 

17           required to report that to us.  

18                  And aside from the human toll, it's 

19           had a very substantial and difficult impact 

20           on court operations, particularly I would say 

21           under the latest resurgence of the virus, 

22           which -- knock on wood -- has not been 

23           anywhere near as devastating in terms of the 

24           health consequences but has exerted itself on 


                                                                   37

 1           a much larger scale than prior resurgences.

 2                  And we do the best we can.  I mean, 

 3           you know, we haven't been able to operate --  

 4           you know, particularly with this latest 

 5           resurgence, at full staffing, but we do the 

 6           best we can, relying on virtual proceedings 

 7           where it's necessary to do that, but relying 

 8           on in-person proceedings.  And our goal is to 

 9           go back to full in-person proceedings when 

10           public health circumstances would allow for 

11           that.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Judge, I 

13           understand that at a recent jury trial on I 

14           believe a criminal matter, more than one 

15           courtroom had to be utilized.  One courtroom 

16           had to be used to house the jury, and another 

17           courtroom for arguments.  It was a total of 

18           three courtrooms.  Is that accurate?  Are we 

19           now in a logistical situation, a logistical 

20           conundrum, so to speak, where we have to use 

21           multiple courtrooms in order to conduct a 

22           single jury trial? 

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

24           absolutely correct in what you're describing.  


                                                                   38

 1           The reason for that is we've adhered and 

 2           continue to adhere to the six-foot social 

 3           distancing rule, which is the CDC guideline 

 4           for indoor public places where there's no 

 5           assurance that people coming into those 

 6           indoor public spaces have been vaccinated, 

 7           which is a category that the courthouses and 

 8           courtrooms fall into.

 9                  So -- and the State Health Department 

10           has adhered to the six-foot social distancing 

11           rule in these situations.

12                  We would like to get the backing of 

13           the CDC and the State Health Department to 

14           mitigate the six-foot social distancing rule, 

15           because it would allow us to conduct many 

16           more trials, which is something that we are 

17           very determined to be able to do.  As I say, 

18           a court system can't be a full court system 

19           without being able to conduct a significant 

20           number of jury trials.  

21                  I mean, as you know as a former 

22           practicing lawyer, most cases on both the 

23           criminal side and the civil side are resolved 

24           without the necessity of a trial.  But we 


                                                                   39

 1           need to do trials.  Trials can keep the 

 2           system honest.  And again, under existing 

 3           protocols, it's been very difficult to do 

 4           that on a large scale.

 5                  But our goal is to be able to return 

 6           to conducting jury trials on a large scale, 

 7           and hopefully that will happen.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Last question, on 

 9           a microeconomic scale.  

10                  For capital projects, the Judiciary 

11           Budget includes $25 million for continued 

12           improvements to court technology 

13           infrastructure.  Can you describe how that 

14           money will be used?

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, it 

16           will be used to upgrade and expand our case 

17           management systems.  For those of you not 

18           familiar with that term, our case management 

19           systems that every court in the state has, it 

20           is a part of -- it's where all the relevant 

21           information and data about the case is 

22           entered.  And it would be hard to imagine 

23           running a court system these days, with the 

24           volume and complexity of cases we have, 


                                                                   40

 1           without a robust and efficient and effective 

 2           case management system.

 3                  So some of the funding would go to 

 4           that.  Some of it would go to things like 

 5           enhancing sound within courtrooms, which 

 6           believe it or not can be a problem, 

 7           particularly with participants -- witnesses 

 8           and lawyers -- wearing masks.  Audio, there 

 9           are audio challenges with that.  So some of 

10           the money would be going to enhancing sound 

11           competency in courtrooms.  Money will go to 

12           replacing x-ray machines and magnetometers in 

13           the lobbies of courthouses.  Some of it will 

14           go to continuing our digitization of court 

15           records, which is an enormous undertaking 

16           that's been underway for several years.  

17                  So those are some of the examples of 

18           where that money will be very well spent.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Thanks, 

20           Judge Marks.  I have no further questions.

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

22                  SENATOR RIVERA:  You're muted, Liz.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Am I supposed to 

24           just continue on and on?


                                                                   41

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I apologize.  I 

 2           apologize, everyone.  I for some reason lost 

 3           my unmute button for a second.  We are now 

 4           turning it over to --

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator, 

 6           before -- can I just announce some of the 

 7           members who have joined us while --

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Of course.  Of 

 9           course.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- questions 

11           have been going on?  Assemblywoman Cruz, 

12           Assemblyman Cusick, Assemblyman Dilan, 

13           Assemblywoman Kelles, Assemblyman Kim, 

14           Assemblywoman Rosenthal.

15                  Thank you.  Now to the Senate.  

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

17                  And actually we've been joined by 

18           Senator George Borrello and Senator Fred 

19           Akshar since the last list was called up.  

20                  And I believe our next questioner, for 

21           three minutes, is Senator Zellnor Myrie.

22                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you, 

23           Madam Chair.  

24                  And thank you, Judge Marks.  I'm going 


                                                                   42

 1           to try and be as efficient as possible in my 

 2           questioning, and my hope is that you will do 

 3           the same in answering.  

 4                  I want to talk about Surrogate's Court 

 5           very briefly.  And if you can, again, try and 

 6           be brief in your responses.  Am I correct in 

 7           understanding that the Surrogate's Court and 

 8           specifically the Kings County Surrogate's 

 9           Court handles upwards of tens of millions of 

10           dollars in real and personal property every 

11           year?  

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  That's 

13           correct.

14                  SENATOR MYRIE:  And it is correct that 

15           that is also handled by the Kings County 

16           public administrator's office?  

17                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  The public 

18           administrator's office handles cases where 

19           there's no will and there's no family member 

20           or relative or someone who will step forward 

21           to serve as the administrator of the estate.

22                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you.  So they do 

23           handle, in many cases, pretty valuable real 

24           and personal property, correct?  


                                                                   43

 1                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes.

 2                  SENATOR MYRIE:  And is there an 

 3           auditing function by the OCA?  Do you oversee 

 4           that particular office to assure that general 

 5           accounting principles are met and that the 

 6           estates of the deceased are being handled 

 7           correctly?

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  We don't 

 9           have any formal oversight role.  The public 

10           administrator and the staff of the Public 

11           Administrator's Office are city employees.  

12           The public administrator is appointed by the 

13           surrogate judge, and in Brooklyn there are 

14           two surrogates, so they would be appointed by 

15           the two surrogates.  

16                  There have been problems that have 

17           plagued that office for a number of years, 

18           and there have been audits done by the 

19           New York City Comptroller's office, which has 

20           jurisdiction and authority to conduct those 

21           audits.

22                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you for that, 

23           Judge Marks.  And speaking of those audits, 

24           the Comptroller's office has done, I think, 


                                                                   44

 1           recently one in 2021 and another one in 2015.  

 2           They issued I believe 18 recommendations.  

 3           That office has not adopted the overwhelming 

 4           majority of those.  Is there any consequence 

 5           from OCA for that office not complying or not 

 6           fulfilling its duty as recommended by the 

 7           audits by the Comptroller's office?  

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Since I've 

 9           been in this position, although I have no 

10           formal role in the public administrator's 

11           offices in Kings County or any other 

12           counties, for that matter, I've tried to 

13           facilitate disputes and disagreements between 

14           surrogates in that court to try to address 

15           and get the public administrator to try to 

16           address some of those problems.  

17                  By the way, I believe the current 

18           public administrator has announced that he is 

19           resigning.  So --

20                  SENATOR MYRIE:  So Judge Marks, I'm 

21           sorry, just because my time has expired.  So 

22           there is no function for a public 

23           administrator's office that has been found 

24           not to meet the recommendations -- some of 


                                                                   45

 1           those recommendations include competitively 

 2           bidding vendor contracts.  They can flout 

 3           that without consequence from OCA?  

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  If you look 

 5           at the relevant statutes, the surrogates 

 6           themselves have direct oversight, the ability 

 7           to hire the public administrator and the 

 8           ability to dismiss the public administrator.  

 9           And there's been serious disagreement on that 

10           topic among the surrogates in that court.

11                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you, Judge.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

13           Senator Myrie.  We need to do more work on 

14           this issue, I agree with you.

15                  I'm turning it over to Assemblywoman 

16           Weinstein.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've been 

18           joined by Assemblyman Colton.  

19                  And to chair of the Codes Committee, 

20           Assemblyman Dinowitz, for 10 minutes.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Thank you.  

22                  Good morning, Judge Marks.  It is very 

23           good to see you.

24                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 


                                                                   46

 1           morning.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I have a few 

 3           different, unrelated questions, but I'm going 

 4           to talk fast because I want to get all my 

 5           questions in.

 6                  So the backlog.  I know at least in 

 7           the Bronx there's not a whole lot of trials 

 8           going on.  There are some, but not a lot.

 9                  Given two years of this, and a 

10           continuing pandemic, in terms of time, how 

11           long do you think it will take to clear up 

12           the backlog, just the backlog from the 

13           pandemic, let alone what we had before the 

14           pandemic?  

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  That's a 

16           great question, but a very difficult question 

17           to answer.

18                  You know, the thinking and the wisdom 

19           about civil litigation in particular, but it 

20           applies to criminal litigation as well -- and 

21           I think, Assemblyman Dinowitz, is your 

22           question more focused on the civil term of 

23           Supreme Court when you ask that, or is it 

24           both?  


                                                                   47

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Well, I think 

 2           it's both.  While I'm more familiar with, you 

 3           know, the goings on on the civil side, the 

 4           fact is in terms of, you know, really 

 5           affecting people's lives in an extremely 

 6           serious way, I think perhaps on the criminal 

 7           side is what we really need to focus on.

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah.  

 9           Yeah.  Yeah.  Yeah, I agree.  But I think 

10           it's both sides.

11                  But the conventional wisdom was always 

12           that you needed the real and credible threat 

13           of a trial -- and this is to the lawyers -- 

14           to resolve cases, to either settle them on 

15           the civil side or to achieve guilty pleas on 

16           the criminal side.  And that conventional 

17           wisdom is still the conventional wisdom, but 

18           there have been dispositions and resolutions 

19           of many, many cases during the pandemic on 

20           the civil side and the criminal side without 

21           the realistic threat of -- throughout the 

22           pandemic of a robust capacity to try cases.  

23                  But that's had its limitations.  You 

24           know, I think alternative dispute resolution, 


                                                                   48

 1           which we're committed to and sort of -- we 

 2           were in the process of institutionalizing 

 3           that throughout the state as we came into the 

 4           pandemic in the spring of 2020 -- that can 

 5           play a very significant role in resolving 

 6           backlogs.  And getting judges actively 

 7           involved in trying to resolve cases can play 

 8           an important role.

 9                  But I'm not going to minimize the 

10           importance and utility of trials to resolve 

11           cases.  And, you know, we have been 

12           conducting jury trials.  It's a limited 

13           number compared to pre-pandemic levels.  And 

14           I'll mention again the comment to Assemblyman 

15           Lavine, which is that if we could get some 

16           relief with the six-foot rule, which 

17           requires -- makes it so much more difficult 

18           to conduct jury trials than under normal 

19           circumstances -- if there could be some 

20           relief with that.  

21                  And that's obviously influenced by the 

22           circumstances of the pandemic.  But if that 

23           can happen, you know, we can return to 

24           something resembling the normal court system 


                                                                   49

 1           that we had pre-pandemic, where the 

 2           overwhelming percentage of cases get resolved 

 3           without the necessity of a jury trial, but 

 4           the jury trial is critically important to 

 5           achieving dispositions and resolutions of 

 6           cases.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I will rely on 

 8           Dr. Fauci as to whether or not six feet is 

 9           the right and correct distance.  Personally, 

10           I'd rather have a larger distance, but okay.

11                  On a separate issue, I held a hearing 

12           back in October, a Codes Committee hearing, 

13           not on the subject of bail reform, but 

14           several witnesses decided that was their 

15           opportunity to talk about bail reform, 

16           including some of the top police people, 

17           including then-Commissioner Shea.  

18                  And I make it a habit of not 

19           necessarily believing everything I read in 

20           certain newspapers unless -- unless there's a 

21           second source, I suppose.  But I asked the 

22           commissioner -- and I know my colleague 

23           Assemblymember Walker will remember this 

24           well -- I asked him does he have any data 


                                                                   50

 1           that shows that people who are accused of 

 2           certain offenses and were out without bail 

 3           then committed the same offense.  

 4                  And he said that it happens rarely.  I 

 5           don't know if that was his exact words, but 

 6           that was essentially what he said.  Meaning 

 7           that the people who were out were not 

 8           necessarily committing the same offense 

 9           again.

10                  And I was wondering if you -- I don't 

11           know if you would have data on that.  

12           Because, you know, reading one thing in some 

13           of the newspapers, that all the people that 

14           are out without bail are committing crimes, 

15           but the data doesn't seem to back that up.  

16           And I just would like to know what the 

17           reality is.

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes, we 

19           have extensive data that's on our website.  

20           We worked with the State Division of Criminal 

21           Justice Services on this.  And I know the 

22           DCJS commissioner is testifying, and you 

23           should, if you're able to, ask her that 

24           question as well.


                                                                   51

 1                  But we have extensive data.  I can 

 2           tell you I haven't absorbed it all, it's not 

 3           sort of on the tip of my brain right now.  

 4           But I can tell you that there have been 

 5           people who have been released either on their 

 6           own recognizance or non-monetary conditions, 

 7           or for whom bail was set and they posted bail 

 8           and have been released.  

 9                  There have been a fair number of 

10           people who have been arrested while they were 

11           released.  I mean, the good news on bail 

12           reform is that only 14 percent statewide were 

13           detained over the period of time we looked 

14           at, which means that approximately 200,000 

15           people were released.  And if you're a 

16           proponent of bail reform, that's I think a 

17           positive statistic.  But at the same time, 

18           there have been -- 22 percent of that number 

19           were rearrested.  

20                  Were they rearrested for the same 

21           offense for which they were charged, on the 

22           pending charge?  I can't answer that.  But I 

23           can tell you that if you have specific 

24           questions or queries that you could send us, 


                                                                   52

 1           you know, we can answer probably most if not 

 2           all of the questions that you might have.

 3                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  On a separate 

 4           issue, as you know, I was not happy about 

 5           the -- I'll call it the firing, for lack of a 

 6           better word, of the 70-year-old-plus judges 

 7           at the end of 2020, most of whom or many of 

 8           whom are back.  

 9                  I'm concerned that this could happen 

10           again.  And I'm just wondering what future 

11           you see in terms of budget and whether we 

12           would see a repeat performance of that.

13                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, as I 

14           think you know, it was entirely 100 percent 

15           driven by what we viewed as very dire budget 

16           circumstances that we found ourselves in in 

17           the 2020 calendar year.  

18                  Thankfully, that budget situation 

19           turned around.  And I want to thank the 

20           Legislature for that, because the budget that 

21           was approved for the current fiscal year, the 

22           one we're still in, allowed us to lift our 

23           hiring freeze and undo a number of the strict 

24           austerity measures that we imposed, including 


                                                                   53

 1           we invited back the judges who because of the 

 2           budget problem were not certificated.  

 3                  In the fall of 2020 we invited them to 

 4           reapply.  Many of them did.  And judges 

 5           returned as certificated judges and are 

 6           sitting on the bench handling cases today, 

 7           which is a great thing.  

 8                  In terms of the future, I can tell you 

 9           last fall, when the next class of judges were 

10           up for certification or recertification, they 

11           were all approved.  I think it was -- I think  

12           it was 27, approximately 27, who were all 

13           approved.

14                  So to answer your question, I'm not 

15           the -- clearly not an economics expert.  But 

16           from everything I read and hear and people 

17           tell me, that the state's economic situation 

18           looks pretty rosy for the next few years.  

19           And if that's the case, you know, we will 

20           continue to have a full and robust 

21           certification program.

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I have a few 

23           seconds left.  You had mentioned earlier that 

24           the judges in the system, basically they're 


                                                                   54

 1           all vaccinated, or pretty much all.  I 

 2           thought I read -- I mean, shockingly, I 

 3           thought I read that one of the Court of 

 4           Appeals judges has refused to be vaccinated 

 5           and therefore is not appearing in person in 

 6           court.  Am I wrong about that, or is that 

 7           true?  

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

 9           correct in saying that you read that.  I'm 

10           reluctant to talk about individual judges 

11           because there's an exemption process where 

12           you can apply -- either be vaccinated -- and 

13           98 percent of the judges across the state 

14           have been fully vaccinated.  But there's a 

15           process to apply for a medical exemption or a 

16           religious exemption.  And that's a strictly 

17           confidential process.

18                  But I can tell you that there are a 

19           very small number, you could count them on 

20           one hand, or part of one hand, who are not in 

21           compliance with our program, who either have 

22           not provided proof of full vaccination or 

23           have not received a religious or a medical 

24           exemption.  There's a tiny number of judges 


                                                                   55

 1           who fall into that category.  And hopefully 

 2           you'll understand why I don't want to 

 3           identify individual judges by name.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Right.  Well, 

 5           the newspaper took care of that anyway.

 6                  Anyway, thank you very much, 

 7           Judge Marks.

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.  

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

10           much.  

11                  So there was a little confusion and 

12           Assemblymember Dinowitz, the chair of Codes, 

13           was given 10 minutes.  So I want to make sure 

14           that I give my chair of Codes, Jamaal Bailey, 

15           the remainder of his 10 minutes.  He had 

16           three minutes already, so we'll give him 

17           another seven minutes, please, Mr. Clock.  

18           Thank you.  

19                  SENATOR BAILEY:   Thank you, Madam 

20           Chair.  

21                  Judge Marks, good to see you.

22                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good to see 

23           you.

24                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you for 


                                                                   56

 1           testifying today.

 2                  To piggyback off of what 

 3           Assemblymember Dinowitz was talking about 

 4           regarding the data in relation to bail and 

 5           securing orders, how was that data collected?

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  That data 

 7           is collected from the state court system's 

 8           database as well as some of it, particularly 

 9           rearrest data, comes from the State Division 

10           of Criminal Justice Services database.

11                  And the statute reflected that by 

12           requiring the court system and DCJS to work 

13           together to develop data and to post it on 

14           our websites.

15                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Sure.

16                  So in terms of the aggregation of that 

17           data, how was that aggregated?  Is it 

18           aggregated based upon offense?  Is it 

19           aggregated based upon bail eligible and 

20           non-bail eligible?  How is that data 

21           aggregated?

22                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes, all of 

23           the above.  It's categorized in a number of 

24           ways which we think will be helpful.


                                                                   57

 1                  And we added additional data fields 

 2           because researchers from Vera and John Jay 

 3           and the center for court innovation were very 

 4           interested in this data, and we added fields 

 5           at their request.  And we provide it in a 

 6           format that we think is very user-friendly so 

 7           that they can do, you know, extensive 

 8           research and really dig down into this data 

 9           and draw, you know, whatever conclusions they 

10           draw from it.

11                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Excellent.  Because 

12           it will be helpful to be able to find out -- 

13           you know, because there's much ado -- as 

14           Senator Hoylman mentioned, maybe certain 

15           judges may or may not be flouting the law.  

16           And if it was aggregated based upon bail 

17           eligibility and non-eligible offenses, I 

18           think that would go a long way in helping us 

19           determine what judges are in fact not setting 

20           bail when they have the ability or 

21           discretion, as has been asked.

22                  So I think that would be very helpful 

23           to do that.

24                  Also another point that you mentioned 


                                                                   58

 1           in your prior commentary with Assemblymember 

 2           Dinowitz, do we have data about individuals 

 3           who pay bail and reoffend?  And do we have 

 4           percentages of that data as well?  Is that in 

 5           the aggregate as well?  Because we always -- 

 6           like the conversation is generally about 

 7           those who are released on bail reform, or 

 8           based upon what people believe bail reform 

 9           is.  But individuals who pay bail and are 

10           out, they often also reoffend, correct?

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes, they 

12           do.  And there's data on that, and it's 

13           categorized and available to whoever is 

14           interested.

15                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay, excellent.

16                  A question about Raise the Age.  You 

17           know, when an adolescent is arraigned in a 

18           youth part of the criminal court, what 

19           criteria are used to determine whether that 

20           kid should stay there or be moved to -- be 

21           moved to Family Court or be moved to criminal 

22           court?

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Don't hold 

24           me to the precise language, but I'm pretty 


                                                                   59

 1           sure there's a presumption that the case 

 2           would stay -- would go to Family Court.  An 

 3           application would be made by the prosecutor.  

 4           If the prosecutor would like to see the case 

 5           transferred over to Family Court, or the 

 6           attorney for the child would like to see 

 7           that, there's an application that's made.  

 8           The prosecutor could argue the case should 

 9           stay in criminal court; you know, the 

10           converse of that.  And the precise 

11           standard -- I apologize --

12                  SENATOR BAILEY:  No problem.  I just 

13           want to get to the heart of it, is that each 

14           of these cases are handled on a case-by-case 

15           individual basis, correct?

16                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Absolutely.

17                  SENATOR BAILEY:  And it's not like a 

18           blanket policy, right?

19                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Correct.

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  So like these 

21           individuals, they would know the facts of the 

22           specific case better than anybody else 

23           because it's individualized, correct?

24                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  It's a 


                                                                   60

 1           case-by-case determination, that's right.

 2                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  A question 

 3           about -- thank you for the questions on that.

 4                  Questions about 18-B, assigned 

 5           counsel.  Like there's obviously been 

 6           conversation about it in the media.  And do 

 7           you believe that, you know, a raise in 

 8           attorney compensation would help alleviate 

 9           backlogs that we have in the court system?

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Absolutely.  

11           It's been -- and I know you have a bill on 

12           that --

13                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Yes.

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  And thank 

15           you.  You know, we support what you're trying 

16           to do, and thank you for your leadership on 

17           this.  I think it's been 18 years now, am I 

18           correct, since the last increase in the 18-B 

19           fees?

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Correct.

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  And that's 

22           having like a serious, serious impact on the 

23           processing of cases.  The attorney panels or 

24           rosters from which -- these attorneys apply 


                                                                   61

 1           and get on rosters and then take assignments 

 2           to these cases in the criminal courts and in 

 3           the Family Court.  Those rosters are 

 4           depleted.  Fewer and fewer attorneys are able 

 5           to -- they've concluded they can't afford to 

 6           take these cases because the rate is so low 

 7           and there's been no increase in such a long 

 8           period of time.

 9                  I would add that prior to the last 

10           increase, which I think was 18 years ago, it 

11           was a 16-or-17-year delay.  Which I remember, 

12           actually.  And there's got to be a better way 

13           to do this.  It has a direct impact on delays 

14           in the criminal courts and in the Family 

15           Court, and it's just something that really 

16           must -- it just needs to be done.  It's a 

17           long time.

18                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you.  I would 

19           certainly agree.  As you mentioned, there's a 

20           piece of legislation that I carry.  And 

21           understanding that those backlogs could be 

22           alleviated significantly and those who are at 

23           most risk could be able to receive counsel 

24           that is efficient.  


                                                                   62

 1                  I guess the last question that I'll 

 2           have is related to diversity in the courts.  

 3           And you and I have spoken about this I think 

 4           at every budget hearing since I've been a 

 5           member of the New York State Senate.  And 

 6           strides have been made in terms of the LEO 

 7           Program.  But in terms of greater diversity, 

 8           what steps is OCA taking to make sure that we 

 9           have great diversity, not just in race but in 

10           gender, in orientation, in any diverse group?  

11           What steps are we taking in OCA to make sure 

12           that this is taking place in our court 

13           system?  And not just on the bench, in terms 

14           of court personnel and employees as well.

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah.  No, 

16           thank you for that question.

17                  There's a lot going on.  We're 

18           particularly focusing on human resources 

19           practices and protocols.  We're doing more 

20           outreach into the community about 

21           opportunities in the court system, 

22           particularly when we conduct a civil service 

23           test for court officers or court clerks and a 

24           lot of the courtroom titles.  We're doing 


                                                                   63

 1           much more outreach.  

 2                  We are providing services to people 

 3           who -- it's not just hiring people into the 

 4           court system, it's promoting people and 

 5           having a full opportunity for everyone to 

 6           have a chance of promoting within the court 

 7           system.  And we've organized workshops to 

 8           help people with their interview skills and 

 9           resume-building opportunities.  

10                  We are making it clear to managers 

11           that their efforts to diversify the people 

12           who work under them will be a factor in the 

13           performance evaluation of court managers.  So 

14           we're taking a number of steps to further 

15           diversify our nonjudicial staff in the court 

16           system.  

17                  And in terms of judges, obviously we 

18           don't pick the judges, with the exception of 

19           Housing Court judges.  And I think our record 

20           is strong on diversity among Housing Court 

21           judges whom we appoint.  Administrative 

22           judges, a lot of diversity.  The 

23           administrative judge for the New York City 

24           Criminal Court is a person of color.  The 


                                                                   64

 1           administrative judge for the New York City 

 2           Civil Court, which includes the Housing 

 3           Court, is a person of color.  The 

 4           administrative judge for the New York City 

 5           Family Court is a person of color.  

 6                  Three of four of our deputy chief 

 7           administrative judges, which is the level 

 8           below me as the chief administrative judge, 

 9           three of four are judges of color.  So we --

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, Judge 

11           Marks.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut 

12           you off because we are beyond time.  

13                  I'm going to ask everybody to mute if 

14           they're not actually speaking.  

15                  I apologize, Senator Bailey, I need to 

16           also end your questioning.

17                  SENATOR BAILEY:  I am grateful for the 

18           extra time.  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Thank 

19           you, Judge Marks.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

21                  We've been joined by Senator Phil 

22           Boyle, the ranker on Codes; by Senator Pete 

23           Oberacker, Senator Sue Serino, and 

24           Senator Pat Ritchie.


                                                                   65

 1                  And now turning it over to the 

 2           Assembly.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've been 

 4           joined by Assemblyman McDonald, 

 5           Assemblyman Pretlow.  

 6                  And we go to Assemblyman Weprin, three 

 7           minutes.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

 9           Madam Chair.  

10                  And thank you, Judge Marks, for -- 

11           once again, I'm glad to see that we're 

12           getting back to trials, although slowly.  

13                  I've had a bill for a number of years 

14           to allow for a program of allowing 

15           televisions in the courtroom.  That bill has 

16           been dormant for many years.  I've 

17           reintroduced the bill.  And I think with some 

18           of the skepticism in the courts during the 

19           pandemic, and the lack of trials, hopefully 

20           the return of trials as we get out of COVID, 

21           that's something I'd like to see you and OCA 

22           look at to restore confidence in trials and 

23           in the courtroom post-pandemic.

24                  Would you be able to comment on that, 


                                                                   66

 1           Judge?

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, 

 3           personally, and this is just my own 

 4           opinion -- I don't think we have an 

 5           institutional opinion or position on cameras 

 6           in the courts, but personally I favor cameras 

 7           in the courts.  

 8                  I remember the statute going back a 

 9           number of years that would come up for sunset 

10           every few years and would be renewed, and 

11           then ultimately was permitted to sunset.  And 

12           there's been no formal authorization for 

13           camera coverage of court proceedings in New 

14           York since then, and it's been a long time.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yeah, that was 

16           my -- my late father is the one that 

17           sponsored that original bill, Sol Weprin.  So 

18           I'd like to see it restored.

19                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah.  I 

20           can -- again, I'm speaking for myself, not 

21           for the institution, but I think the more 

22           sunlight you can shine on court proceedings, 

23           the better that is.  

24                  The public -- it's difficult to go to 


                                                                   67

 1           the courthouse and sit there, for people who 

 2           work, have childcare or other 

 3           responsibilities, and if there was more -- 

 4           particularly all these remote judicial 

 5           proceedings that we've been conducting during 

 6           the pandemic, I don't know if that supports, 

 7           I'd have to think about that, whether that 

 8           supports cameras in the courts for the more 

 9           public viewing of court proceedings.  But, 

10           you know, we need to be as responsive a 

11           governmental institution as we can possibly 

12           be, and I personally believe that audiovisual 

13           coverage of court proceedings promotes 

14           responsiveness and accountability.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yeah, I think it 

16           particularly may be more relevant 

17           post-pandemic as we're restoring trials and 

18           the public is reenergizing.  

19                  So thank you.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go now to 

21           the Senate.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

23           much.  

24                  And we're actually going to jump to 


                                                                   68

 1           the ranker for Codes, Senator Phil Boyle.  

 2                  Are you there, Senator Boyle?  Well, 

 3           perhaps we're not right now.  Senator Boyle, 

 4           are you there?  Well, we're going to come 

 5           back to Senator Boyle next round, and we're 

 6           going to go instead to Senator Andrew 

 7           Gounardes.

 8                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Thank you very 

 9           much, Senator Krueger.

10                  Hello, Judge Marks.

11                  I really have just two questions.  One 

12           you kind of touched on a little bit in terms 

13           of the backlog of cases.  I'd like to hear 

14           your thoughts specifically in response to 

15           what the mayor had called for yesterday, 

16           citing the 4,000 gun cases that are still 

17           pending in our criminal trials.  And 

18           understanding the issues with spacing and the 

19           logistics of trying to get back to normal, he 

20           had talked about prioritizing a lot of these 

21           cases.  And I would just love to hear you 

22           talk more about -- in response to what the 

23           mayor was asking the courts to undertake as 

24           part of this fight against gun violence.


                                                                   69

 1                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  We support 

 2           what the mayor announced yesterday.  There 

 3           were discussions that took place before the 

 4           announcement with respect to the courts, and 

 5           we're fully supportive.

 6                  We have an existing gun case 

 7           initiative with designated judges handling 

 8           gun cases.  The goal is to be able to conduct 

 9           more suppression hearings, which is the fancy 

10           name for a court proceeding that determines 

11           whether -- typically in a gun case, whether 

12           the gun was constitutionally seized from the 

13           accused.  And so our goal is to conduct more 

14           of those suppression hearings.  Which 

15           presents fewer pandemic challenges than a 

16           jury trial does because it's just a hearing 

17           before the judge with far fewer people in the 

18           courtroom.

19                  And with the capacity to conduct more 

20           suppression hearings, that will lead to 

21           quicker resolution of cases even if the case 

22           needs to go to trial.

23                  But the mayor also called for 

24           something which I mentioned a few minutes 


                                                                   70

 1           ago, which is relaxing or reducing the 

 2           six-foot social distancing protocol, which I 

 3           think it was Assemblyman Lavine described 

 4           very accurately requires multiple courtrooms 

 5           to be able to try before a jury a single 

 6           criminal case.  And we're in discussion with 

 7           the public health authorities about the 

 8           possibility of being able to do that.

 9                  So in terms of being able to conduct 

10           more trials and applying more resources to 

11           that goal, we fully support what the mayor 

12           announced yesterday.

13                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  I appreciate that.  

14           Thank you very much, Judge.  

15                  And my second question is the 

16           Executive Budget is proposing to cut 

17           $86 million in pension contributions under 

18           general state charges, mostly because a lot 

19           of the pension obligations have been 

20           fulfilled last year, as well as the growth of 

21           employees in the Tier 6 system.  

22                  In my former capacity as chairman of 

23           the Civil Service Committee, we've heard a 

24           lot of issues about the difficulty in 


                                                                   71

 1           recruiting and retaining state workers 

 2           because of the pension benefits that are 

 3           under Tier 6.  As you are looking to fill in 

 4           some of the open vacancies you have, both 

 5           pre-pandemic and because of the pandemic, 

 6           what challenges do you think you're facing 

 7           because of the benefits package that we are 

 8           now currently offering state employees?  

 9                  How does that affect your ability to 

10           fully staff up your department's operations?  

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, it's 

12           a good question.

13                  I think, you know, in general our 

14           benefits in state government -- you know, and 

15           the Judiciary is part of the civil service 

16           benefit structure that the executive 

17           branch -- particularly health insurance that 

18           they offer, and it's pretty good, the health 

19           insurance benefits.  It could always be 

20           better, but it's pretty good, particularly 

21           compared to other large organizations 

22           including, I think, in the private sector to 

23           some extent.

24                  So does the Tier 6, which obviously is 


                                                                   72

 1           less generous than the lower tiers, does that 

 2           discourage people from looking at employment 

 3           within the court system?  You know, that's 

 4           something I'd have to take a look at that and 

 5           ask our HR people, and I could get back to 

 6           you.  

 7                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  That would be 

 8           great.  Thank you.  

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  But there's 

10           no question it's a less generous pension 

11           benefit than some of the other tiers.

12                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Thank you.

13                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we go to our 

15           ranker on Ways and Means, Assemblyman Ra, for 

16           five minutes.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.

18                  Good morning, Judge Marks.  Good to 

19           see you again.

20                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 

21           morning.

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Just to go back to 

23           the bail reform conversation, as people know, 

24           you know, right now only in qualifying 


                                                                   73

 1           offenses is it legally permissible for judges 

 2           to exercise really any form of discretion, 

 3           and it's really only when the judge finds 

 4           bail or remand to be the least restrictive 

 5           means necessary to ensure court attendance.

 6                  You know, in light of yesterday's plan 

 7           that was put out by Mayor Adams of New York 

 8           City, do you have any thoughts on his 

 9           statement basically asking for discretion for 

10           your judges to consider dangerousness?

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, I 

12           haven't seen the details of the mayor's 

13           proposal.  He did call for that.  I can tell 

14           you -- and, you know, to be fair about this, 

15           many judges, if not most of our judges who 

16           sit on criminal cases, would like more 

17           discretion in making determinations about 

18           bail and release of people accused of crimes.  

19                  I mean, we don't have a formal 

20           proposal.  But judges as a group, I think 

21           it's fair to say -- you know, I'm not 

22           speaking for a hundred percent of our judges, 

23           and I'm not sure what percentage I am 

24           speaking for, but I think it's fair to say 


                                                                   74

 1           that individual judges would like to have 

 2           more discretion in making this decision and 

 3           feel that they would be able to fairly and 

 4           effectively make decisions on a case-by-case 

 5           basis if they had more discretion.  

 6                  I believe that's a fair 

 7           characterization of how most judges who sit 

 8           on criminal cases in the State Unified Court 

 9           System feel.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you.  

11                  Could whoever is unmuted and typing, 

12           please mute?  It's coming through the feed.

13                  A totally different topic with regard 

14           to, you know, backlogs in eviction 

15           proceedings and all that with the eviction 

16           moratorium now having expired.  And one of 

17           the issues obviously is that despite that, 

18           there is the Emergency Rental Assistance 

19           Program, and that does provide protection for 

20           an applicant, you know, with a case, 

21           requiring that to be reopened.

22                  How is OCA handling that, A, in terms 

23           of knowing -- do you have a number of how 

24           many cases are currently stayed as a result 


                                                                   75

 1           of somebody applying for the Emergency Rental 

 2           Assistance Program?

 3                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Off the top 

 4           of my head, I don't know the number, but I've 

 5           seen the number.  OTDA, you know, the 

 6           executive branch agency that's administering 

 7           the ERAP program, has that information.  We 

 8           can get it for you or you could get it 

 9           directly from them.  

10                  But, you know, there is number of 

11           pending applications for ERAP grants.  And if 

12           there are eviction cases pending for all of 

13           those people who have applied -- and there 

14           isn't necessarily an eviction case pending in 

15           all of those situations.  But if there is, as 

16           you know, the eviction proceeding is stayed.  

17                  And we have data that the OTDA has 

18           shared with us on, you know, listing people 

19           who have applied.  And that information is 

20           used in Housing Courts throughout the state 

21           when cases are calendared, which they have 

22           been all along and will continue to be 

23           calendared now that the moratorium has been 

24           lifted.  And those lists are referenced by 


                                                                   76

 1           courts to ensure that someone who has a 

 2           pending application is not evicted, that 

 3           their case is stayed.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  And with regard to 

 5           just ones that do have filed eviction 

 6           proceedings, now with the -- taking out ERAP, 

 7           assuming that's not a factor in a case, are 

 8           those being automatically recalendared?  Or 

 9           is it on the litigant to come and make an 

10           application to recalendar those matters that 

11           had been, you know, subject to the eviction 

12           moratorium?  

13                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  The courts 

14           are recalendaring cases themselves.  

15           Particularly in the New York City Housing 

16           Court, which has, as I mentioned before, the 

17           vast lion's share of pending eviction cases, 

18           the court itself is calendaring cases -- you 

19           know, generally speaking, in chronological 

20           fashion, meaning the older cases are being 

21           calendared.  That's sort of -- that's the 

22           process.  

23                  So the courts are calendaring cases, 

24           to answer your question.


                                                                   77

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you.

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 4                  Okay, now we're going to try again 

 5           Senator Phil Boyle, ranker on Codes.

 6                  SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, 

 7           Madam Chair.  And thank you, Your Honor.

 8                  Just a quick question.  Obviously on 

 9           Long Island we've had a long history of 

10           overburdened courts.  And I'm asking you what 

11           are the steps that you're taking to advance 

12           the creation of a Fifth Department appellate 

13           division for the Long Island region?

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, 

15           interesting you raise that, because in our 

16           proposed constitutional restructuring of the 

17           trial courts -- which focuses mainly on the 

18           trial courts.  We have 11 trial courts in 

19           New York; it's far more than any other state 

20           in the country has.  And we're trying to get 

21           approval to consolidate and reduce the number 

22           of trial courts.  But within that proposal, 

23           that issue was addressed, the Fifth 

24           Department.  


                                                                   78

 1                  You're in the Second Judicial 

 2           Department.  The four departments of the 

 3           Appellate Division were created I think in 

 4           1898, back when there was roughly equal 

 5           population among the four.  And that's 

 6           changed drastically.  The Second Department 

 7           has over 50 percent of the population of the 

 8           state within its jurisdiction, which is a 

 9           problem. 

10                  And our constitutional proposal 

11           addresses not only consolidating the trial 

12           courts, but would specifically give the 

13           Legislature, I think every five years or 

14           every 10 years -- I apologize, I don't 

15           remember the exact time period -- but would 

16           give the Legislature authority by statute -- 

17           the Constitution would be amended to give the 

18           Legislature the authority, every five years 

19           or 10 years, whatever it is, to determine the 

20           number of appellate judicial departments.  

21                  So it's in that proposal.  

22                  SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you.  I hope 

23           that the need for this department is not held 

24           up by other reforms that may have been talked 


                                                                   79

 1           about for a long time.  

 2                  But thank you very much, Judge.  And 

 3           thank you, Madam Chair.

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6                  Assemblywoman.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, so now we 

 8           go -- next up is Assemblywoman Rajkumar, 

 9           followed by Assemblywoman Walker.

10                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Thank you.  

11                  Good morning, Your Honor.

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 

13           morning.

14                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  I want to 

15           talk to you about the severe backlog of cases 

16           in our courts.  As is often said, justice 

17           delayed is justice denied.  And yet around 

18           our state, as has been mentioned, courts are 

19           backlogged severely with cases.  The district 

20           attorney of Onondaga County actually 

21           estimated that clearing his backlog will take 

22           18 months to two years.  

23                  Now, part of the reason may be delays 

24           related to COVID-19.  And OCA I know limits 


                                                                   80

 1           the number of trials conducted at once.  But 

 2           I'm very interested in last year's study by 

 3           the Center for Court Innovation, which 

 4           partnered with you at OCA.  And that study 

 5           concluded that the actual caseload is not the 

 6           real driver of delays; the culprit is 

 7           inefficient calendar management and judges 

 8           setting lengthy adjournments without 

 9           considering whether parties could complete 

10           the tasks sooner in between court 

11           appearances.  

12                  And in 2019, the Center for Court 

13           Innovation managed to launch a study with 

14           you, and in it they increased the percentage 

15           of cases disposed in six months by 

16           11 percent.

17                  So could you please speak more about 

18           how OCA can resolve this backlog of cases in 

19           an expeditious manner, and how we can help 

20           make that happen?  

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, 

22           again, there's a number of steps to be taken.  

23           I've mentioned some of them.  

24                  I think first and foremost there's 


                                                                   81

 1           wide agreement that we have to be able to 

 2           conduct more trials, jury trials in 

 3           particular.  And under the social distancing 

 4           protocols currently in place, it's very hard 

 5           to do that, as we discussed -- as I discussed 

 6           with a previous colleague of yours.  

 7                  So more jury trials.  Broader use of 

 8           alternative dispute resolution, where a 

 9           judge, a court attorney, a community dispute 

10           resolution center, a private mediator gets 

11           the parties together and tries to mediate a 

12           settlement --

13                  (Zoom interruption.)

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Somebody please 

15           mute.

16                  SENATOR RIVERA:  Brad.  Brad.  

17                  It's Brad Hoylman.  There you go.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, thank you.

19                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  So greater 

20           use of ADR.  Refocused attention 

21           on individual cases, inventories and -- this 

22           is a component of the Chief Judge's 

23           Excellence Initiative.  Which I should say, 

24           by the way, the pandemic has presented real 


                                                                   82

 1           challenges to resolving more cases in 

 2           attacking backlogs.  But the Excellence 

 3           Initiative, which was in effect from 2016 to 

 4           2020, eliminated backlogs in many courts 

 5           throughout the state and greatly reduced 

 6           backlogs in other parts of the state.  And 

 7           but for that, the situation would be even 

 8           more challenging today.

 9                  As to the Center for Court Innovation, 

10           yes, we worked with them and supported that 

11           pilot program which tried to reduce the time 

12           between court appearances and made efforts to 

13           ensure that the lawyers performed the tasks 

14           that they were supposed to perform between 

15           court appearances.  And that court 

16           appearances be meaningful, that something 

17           happened at every court appearance in a case 

18           to move the case forward.

19                  We worked with them on that pilot 

20           program, and it was successful -- I don't 

21           want to say it was dramatically successful, 

22           but it was successful in reducing the age of 

23           cases and promoting the earlier disposition 

24           of cases.  And we've been in discussions with 


                                                                   83

 1           them to replicate that approach in other 

 2           courts, which is something that we would like 

 3           to do.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, the time is 

 5           up.  I'm going to take it back for the 

 6           Senate.

 7                  Senator Sepúlveda.

 8                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Good morning, 

 9           everyone.  Good morning, Judge.

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Good 

11           morning.

12                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  You know, we've 

13           had discussions about diversity in the courts 

14           over the years.  When you talked about the 

15           merger plan, the first information I received 

16           about it indicated a lot of traditional law 

17           firms, but very few -- law firms and law 

18           groups, like the Bar Association and so 

19           forth, but not many law groups, bar 

20           associations of color were included in the 

21           initial consideration.

22                  Has that changed in the development of 

23           this issue of court merger?  Which I believe 

24           will have a deleterious effect on 


                                                                   84

 1           representation of color in the courts.

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, we 

 3           just zoomed our efforts, which were on the 

 4           back burner since the pandemic for obvious 

 5           reason -- but we returned our attention back 

 6           to the court simplification proposal, and we 

 7           are reaching out to more groups and will be 

 8           reaching out to and seeking input from 

 9           affinity bar associations, for example.  

10           That's something that there wasn't enough 

11           opportunity to do a few years ago when we 

12           last made a push, because of the pandemic, 

13           which put a halt to the pursuit of the 

14           proposal.  

15                  But you're absolutely right, the 

16           affinity bar associations in particular 

17           raised some concerns.  And those are concerns 

18           that, you know, realistically will have to be 

19           addressed if this thing is going to progress.

20                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Judge, you know, 

21           again, we'll be battling that when the time 

22           comes.  But I just wanted you to be aware of 

23           my feelings about the entire merger 

24           discussion.  


                                                                   85

 1                  Any particular reason why you only 

 2           have two Latinos in positions of either 

 3           policy or management in the entire OCA 

 4           system?  You have an administrative judge in 

 5           the Bronx, and I believe you have Judge 

 6           Rolando Acosta in the Appellate Division.  No 

 7           other judges exist in the entire OCA.  Is 

 8           there any particular reason for that?  

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  There's no 

10           reason.  We did lose three Hispanic judges 

11           to -- Judge Jeanette Ruiz, who was the 

12           administrative judge for the New York City 

13           Family Court, retired.  Julio Rodriguez, in 

14           your county, who was the administrative judge 

15           in the Civil Term in the Bronx, went to the 

16           Appellate Division.  And Judge Joe Zayes, who 

17           was our administrative judge for the criminal 

18           term in Queens Supreme Court, went to the 

19           Appellate Division.

20                  So the -- I agree with you, it's 

21           difficult sometimes, you know, in terms of 

22           who applies and who has the best 

23           qualifications for the job.  And by the way, 

24           these administrative jobs are critically 


                                                                   86

 1           important these days, because our focus is so 

 2           much on court operations and frontline court 

 3           activity.  So --

 4                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Judge, I'm sorry 

 5           to interrupt you, because I have a really 

 6           critical question also on HP actions in 

 7           Housing Court.  You have multiple courts for 

 8           holdover proceedings and nonpayment 

 9           proceedings, but you only have one part 

10           that's set aside for HP actions.  In light of 

11           the fires and the explosions and everything 

12           that's happening in our county, is there any 

13           particular reason why we don't increase the 

14           number of HP parts so that we can address 

15           these issues and have less fatalities and 

16           tragedies like we had?  

17                  And again, I apologize for cutting you 

18           off, but my time is limited.

19                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  No, no, no 

20           problem at all.  You're referring to Bronx?

21                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  I'm referring to 

22           most of the court systems, they only have one 

23           HP part --

24                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  In each 


                                                                   87

 1           county --

 2                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  -- that handles -- 

 3           in case people don't know, they handle the 

 4           complaints about building violations and so 

 5           forth.

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Right.

 7                  I can promise you we'll look at that.  

 8           We'll look at the inventories in those parts 

 9           and if the inventories are preventing those 

10           courts from resolving those cases efficiently 

11           and fairly, we can make changes.  

12                  But frankly it's the first I've heard 

13           about this, but I promise you we'll look into 

14           it.  And if you're right, we can make 

15           changes.

16                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Hopefully we can 

17           have a discussion soon.

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Sure.  

19           Thank you.

20                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Thank you.  

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I do have to cut 

22           you off.  

23                  But Judge, I suspect that if we took a 

24           hand-raising here, you would find many 


                                                                   88

 1           legislators from New York City agree with 

 2           that last recommendation.  So just raise your 

 3           hand if you agree with Senator Sepúlveda.  

 4                  I thought so.  So yes, please, Judge, 

 5           let's all look into that.

 6                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  And this is just a 

 7           question that Senator Gustavo Rivera and I 

 8           were talking about, so I don't want to get 

 9           all the credit for raising the issue.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Fine.  Well, 

11           thank you, everyone.

12                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.  

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

14           Assemblywoman Walker.

15                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Thank you.  So 

16           in your opening remarks, Judge, you mentioned 

17           a finding of systemic racism, inherent bias 

18           and discrimination that are found in the 

19           court system.  So I guess my question is, is 

20           there a particular court such as criminal 

21           court where those findings seem to be more 

22           prevalent than others?  As one note.

23                  And on the other note is if we allow 

24           for the judges to have discrimination in 


                                                                   89

 1           their analysis of dangerousness, do you 

 2           believe that those inherent biases, 

 3           discrimination and systemic racism will and 

 4           can have an impact on a determination of 

 5           dangerousness for the people who we have 

 6           jurisdiction over?  

 7                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Okay, two 

 8           questions.  Let me answer the first question 

 9           first.

10                  I mentioned in my opening remarks that 

11           the Chief Judge appointed Jeh Johnson to 

12           conduct a sort of a top-to-bottom evaluation 

13           of are we doing a good enough job in the 

14           court system of combating and preventing 

15           institutional racism and bias.  And he 

16           concluded, and I think you're following up 

17           your question on his conclusion that there 

18           are two systems of justice in New York, one 

19           for the economically disadvantaged, people of 

20           color, which would include --

21                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Thank you, 

22           Judge.  Judge, I'm just asking whether or not 

23           the biases that were found have the ability 

24           to be utilized in assertation of 


                                                                   90

 1           dangerousness in the discretion that's being 

 2           requested for people with respect to bail 

 3           reform.

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I would 

 5           hope not.  But do people have biases and do 

 6           judges have biases?  They probably do.  But 

 7           they should work to ensure that they don't 

 8           have biases -- 

 9                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Thank you.  

10           Thank you.

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Okay.  

12           You're welcome.

13                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  If there's any 

14           accountability or indictment -- is there any 

15           accountability or indictment on judges for 

16           exercising these biases and/or 

17           discriminations?  

18                  And if so, I'd like to hear more about 

19           those.  Because I did notice that it was 

20           cited that there was bias and discrimination 

21           that was alleged against a judge in 

22           Surrogate's Court prior to her removal.  So 

23           is there any accountability and/or indictment 

24           with respect to those judges?  


                                                                   91

 1                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  The -- I 

 2           mean, I don't want to get into great detail 

 3           about the example you raised, but that -- 

 4           that is an extreme situation that was brought 

 5           to our attention, and we addressed it -- 

 6           after investigating it, we addressed it 

 7           immediately.  

 8                  But on an overall level, if people -- 

 9           people in the court system have biases and 

10           those biases impact decisions that they make, 

11           judges in particular.

12                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Thank you, 

13           Judge.  Last moment before I have to end.

14                  So then the information that you cited 

15           with respect to DCJS may not be available 

16           prior to bail reform was implemented.  The 

17           Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice also has 

18           data that contradicts the data that you just 

19           mentioned, and I'd like to discuss more with 

20           you about what happens with bail reform 

21           rearrests prior to bail reform and after bail 

22           reform, so that we are comparing apples to 

23           apples.  

24                  Thank you, Honorable Chairwomen.


                                                                   92

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

 2           Senate.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 4                  And we go to Senator Diane Savino.

 5                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

 6           Krueger.  

 7                  Good to see you, Judge Marks.  I only 

 8           have three minutes, so I'm going to try and 

 9           be brief because I have two areas that I just 

10           want to mention.  

11                  One of course is following up on this 

12           continuing public discussion around bail 

13           reform.  As you know, we undertook three 

14           years ago to change what was inherently a 

15           discriminatory process to begin with.  But as 

16           legislators, we write laws, somebody 

17           implements them, and then it's up to you good 

18           folks in the judiciary to interpret them.  

19                  And I think it's important that from 

20           time to time we hear from judges as to 

21           whether or not we've drafted a confusing 

22           statute.  And for those of you who think that 

23           we did or we didn't, I would suggest you read 

24           an op-ed in the January 21st Daily News 


                                                                   93

 1           written by a criminal court judge from the 

 2           Bronx, Jeff Zimmerman, who in fact says that 

 3           what we have handed them is an incredibly 

 4           complicated, confusing statute.

 5                  On the one hand, we are the only state 

 6           in the country that says we utilize bail for 

 7           the sole purpose of making sure defendants 

 8           return to court.  Every other state allows 

 9           the consideration of dangerousness.  At the 

10           same time, we amended the statute a short 

11           time later to delineate certain crimes that 

12           the Legislature determined were potentially 

13           violent.

14                  So we've given them a confusing 

15           statute, and I think it's important that be 

16           part of the public debate.  So I just want to 

17           leave that there.  I suggest we start to talk 

18           to judges more frequently about what we are 

19           asking them to do so we have a clear statute 

20           that people can apply.

21                  On to the other issue I want to talk 

22           to you about.  I notice you're not asking for 

23           money to cover the cost of labor contracts.  

24           You do have some outstanding ones.  And 


                                                                   94

 1           you're in the middle of negotiations, I 

 2           believe, with the Superior Court Officers 

 3           Association -- which is not going well, from 

 4           what I understand, because there's not enough 

 5           money at the table.  

 6                  So can you talk to me about why you're 

 7           not seeking more money, since we seem to be 

 8           printing it in the basement right now.

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, we 

10           are seeking -- we have money in the 

11           current-year budget to pay for a percentage 

12           salary increase this year, and we're putting 

13           money in our proposed budget for the next 

14           year to pay for percentage salary increases 

15           for our represented employees --

16                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Not to cut you off, 

17           but my understanding is the percentage you're 

18           offering is certainly not something they're 

19           willing to accept.  Again, that's a labor 

20           negotiation that you're in the middle of.

21                  But if we go back to -- an earlier 

22           questioner was talking about recruiting and 

23           retaining people and the problems you're 

24           having recruiting people to work in the court 


                                                                   95

 1           system.  You might want to aim higher, 

 2           Judge Marks.  So perhaps a higher percentage 

 3           increase would assist you in recruiting 

 4           people, retaining them, and keeping the 

 5           courts operational.

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, I 

 7           appreciate that comment.

 8                  SENATOR SAVINO:  (Laughing.)  Thank 

 9           you.  

10                  I'm done.  I yield my 30 seconds.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

12           much, Senator Savino.

13                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.  

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've been 

15           joined by -- a little while ago by 

16           Assemblyman Aubry, and we go to 

17           Assemblywoman Mitaynes.

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Hi.  Thank 

19           you very much.  

20                  My question is more around Housing 

21           Court.  And I'm actually from Brooklyn.  But 

22           so just wanting to piggyback on the HP cases.  

23           We have various ones that we're aware of that 

24           are trying to be filed and they're not moving 


                                                                   96

 1           forward.  And our understanding is that there 

 2           is a backlog because they don't have 

 3           sufficient staff to process them.  So I just 

 4           wanted to throw that out there.  

 5                  But also you talked about the upgrade 

 6           and expanding the court's technology capacity 

 7           to be able to facilitate virtual court 

 8           appearances.  So my question is what are you 

 9           doing with respect to those people that might 

10           not have access to technology or own a 

11           computer at home?  What does the judicial 

12           process look like for them?  And please 

13           describe at what point in the judicial 

14           process this technological literacy is 

15           evaluated and who conducts such evaluations 

16           and how such evaluation changes and 

17           determines the process that they go through.

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, first 

19           let me say our goal is to return to as high a 

20           level of in-person proceedings as we can, 

21           because the courts are an in-person business.  

22           And that's our goal, to be able to conduct as 

23           many in-person proceedings as possible.

24                  However, there will be a role for 


                                                                   97

 1           virtual proceedings going forward.  And you 

 2           highlight an important issue about not 

 3           everyone has the knowhow or the 

 4           technology and the equipment to participate 

 5           in virtual court proceedings.  It's a real 

 6           problem.  You're absolutely right.  

 7                  And we -- there are a number of ways 

 8           to address it, including installing 

 9           technology in the community so that people 

10           can go to a community organization or a house 

11           of worship, perhaps, and use the technology 

12           there to be able to participate in court 

13           proceedings.  And that's an initiative that 

14           we are very interested in pursuing, and will 

15           pursue, because hopefully, you know, the 

16           pandemic will go away one of these days for 

17           good, or largely go away for good, and we can 

18           go back to more normal proceedings in 

19           courthouses, which would mean in-person 

20           proceedings.  

21                  But we can't predict for sure that 

22           that will happen, so we may have to rely on 

23           virtual proceedings for some time longer.  

24           And even if we go back to normal, there could 


                                                                   98

 1           still be a value for people, in the example 

 2           that I'm raising, who rather than have to 

 3           travel all the way to the central courthouse, 

 4           can participate by going to a nonprofit 

 5           organization in their community which --

 6                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  That sounds 

 7           great.  And I understand -- sorry -- that 

 8           this is for the future.  But what are you 

 9           doing right now to address those issues?

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, in 

11           Family Court, which has a significant number 

12           unfortunately of unrepresented litigants, 

13           people who come to court without a lawyer, 

14           the telephone, believe it or not, it's not 

15           ideal, but the telephone has been found to be 

16           helpful and useful.  And, you know, more 

17           people have phones than have Surface Pros or, 

18           you know, fancy computer equipment.  

19                  So it's low-tech, but the phone has 

20           served its purpose in a court like Family 

21           Court.  So on an immediate basis, that's not 

22           ideal, it's not perfect, but it's sort of a 

23           patchwork approach that we can do 

24           immediately.  


                                                                   99

 1                  But in the long term, where we can 

 2           think, you know, with more vision, technology 

 3           in the community could be of great benefit to 

 4           people who don't have equipment to 

 5           participate in virtual proceedings or the 

 6           knowhow or the computer savviness to be able 

 7           to do that.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Back to the 

 9           Senate.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

11           much.

12                  Senator Palumbo for five minutes, 

13           ranker on Codes.

14                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Thank you, 

15           Madam Chair.  

16                  Nice to see you, Judge Marks.  How are 

17           you?

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Very good, 

19           thank you.

20                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Good to see you 

21           again.  

22                  And just by way of follow-up on what 

23           you were just discussing, do you think that 

24           some form of hybrid may be here to stay?


                                                                   100

 1                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes, 

 2           absolutely.  Because the crowded courtrooms, 

 3           they're called "cattle calls" by some people, 

 4           where 150 people are in a courtroom, you 

 5           know, at 9:30 in the morning, are really a 

 6           thing of the past.  

 7                  And you know, there are routine court 

 8           appearances for scheduling and, you know, 

 9           where routine decisions have to be made, can 

10           absolutely be conducted virtually and will be 

11           in the future.  It's more efficient for 

12           everyone, it saves money for lawyers for 

13           their clients.  It can be more efficient for 

14           the judges.  And, you know, absolutely 

15           there's a permanent place for technology in 

16           virtual court proceedings in the court system 

17           of the future.

18                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Sure.  Sure.  And in 

19           that regard, I came in and I missed some of 

20           the conversation with Chairman Bailey.  But 

21           on the 18-B panel, are you seeking additional 

22           funding to increase their rates?  

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  We don't 

24           have our own bill, but we strongly, strongly 


                                                                   101

 1           support increasing the assigned counsel fees.  

 2           It's been --

 3                  SENATOR PALUMBO:   I've had many 

 4           friends who --

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah.

 6                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Yeah, I'm sorry.  

 7           I've just had many friends who have turned 

 8           down cases who are, you know, the best 

 9           lawyers in the room, they're there every day, 

10           but they just can't make a living.  And 

11           unfortunately the indigent individuals are 

12           not getting, you know, excellent 

13           representation that they otherwise would have 

14           had.  So --

15                  (Overtalk.)

16                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I'm sorry.  

17           Because there are fewer lawyers willing to 

18           serve on these rosters and panels, it's 

19           leading to -- we discussed this earlier -- 

20           it's leading to further delays in the 

21           processing of cases.

22                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Sure.  Sure, I 

23           agree.

24                  On to the public protection side, and 


                                                                   102

 1           really just on the criminal justice side of 

 2           the conversation.  And you indicated earlier 

 3           that there was a conclusion that there were 

 4           some -- that it was socioeconomic, as far as 

 5           the discrimination that you indicated, or was 

 6           it based on race or something else?  Tell me 

 7           a little more about that data, if you can.  

 8           Fairly quickly, I'm running out of time, 

 9           please.

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, it 

11           wasn't so much in data.  It flows from the 

12           study and report of our special advisor on 

13           equal justice in the courts, Jeh Johnson, who 

14           concluded that the courts that tend to 

15           service poor people, people of color from 

16           economically disadvantaged communities, are 

17           more crowded, have fewer resources, and 

18           struggle more than the courts that service, 

19           you know, people of means or people who can 

20           afford to hire a lawyer.  

21                  And that was an observation made which 

22           we accept and embrace as the reality, and 

23           it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

24                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Sure.  And do you 


                                                                   103

 1           have a demographic of the judiciary itself?  

 2           Because I know there have been many positions 

 3           taken by some members of the Legislature as 

 4           well that the bench itself is inherently 

 5           racist.  But I'm just curious as to the 

 6           demographics of the judiciary themselves.  Do 

 7           you have that?  

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Absolutely.  

 9           Yes.

10                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Can you tell me a 

11           rough percentage as to what that would be?  

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I can tell 

13           you that the percentage of judges of color is 

14           less than the percentage of people of color 

15           in the state at large.  I don't have the 

16           exact numbers handy, but of course we can get 

17           you that.

18                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  That would be great.  

19           Thank you, Your Honor.  

20                  And regarding, you know, there's -- 

21           just as discussed by Senator Savino as well, 

22           that there's some concern about the clarity, 

23           the results of the criminal justice reforms 

24           that have been implemented in recent years, 


                                                                   104

 1           do you have any numbers on people who are 

 2           released pursuant to that program who have 

 3           actually been rearrested or reoffended?

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes.  

 5                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  I know there's 

 6           something -- I believe the new county 

 7           executive in Nassau County is asking his 

 8           police to keep track of that.  Do you have 

 9           any numbers in that regard?  

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, we 

11           have detailed information that -- data that 

12           the court system collects and that the State 

13           Division of Criminal Justice Services 

14           collects, and we have detailed data on that 

15           point.

16                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Great.  And if you 

17           wouldn't mind forwarding that to me as well, 

18           that would be terrific.

19                  And lastly, with 8 seconds to go, do 

20           you have any comments with regard to allowing 

21           judges to have discretion of some kind?  

22           because we could just have a computer sit on 

23           the bench if we're not going to allow judges 

24           to actually exercise discretion, in my 


                                                                   105

 1           opinion.

 2                  But do you have any opinion in that 

 3           regard as to whether or not that's something 

 4           we should be considering on the policy side?

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  What I can 

 6           tell you is judges as a group -- and I can't 

 7           be certain that I speak for 100 percent of 

 8           the judges -- but judges as a group who 

 9           handle criminal cases would favor having more 

10           discretion to make these decisions.

11                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Thank you again, 

12           Your Honor.  Nice to see you.

13                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.  

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

15                  Chair Weinstein.  

16                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

17           Assemblyman Lawler.  I believe he's back from 

18           his committee.  Yes, there he is.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you, 

20           Madam Chair.  

21                  And Your Honor, good to see you.  I 

22           apologize, I was on a committee meeting, so I 

23           may have missed some of your answers.  So 

24           just bear with me if I ask something that 


                                                                   106

 1           you've already answered.

 2                  But yesterday Mayor Adams released a 

 3           plan to try and combat gun violence in the 

 4           City of New York, and part of that plan was 

 5           allowing judges to consider a dangerousness 

 6           standard.  I think that has been one of the 

 7           issues -- and my colleague just touched on 

 8           it, with judicial discretion -- that has been 

 9           one of the major concerns of those who have 

10           been opposed to some of the bail reform 

11           changes.  

12                  New Jersey implemented bail reform 

13           around the same time that we did, but they 

14           allowed for a dangerousness standard and 

15           allowed judges to consider whether or not the 

16           public safety was at risk.  New York State is 

17           the only state in the country that does not 

18           allow for a dangerousness standard under 

19           these previous laws.

20                  So I know you briefly elaborated on it 

21           just now.  I think it really warrants a more 

22           thorough response, with all due respect.  I 

23           think the mayor of the City of New York, the 

24           new mayor, has inherited quite a problem when 


                                                                   107

 1           it comes to a rising level of crime, a rising 

 2           level of gun violence in the City of New 

 3           York.  He is asking and imploring all of us 

 4           to act with respect to giving judges judicial 

 5           discretion.  And so I'd really like to hear 

 6           from you, you know, why New York State is the 

 7           only state that does not allow it and whether 

 8           or not you think it's warranted.

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, I 

10           can't answer why that is, but I can -- the 

11           answer I can give you is that judges as a 

12           group favor having more discretion.  You 

13           know, that's -- this is what they're trained 

14           to do, they're trained to make assessments, 

15           to evaluate facts and circumstances, to 

16           achieve a fair result.  

17                  And we support them, you know, we 

18           train judges, we provide them with assistance 

19           and resources to be able to do their job as 

20           best they can.  And that judges as a group, 

21           judges who handle criminal cases, would favor 

22           having more discretion.

23                  Now, having said that, are they able 

24           to carry out their duties and their functions 


                                                                   108

 1           under the current bail reform legislation?  

 2           Yes, absolutely, they're able to perform 

 3           their responsibilities.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Your Honor, do 

 5           you believe -- and I'm sorry to cut you off, 

 6           I'm just running out of time.  Do you believe 

 7           that the evidence and prior criminal history 

 8           should weigh in the decision with respect to 

 9           bail?

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Do I 

11           believe that?  I don't think my own 

12           individual opinion is what matters.  

13                  But I can report to you that as a 

14           group, it's fair to say that judges feel that 

15           way, yes.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Okay.  Thank you 

17           very much.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate?  

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

20           Senator Kevin Thomas.

21                  SENATOR THOMAS:  Thank you, 

22           Chair Krueger.  

23                  And good morning, Judge.  Thank you 

24           for joining us once again.  


                                                                   109

 1                  I wanted to talk about Article 81 

 2           guardianships.  As you know, this is under 

 3           the New York Mental Health Law, where the 

 4           judges make a decision as to whether this 

 5           individual has capacity.  So OCA has not made 

 6           any efforts to fully or consistently fund 

 7           guardianship programs.  OCA has relied for a 

 8           long time on volunteer guardians, usually 

 9           attorneys.  But as you know, these cases are 

10           intensive and time-consuming.

11                  We know there's a critical need for 

12           guardians here on Long Island and throughout 

13           the state.  And OCA has administered a pilot 

14           program on Long Island that was funded by the 

15           Legislature since 2018, but that funding is 

16           always tied up in bureaucracy, going through 

17           other agencies before reaching OCA, who then 

18           distributes the funds to local organizations 

19           who provide guardians. 

20                  Why has OCA not requested funds 

21           through the budget in order to fund this 

22           critical program and streamline the money to 

23           get it out quicker?

24                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, let 


                                                                   110

 1           me say I agree with you that this is a 

 2           problem, that the population is aging, as 

 3           everyone knows, and older people often are 

 4           not able to manage their day-to-day personal 

 5           affairs and/or their finances.  And ideally 

 6           there's a relative or a close friend who can 

 7           step in to do that, but that's not always the 

 8           case, so that courts have to appoint someone 

 9           off a list to serve as guardian.  And if 

10           there's --

11                  SENATOR THOMAS:  But, Judge, why 

12           hasn't OCA asked for funding through the 

13           budget for this?  

14                  Like I get it, we know there's a huge 

15           need.  By why hasn't OCA asked for money to 

16           fund these programs?

17                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, is 

18           that a -- we could have a discussion about 

19           this, and we should, because this is the 

20           first time I think we've talked about it.  

21           We've talked about other issues, but I don't 

22           know that we've ever discussed this issue.

23                  SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.  Would you -- 

24           would you support a statewide program through 


                                                                   111

 1           the budget for guardianship?

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I think we 

 3           would have to discuss who -- what is the 

 4           right organization or entity to administer a 

 5           program like that.  Is it the county social 

 6           service agency?  Is it a state social service 

 7           agency?  Or is it the court system?

 8                  SENATOR THOMAS:  Well, it's the courts 

 9           that really determine the capacity issue 

10           here, so they should be the ones that are, 

11           you know, giving out the money.  I mean, I 

12           know it's under New York Mental Health Law, 

13           but again, we can talk about this after the 

14           budget hearing, but I just wanted to get your 

15           thoughts on this and maybe we can work 

16           towards funding this program.  Because 

17           there's a huge need, as you say.

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  There's 

19           absolutely a real problem and a growing need, 

20           and I'm in complete agreement with you about 

21           that.  We should talk further about how to 

22           address it.

23                  SENATOR THOMAS:  All right, will do.

24                  Thank you, Judge.


                                                                   112

 1                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 3                  Chairwoman Weinstein.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 5           Assemblyman Carroll, but I just wanted to 

 6           announce first we were joined by 

 7           Assemblyman Burgos and Assemblywoman Wallace.

 8                  Now to Mr. Carroll.

 9                  Assemblyman Carroll, we can't hear 

10           you.  You're not muted, but we still can't 

11           hear you.  I'm not sure why.  

12                  Why don't we -- why don't we go to -- 

13           we're going to go to the next -- and let's 

14           try and figure out what's going on.  Let's go 

15           to Assemblywoman Hyndman.  And maybe exit and 

16           come back in, Mr. Carroll, and then we'll get 

17           back to you.

18                  Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman.

19                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you, 

20           Chairs Weinstein and Krueger.  

21                  Judge Marks, I have two questions.  

22           I'll ask them both because of the time.  In 

23           Housing Court, are there resources and/or 

24           measures in place for litigants that don't 


                                                                   113

 1           have and haven't had access to the technology 

 2           required for virtual hearings?  That's the 

 3           first question.

 4                  And the second question.  Data from 

 5           the New York City Mayor's Office of 

 6           Criminal Justice shows pretrial rearrests 

 7           have remained consistent over time and 

 8           haven't changed with bail reform.  In January 

 9           2019, prior to the implementation of bail 

10           reform, 95 percent of people had no new 

11           arrests.  January 2021, two years later, the 

12           number increased to 96 percent, meaning 

13           slightly fewer people were rearrested 

14           following bail reform implementation.  

15                  Shouldn't we look at the city's data, 

16           being that everyone outside of New York City 

17           refers to New York City when it comes to this 

18           matter?  

19                  So if you could answer both questions, 

20           I'd appreciate it.

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, 

22           taking the last one first, if the city data 

23           is showing different results from the court 

24           system and DCJS data that I'm familiar with, 


                                                                   114

 1           we should look at that.  There must be an 

 2           explanation for that.

 3                  But if there are discrepancies -- I 

 4           mean, this is very important.  I mean, bail 

 5           reform seems like it's always debated, the 

 6           debate never ends.  It's an important public 

 7           policy issue, and the data is critically 

 8           important.  If there are any discrepancies in 

 9           the data, that should be resolved so that 

10           policymakers who have to make these decisions 

11           know that they have accurate and reliable 

12           data that they can rely upon.

13                  In terms of technology available to 

14           Housing Court litigants, I did speak about 

15           that a moment ago.  I think the number-one 

16           most important --

17                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  I was at a 

18           hearing, sorry.

19                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  No -- no 

20           problem.  I'll repeat what I said.  Happy to 

21           do that.

22                  But the most important thing that we 

23           can do in Housing Court is to provide lawyers 

24           for people who can't afford one.  And 


                                                                   115

 1           fortunately, in New York City the city 

 2           government is committed to doing that and has 

 3           been committed to that for a while, so that 

 4           everyone who can't afford a lawyer, every 

 5           tenant who can't afford a lawyer in New York 

 6           City will get one to represent him or her.

 7                  And in terms of outside the city, 

 8           there isn't that guarantee, although as I 

 9           noted a while ago, the Governor has suggested 

10           that maybe funding -- the state should 

11           identify funding to offer that opportunity 

12           for people outside New York City who find 

13           themselves in Housing Court and can't afford 

14           a lawyer.  Ultimately, that's the answer to 

15           the problem.  

16                  But where that isn't the case, you 

17           know, there are real challenges for -- not 

18           everyone has the computer equipment that you 

19           would need to successfully participate 

20           virtually in a court proceeding.  Or if they 

21           did, they might not know how to use it 

22           effectively.  

23                  And one of the answers -- and it's not 

24           an immediate answer, because this will take 


                                                                   116

 1           time and money.  But one of the answers is to 

 2           install technology in community organizations 

 3           where people can go to a nonprofit community 

 4           organization in their community which has the 

 5           technology, and they can participate 

 6           virtually from that remote location.

 7                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

 9           Senate.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                  Senator Fred Akshar.  

12                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Madam Chairwoman, 

13           thank you so much.  

14                  Your Honor, good to be with you.  

15           Thanks for joining us today.

16                  As you can tell, not only today but 

17           for the past many months or last couple of 

18           years, we've been having this robust debate 

19           about public safety and the criminal justice 

20           system throughout the State of New York.  I 

21           for one believe that we are failing New 

22           Yorkers and we are less safe today than we 

23           were just a short two years ago.

24                  I have two questions, very briefly.  


                                                                   117

 1           Does OCA have measures in place to address 

 2           the perceived racism or biases that exist?  

 3           So in the event that something like this 

 4           presented itself, are there measures in place 

 5           for OCA to deal with them directly?  

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes.  We 

 7           have a robust investigative process when 

 8           there are complaints of bias or 

 9           discrimination happening in the court system.  

10           We have our own independent inspector 

11           general's office which will fully investigate 

12           and make findings and recommendations.  

13                  And if there is a finding of bias or 

14           discrimination, we have a zero tolerance 

15           policy now in the court system and will take 

16           swift and appropriate action to address it.

17                  And to address implicit bias, we're 

18           embarking on a mandatory five-year implicit 

19           bias anti-bias program for all judges and all 

20           staff in the court system.  It will be 

21           mandatory.  It will be mandatory.  It will 

22           not be just a one-and-done presentation, it 

23           will be a series of educational programs for 

24           everyone over the course of a five-year 


                                                                   118

 1           period.  And we're very excited about this 

 2           and looking forward to this starting.  And we 

 3           feel that effective training on bias will 

 4           prevent bias.

 5                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Your Honor, thank 

 6           you.  So not only have you had a strong 

 7           program, you've taken the steps to ensure 

 8           that you have an even stronger and more 

 9           robust program moving forward.  Is that a 

10           fair assessment?  

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yes, it is, 

12           absolutely.

13                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Thank you, 

14           Your Honor.

15                  Secondly, I say this with all due 

16           respect.  When Assemblyman Lawler asked you a 

17           question, I think you had referred to like 

18           your opinion didn't matter or what you felt 

19           didn't matter specifically.  I would say this 

20           very strongly, that your opinion does in fact 

21           matter.  

22                  So I'm just looking for a yes or a no, 

23           if you can.  Do you believe that if your 

24           judges were able to make the determination 


                                                                   119

 1           from the bench of the dangerousness of a 

 2           defendant in front of them, would that 

 3           ability keep New Yorkers more safe, yes or 

 4           no?

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I think 

 6           judges would be able to make a more informed 

 7           and more effective decision about issues like 

 8           bail if they had broader discretion to do so.

 9                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  So if they were able 

10           to weigh the dangerousness of the defendant 

11           in front of them, they would be able to make 

12           a more informed decision with respect to 

13           keeping New Yorkers safer?  

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  They -- if 

15           they had -- I'm sorry, could you repeat that 

16           question?

17                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Yeah.  I just want to 

18           make sure I understood your answer.

19                  If judges in fact could make that 

20           determination from the bench, the 

21           dangerousness of the defendant in front of 

22           them with respect of what to do with the 

23           defendant, they could make a more informed 

24           decision about whether or not to release them 


                                                                   120

 1           back into the community or to set bail?  

 2                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I think 

 3           they could be -- judges would feel that they 

 4           would be able to make a more informed 

 5           decision if they could take more information 

 6           into account in making these decisions.

 7                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Do you believe that, 

 8           as the chief administrative judge of the 

 9           great state of New York?  

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You know, 

11           I'm not sitting on criminal cases these days 

12           so, you know, I'm loath to express my own 

13           opinion.  But I'm here to convey how judges 

14           feel as a group.  And by the way, I'm not 

15           saying a hundred percent of judges feel that 

16           way, but I'm confident in saying that the 

17           great majority of judges who sit on criminal 

18           cases would agree with that.

19                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Madam Chairwoman, 

20           thank you so much.  Your Honor, thank you for 

21           answering my questions.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

23           Senator.  

24                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.


                                                                   121

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go back 

 2           to Mr. Carroll.  I think he's corrected 

 3           his -- the issue he had.  Three minutes.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Chair Weinstein, 

 5           can you hear me?  

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes, we 

 7           can hear you.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  I'm not that 

 9           much of a troglodyte.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Judge Marks, 

12           thank you for being here.  I have a comment 

13           and I have a question.  

14                  I would like to reiterate what Senator 

15           Myrie said before about our Surrogate's 

16           Court, especially in Brooklyn, and the issues 

17           around the public administrator's office.  

18           For my colleagues who don't know, I have a 

19           piece of legislation that would actually put 

20           the public administrator's office inside the 

21           corporation counsel and have the mayor 

22           appoint our public administrators in New York 

23           City, which I think would be very important 

24           to depoliticizing that office and making sure 


                                                                   122

 1           the New Yorkers most vulnerable, you know, 

 2           those who have family members who die 

 3           intestate, are treated fairly and equitably.

 4                  But my question for you, Judge Marks, 

 5           is there are many members of the bar who have 

 6           reached out to me, especially in our civil 

 7           parts of the Supreme Court, who are at their 

 8           wits' end.  They have had civil matters 

 9           delayed and delayed and delayed.  You know, 

10           they can't get simple motion work done let 

11           alone actually get a trial date set.

12                  What can the OCA do to make sure that 

13           we find a way to efficiently run our civil 

14           parts so that plaintiffs can actually have 

15           their cases heard?  This is a massive 

16           windfall for the insurance industry and 

17           monied interests who have been able to delay 

18           cases and delay judgments, to the detriment 

19           of plaintiffs.  

20                  And I'm highly, highly concerned, and 

21           I'm concerned that OCA is not directing 

22           judges at all costs to figure out ways to get 

23           trials done, but to just get settlements 

24           done, because they know that there is so much 


                                                                   123

 1           delay and backlog.  

 2                  What can OCA do, what can the 

 3           Legislature do to help you do your job?

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  The best 

 5           thing that we can do is to resume fuller 

 6           trial capacity.  And I don't know if you were 

 7           on the meeting earlier, but we talked about 

 8           that, that it's the realistic threat and 

 9           capability of a trial that drives 

10           settlements.  Not entirely.  And believe me, 

11           we've resolved thousands and thousands of 

12           cases over the last two years during the 

13           pandemic, but we're not doing enough trials.  

14           We fully acknowledge that.  There are social 

15           distancing requirements that make that 

16           particularly challenging.  

17                  We're making an effort on both the 

18           civil side and the criminal side to get 

19           Health Department officials to mitigate, 

20           but --

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Judge Marks, 

22           I --

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  That's the 

24           number-one thing we can do.


                                                                   124

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  I have limited 

 2           time.  

 3                  You know, I hear from trial lawyers in 

 4           New York City every single day that they just 

 5           can't get simple appearances, that they have 

 6           judges who are, for lack of a better phrase, 

 7           missing in action.  What is going on?

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, 

 9           judges are not missing in action.  Judges 

10           have been in the courthouse for months and 

11           months.  They're conferencing cases.  I'm 

12           happy to talk about this with you further, 

13           but -- 

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  I would love to 

15           because I don't think that there -- you know, 

16           there are so many stories that I've heard, 

17           and I don't think they're all anecdotal, 

18           where folks who have trials cannot get 

19           appearances.  And they feel as if they 

20           cannot -- they can't practice, and they can't 

21           represent their clients.  And I really do 

22           believe that this is a massive, massive 

23           windfall for the insurance industry and 

24           monied interests generally against plaintiffs 


                                                                   125

 1           who otherwise would have claims be 

 2           adjudicated in their favor.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  With that, 

 4           we'll go to the Senate.  Senator Krueger.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Just 

 6           double-checking on a hand that disappeared 

 7           but was not supposed to disappear.

 8                  Senator Jose Gustavo Rivera.  I added 

 9           a Jose.  What am I doing?  Senator Gustavo 

10           Rivera.

11                  SENATOR RIVERA:  That is my full name, 

12           Madam Chair.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You know, I was 

14           looking at a text from you and it had the 

15           full name.  So sorry.

16                  SENATOR RIVERA:  No worries.  Thank 

17           you, Madam Chair.  

18                  Thank you, Your Honor.  My question 

19           will be quick, and I actually just want to 

20           underline something that was said earlier.  

21           Many of the questions that I wanted to ask 

22           have been asked, but specifically something 

23           that Senator Sepúlveda brought up earlier at 

24           the end of his questioning, and I just wanted 


                                                                   126

 1           to give you, just so that you know -- because 

 2           I understand, obviously, you're responsible 

 3           for the entire court system.  

 4                  But in the Bronx there are Part H and 

 5           Part A.  Part H is for HP actions, and Part A 

 6           is for NYCHA cases -- you know, nonpays and 

 7           holdovers.  But then Part B, C, D, E, F, G, 

 8           I, J, K and L are all of them dedicated to 

 9           nonpays and holdovers.  

10                  So the difference is extreme.  So I 

11           would certainly ask you to please look into 

12           this, because it is obvious when you have -- 

13           I mean, the fire that killed all these folks 

14           in the Bronx happened in my district in a 

15           building that had, you know, all sorts of 

16           issues with lack of heat, et cetera.  And we 

17           deal with these issues on a daily basis in my 

18           district office.  And I know that everybody 

19           else probably in the city, but certainly in 

20           the Bronx, deals with it.  

21                  So I just wanted to put that on the 

22           record.  There is that enormous a 

23           distinction:  One part for HP actions and 

24           eight, I think, or nine for everything else.  


                                                                   127

 1           That's -- that just seems completely -- just 

 2           crazy.

 3                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, I 

 4           promise you we will look at that to make sure 

 5           there's not an imbalance in that.  I mean, we 

 6           have to be able to address code violations, 

 7           it's critically, critically important.  And, 

 8           you know, the latest tragedy underscores 

 9           that, obviously.  And if, you know, the 

10           numbers justify additional HP parts, we can 

11           do that.  But it's something -- it's the 

12           first I'm hearing about this.  So this is 

13           helpful, and we'll absolutely look into it 

14           and --

15                  SENATOR RIVERA:  I will definitely 

16           follow up with you on it.  But since you've 

17           said that this is the first time you heard 

18           it, I wanted to make sure to underline it so 

19           that it is right there.  Underline it in your 

20           notes or what have you, and we will follow up 

21           with you afterwards.

22                  Thank you, Your Honor.  And thank you, 

23           Madam Chair.

24                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.  


                                                                   128

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 2                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 4           Assemblyman Burdick.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you.  And 

 6           thank you, Your Honor.

 7                  I had two questions.  I will ask both 

 8           of them, in the interests of time.  

 9                  A question from a long-serving town 

10           justice in one of the towns I represent, 

11           whether the court system might go to 

12           centralized arraignments, as he believes they 

13           do in Nassau County.  And if so, how would 

14           this impact the future role of town and 

15           village courts?  

16                  And the second question is I represent 

17           a portion of Westchester, and prior to bail 

18           reform nearly 24,000 people were incarcerated 

19           prior to -- in pretrial between 2010 and 2014 

20           because bail couldn't be met.  Those who are 

21           white made bail at twice the rate of those 

22           who are Black.  

23                  And bail reform, as you know, was 

24           intended to address this disparity as well as 


                                                                   129

 1           to reduce the degree that people are jailed 

 2           without a conviction.

 3                  And apart from bail reform, what 

 4           additional basic guardrails and protections 

 5           against jailing without a conviction exist?

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  The first 

 7           question, about centralized arraignment 

 8           parts, we've expanded them.  They're 

 9           terrific.  I mean, they're a great 

10           improvement over what preceded them in 

11           counties, particularly -- not just rural 

12           counties, but particularly rural counties 

13           throughout the state where, if someone gets 

14           arrested, they have to go find -- wake -- in 

15           the middle of the night, the police have to 

16           take the person and find like a judge and 

17           wake him or her up and conduct the 

18           arraignment.  Not an ideal system.

19                  So the centralized arraignment part 

20           for -- off-hour arraignments can take place 

21           in a central location where there will be a 

22           lawyer, staff there, and a prosecutor staff 

23           there and a judge, obviously, there.  And 

24           it's far preferable to, you know, running 


                                                                   130

 1           around all over the place trying to find a 

 2           judge in the middle of the night, and often 

 3           not succeeding.

 4                  So we're supportive.  We have them in 

 5           many jurisdictions around the state, many 

 6           counties.  And this is of course outside 

 7           New York City exclusively.  And we're 

 8           committed to setting up more of them.

 9                  In terms of the economic inequality of 

10           cash bail, I mean, I agree with you 

11           completely about that, that whole notion of, 

12           you know, how much money you have can dictate 

13           whether you can attain your liberty is -- 

14           it's un-American, frankly.  I mean, it flies 

15           in the face of everything this country is 

16           about.  

17                  So, you know, I'm just -- now I'm 

18           expressing my own opinion, which some of your 

19           colleagues asked me to do.

20                  But we still have cash bail in this 

21           state, and there are states that have 

22           eliminated cash bail.  And, you know, that's 

23           something that should be considered, 

24           obviously.


                                                                   131

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you very 

 2           much.  I appreciate it.

 3                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

 4           welcome.  

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  Now 

 6           to the Senate.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And I 

 8           believe our last Senator, unless someone else 

 9           pops up, is Senator Sue Serino.

10                  SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you, 

11           Chairwoman.  

12                  And hello, Your Honor.  Thank you for 

13           taking our questions today.

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Sure.

15                  SENATOR SERINO:  I know some of my 

16           colleagues have already asked your thoughts 

17           on allowing judges to consider dangerousness 

18           when setting bail, and I really appreciated 

19           your answers.  I've carried a bill since 2019 

20           that would give judges discretion to consider 

21           dangerousness, and I would be interested to 

22           hear your thoughts on that bill.  But 

23           obviously you don't have that bill in front 

24           of you, so I'd like to follow up after the 


                                                                   132

 1           hearing, if possible, because we really think 

 2           that that change is critically important.  

 3                  And I also share the concerns for the 

 4           backlogs that some of my colleagues have 

 5           spoken about as well.

 6                  But my question is, does the Housing 

 7           Court have anything in place right now where 

 8           people who are not eligible for ERAP but may 

 9           have an application pending that will likely 

10           be denied, can be directed to other 

11           appropriate resources?  And I apologize if 

12           somebody asked that question; I had to jump 

13           off for a Zoom before.  

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, the 

15           current state of the law, and this includes a 

16           judicial decision from a judge in Manhattan 

17           rendered within the last couple of weeks, is 

18           that if -- even though the money is exhausted 

19           at the moment -- and there may be more money 

20           coming, and hopefully -- I think everyone 

21           would agree that it would be good if there 

22           were more money, good for tenants, good for 

23           landlords, good for everyone.  

24                  But the current state of the law is if 


                                                                   133

 1           there's an application pending -- and people 

 2           can file new applications now, even though 

 3           there's no money at the moment.  But if an 

 4           application is filed, then the court 

 5           proceeding is stayed.  So that's the current 

 6           state of the law as a result of a court 

 7           decision from a few weeks ago.  

 8                  SENATOR SERINO:  So -- I guess that 

 9           answered my question.  It's just a -- okay.  

10           All right, thank you, Your Honor.  I 

11           appreciate it.

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

13           welcome.  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

15                  So Chairwoman Weinstein, I think the 

16           Senate has completed its list.  So why don't 

17           you just start rolling Assemblymember after 

18           Assemblymember.  

19                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We have two 

20           members, Assemblywoman Kelles and then it 

21           will be Assemblyman Walczyk, to close.  

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Helene, my 

23           name's been on the stack for a bit.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Wait, who's 


                                                                   134

 1           this?

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Harvey.

 3                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Harvey's first.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, I'm sorry.  

 5           Yes, I cut you off.  Yes, Assemblyman Epstein 

 6           and then Kelles and Walczyk.  

 7                  When I copied it, I left you out.  It 

 8           was unintentional, Harvey.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Chair, we also have 

10           Mr. Reilly, who joined us and has his hand 

11           raised.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  I don't 

13           see that on my screen, but that's not a 

14           problem.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  Thank you.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we go to 

17           Assemblyman -- oh, the problem is for some 

18           reason Assemblyman Reilly is mixed in with 

19           the Senate.  I don't know if that was a 

20           demotion or a promotion for him.

21                  (Laughter.)

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I'm sorry, we're 

23           not starting that fight today.  No, no, no.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 


                                                                   135

 1           Epstein.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 3           Chair.  

 4                  And thank you, Judge Marks, for being 

 5           here.

 6                  I know we all don't have a lot of 

 7           time.  Just on the diversity of the bench, 

 8           what percentage of judges are Black in OCA?

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I have 

10           those numbers.  I could find them, it might 

11           take me a minute.  Could I get them to you 

12           post-hearing?

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Yeah.  I mean, 

14           great to know Asian, Black, Latino judges, 

15           court attorneys who are Black, Asian, Latino.  

16           I mean, because -- you know, obviously 

17           people's personal experiences impact how they 

18           view the bench.  And you're saying the 

19           majority of judges are in favor of 

20           dangerousness, I'm just wanting to know who 

21           those judges are and how they represent our 

22           state.  I'd love to have that data.

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  We have the 

24           demographic data, and of course happy to 


                                                                   136

 1           share it with you.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I appreciate 

 3           that.  

 4                  And do you have the eviction data for 

 5           2021, how many evictions occurred in 2021?

 6                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  We have 

 7           that also, yes.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Could I get -- 

 9           could you share that with my office?  I'd 

10           appreciate that.

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Of course.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  And I just want 

13           to reiterate what we heard from my colleagues 

14           around the HP issue.  I understand that you 

15           may say that the percentage of cases might be 

16           lower for HP actions, but as someone who's 

17           practiced in Housing Court for decades, what 

18           we've heard is not just the number but the 

19           slowdown of these trials where heat and hot 

20           water cases are taking months because the 

21           judge is -- even though there's only -- 

22           there's one HP judge, and they do a half a 

23           day, you know, for weeks at a time because 

24           they have an HP calendar.  


                                                                   137

 1                  So I just would love for you not just 

 2           to look at the number of cases but how those 

 3           cases are impacting the people appearing 

 4           before them.

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah.  No, 

 6           I -- that's I think an excellent point.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  And then 

 8           I want to turn our attention to the backlog, 

 9           because I know that you mentioned that a lot 

10           on the backlog.  Because what we've heard is 

11           a lot of people who are being held at Rikers 

12           are staying there because of the backlog of 

13           their trials.  

14                  And I understand the issues of the 

15           social distancing.  But, you know, the real 

16           world impact that's having on people who, you 

17           know, there are allegations that they've 

18           committed a crime and are just sitting in 

19           Rikers six months, a year -- we've heard from 

20           defender associations that they're there for 

21           long periods of time.  

22                  Like what is the real plan?  Because 

23           18 months isn't a real plan to get these 

24           cases taken care of.  We really need to hear 


                                                                   138

 1           what the short-term plan is.  Is it 

 2           additional resources?  What is the plan, is 

 3           it additional space?  Like what is the plan 

 4           to get this backlog taken care of?

 5                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Every week 

 6           we schedule criminal jury trials with a great 

 7           preference to, you know, what are described 

 8           as in-defendants, who are in detention, as 

 9           opposed to being out at liberty.  

10                  And we -- as was discussed two hours 

11           ago at the outset of this hearing, under 

12           social distancing protocols -- and the 

13           defender groups will certainly support what 

14           I'm saying -- it's very difficult to conduct 

15           criminal jury trials because of the -- 

16           particularly the jury selection requires 

17           multiple courtrooms.  

18                  And so it's a function of space, which 

19           is a function of the 6-foot social distancing 

20           rule.  And I don't know if you --

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Judge Marks, I'm 

22           almost out of time, but I know -- if there's 

23           more space, then that's something we can talk 

24           through.  If it's a space issue, please come 


                                                                   139

 1           to us and say it's space.  

 2                  And I ran out of time, but I do want 

 3           to talk about the court consolidation issues.  

 4           I have some concerns I raised years ago when 

 5           you first produced that, and I'd love to 

 6           follow up with you about some of those 

 7           concerns that I still have.

 8                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Sure.  

 9           Sure.  Absolutely.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  But please come 

11           to us if it's a space issue.

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Okay.  

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

14                  So now we go to Assemblywoman Kelles.

15                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Thank you so 

16           much.  

17                  In the interests of time, I'm going to 

18           try and run through mine as well really 

19           quickly.

20                  Just, first, one comment that was 

21           previously mentioned about funding and 

22           staffing for assigned counsel.  I just wanted 

23           to add my two -- you know, additional support 

24           for that.  We are also having a very 


                                                                   140

 1           difficult time and I know the rates have not 

 2           increased since 2004.  I definitely think we 

 3           are due.  

 4                  And wanted to also add my two cents to 

 5           considering requesting or putting in funding 

 6           also for any kind of centralized staffing.  

 7           It's not just that they don't have the 

 8           funds -- the correct rate at this point, I 

 9           think -- but that whatever they do get, they 

10           have to use it if they want to get any 

11           staffing support.  So that's something we 

12           don't talk about very often, but I do think 

13           that that's also an issue.

14                  And another thing I wanted to ask you 

15           about was related to mental health court or 

16           wellness court.  It statistically has been 

17           shown to be hugely successful, and there have 

18           been a lot of people in my district who are 

19           asking questions of whether or not that could 

20           be expanded in every county throughout the 

21           state.  I have one county that has it, it's 

22           hugely successful; another county that does 

23           not.

24                  And so I wanted to ask really quickly 


                                                                   141

 1           if that has been something that you at all 

 2           discussed and something that you would 

 3           consider supporting and advocating for.

 4                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, I 

 5           think it's fair to say that's our ultimate 

 6           goal, that the mental health courts are 

 7           successful.  And every county ideally should 

 8           have one, and I think that's a reasonable 

 9           goal to strive towards.  

10                  They are resource-intensive, however, 

11           and the -- usually they're initiated by grant 

12           money, grant money that the state gets from 

13           the federal government.  The SAMHSA 

14           administration, which is part of HHS, 

15           distributes block grant money to states.  And 

16           the State Office of Mental Health would want 

17           to be on board on that.  So yes --

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Thank you so 

19           much.  I will follow up with you on that.  

20           I'm so sorry to cut you off.  But I will 

21           definitely follow up, because if there is a 

22           way to do that together, then I certainly am 

23           interested.

24                  But I did want to make one comment 


                                                                   142

 1           quickly about bail reform, and a question.  

 2                  One thing that I'm very concerned 

 3           about is that we are not taking the data in 

 4           context.  We have seen an increase in gun 

 5           violence and violent crime throughout the 

 6           entire country, and in fact New York State is 

 7           less than the average across the entire 

 8           country.  Which begs the question if we're 

 9           the only ones that have had bail reform, then 

10           would we not expect that we would actually be 

11           higher?  

12                  So I would ask you, do you think that 

13           the COVID crisis has influenced the increase 

14           that we are seeing, rather than bail reform?  

15           That is my first question about it.

16                  And my second question is a concern 

17           that I have, which is the fact that as a 

18           result of bail reform we have seen a 

19           reduction in people incarcerated pretrial, 

20           but we've actually seen as a result a 

21           significant increase, an exacerbation of the 

22           number of Black people who are incarcerated 

23           specifically after bail reform.

24                  So I wanted to know if you could 


                                                                   143

 1           comment on that, and specifically the 

 2           questions on right now, given implicit bias 

 3           and the lack of the fact that you've had that 

 4           yet, of whether you feel comfortable with the 

 5           movement forward of giving the discretion of 

 6           assessing dangerousness, given the imbalance 

 7           I believe --

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman, 

 9           leave --  

10                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  -- for people 

11           of color.  

12                  Yes, thank you very much.  If you 

13           could just answer those briefly, that would 

14           be good. 

15                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  If you have a 

16           very brief response, Judge Marks. 

17                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Sure.  I 

18           think that the rise in shootings is not just 

19           a phenomenon here in New York, but it is 

20           particularly in cities across the country, 

21           some of which have bail reform, some of which 

22           don't, I assume.  I don't have all the 

23           information on all the jurisdictions across 

24           the country.  


                                                                   144

 1                  But there's no doubt, I would think, 

 2           that it's fair to say that the pandemic has 

 3           had an impact on that.  Exactly how, I'm not 

 4           sure.  I'm not a criminologist.  But I think 

 5           the evidence would point to the pandemic 

 6           having an impact on the rise in shootings in 

 7           jurisdictions around the country.

 8                  In terms of bias built into the 

 9           pretrial detention in New York, I would hope 

10           that's not the case, but I haven't seen data 

11           on that one way or the other.  And I don't 

12           know if there is data.  There should be.

13                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  I'll share the 

14           data.

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Okay.  

16                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, thank 

17           you.  We're going to move on to Assemblyman 

18           Walczyk.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks, 

20           Madam Chair.  

21                  Your Honor, wonderful to hear from you 

22           today.  Appreciate your answers to a number 

23           of the questions, and that's cut down on the 

24           number of questions that I have today.


                                                                   145

 1                  So the Judiciary Budget that's 

 2           presented by the Executive here requests -- 

 3           shows that the New York City Civil Court is 

 4           disposing of less than half of the new case 

 5           filings, yet the budget does not request a 

 6           significant increase in personnel and 

 7           requests only a minuscule amount of 

 8           overtime -- I think I'm reading this right, 

 9           only $14,000?

10                  So how would OCA address the terrible 

11           increase in cases that have not been 

12           disposed?

13                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, you 

14           can't be looking at the right number for 

15           overtime.  The overtime number that we're 

16           seeking is closer to -- between 25 and $30 

17           million, and closer to the $30 million.  

18                  So we are relying on more overtime 

19           because our staffing numbers are down, so 

20           there's pressures to -- more reliance on our 

21           existing workforce and getting them to work 

22           additional hours for which they're entitled 

23           to overtime.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, so on 


                                                                   146

 1           page -- and, Your Honor, it may be a typo 

 2           that you want to take up with the Executive, 

 3           because on page 74 I'm reading the personal 

 4           service request also includes $14,239 for 

 5           overtime, which supports current level of 

 6           operations.  Which I was surprised by that 

 7           small number to even be able to -- but, I 

 8           mean, understandably, if there's almost no 

 9           overtime allotted, that we would be less than 

10           50 percent of filings to dispositions.

11                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, I'm 

12           sorry, I'll have to take a look at that, and 

13           I will.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Okay.  And then 

15           if you could comment, with my remaining time, 

16           town and village courts were virtually closed 

17           for a year pursuant to directives from OCA, 

18           creating a substantial backlog.  And I know 

19           you've talked about this quite a bit already 

20           today.  Is the funding for town and village 

21           courts increased to address the huge backlog 

22           of cases in a timely manner consistent with 

23           the Executive's initiative goals of fairly 

24           and promptly adjudicating cases and 


                                                                   147

 1           eliminating delay and backlog in court 

 2           operations?

 3                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, we -- 

 4           this budget doesn't fund town and village 

 5           courts.  I mean, we have a unified court 

 6           system in New York, you know, state-financed 

 7           and state-managed.  But when the Constitution 

 8           was amended to provide for that, it did not 

 9           include the town and village courts.  They're 

10           funded and staffed by their local locality, 

11           their local town and village.  

12                  We do have a grant program, which has 

13           been in place for a number of years, that 

14           allows town and village courts to apply for 

15           enhancements like to purchase a magnetometer 

16           or to build a bench.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, Your 

18           Honor, how do you expect those local courts 

19           are going to be able to catch up on their 

20           backlogs?

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I think 

22           they -- and, by the way, they never closed.  

23           They operated virtually.  You know, we always 

24           emphasize that, that during the worst days of 


                                                                   148

 1           the pandemic, once we set them up with 

 2           technology -- and we help the town and 

 3           village courts with technology, even though 

 4           we don't fund them -- you know, the courts 

 5           conducted proceedings virtually.  

 6                  But I think the way to do it is -- and 

 7           virtual has great advantages, but it 

 8           sometimes can't be as efficient as in-person.  

 9           And I think the town and village courts, like 

10           a lot of the state-paid courts in New York, 

11           are going to just have to plow through -- 

12           calendar these cases and plow through them 

13           and resolve them as best that they can.  

14                  Is that going to happen overnight?  

15           No.  But, you know, improvement in the public 

16           health conditions will facilitate the 

17           resolution of many more cases once that 

18           happens.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Appreciate it, 

20           Your Honor.  Thanks, Madam Chair.

21                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

22           welcome.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24                  We go to Assemblyman Reilly.


                                                                   149

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, Madam 

 2           Chair.  

 3                  Thank you, Your Honor, for coming 

 4           today and talking to us.  

 5                  One question that I have up front is 

 6           there's a lot of misinformation going around 

 7           about the current case out of Nassau County 

 8           with the mask mandate, saying that it was 

 9           unconstitutional.  There's talk going on now 

10           that there's a stay on it.  

11                  Can you clarify for us today, is there 

12           an actual stay on that decision right now, 

13           where everything will remain in place, or is 

14           there not?

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Yeah, I 

16           haven't read the decision.  I saw a newspaper 

17           account about it.  But don't hold me to this, 

18           because I could be incorrect, but I believe 

19           when the state files a notice of appeal under 

20           Civil Practice Law, that there's an automatic 

21           stay of the trial court decision.

22                  So I don't know if that's happened 

23           yet, but what I read is that there will be an 

24           appeal, and if there's an appeal there will 


                                                                   150

 1           be a notice of appeal filed.  And you know, 

 2           that will resurrect an automatic stay of the 

 3           trial court's decision.  

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you for 

 5           that clarification, sir.  

 6                  So one thing I want to raise under 

 7           public protection is Raise the Age, and we 

 8           talked about -- many people have talked about 

 9           gun violence here.  And especially the things 

10           in New York City, we see the uptick in crime.  

11                  One of the parts of Raise the Age -- I 

12           have a bill I introduced where it's about 16- 

13           and 17-year-olds in possession, arrested for 

14           possessing a loaded firearm.  Currently they 

15           would go to Family Court unless they used it 

16           in the act of a crime.  I'm hoping that the 

17           legislation will allow them to stay in Youth 

18           Part Criminal.

19                  The reason why I say that is here are 

20           some numbers that we have from over the last 

21           two years:  2021, under 18, 940 -- combined 

22           2020 and 2021, 947 people under the age of 18 

23           were arrested for a firearm.  In 2020, there 

24           were 411, and in 2021 there were 536.  That's 


                                                                   151

 1           an alarming number, and it's on the rise.

 2                  And I think one part of clarifying 

 3           Raise the Age, where the DAs could say that 

 4           they have extenuating circumstances, just by 

 5           possessing a loaded firearm, under the Penal 

 6           Law, to stay in Youth Part, would help 

 7           address those concerns.  Do you have any 

 8           insight on that?

 9                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  I really 

10           don't.  I know there's been talk about 

11           revisiting the Raise the Age statute, which I 

12           think over the four-plus years, however long 

13           it's been of its existence, I think has 

14           worked well.  

15                  That's not to say that it's perfect, 

16           but I really have no opinion and haven't 

17           evaluated the change that you're suggesting.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  One of the 

19           concerns we have is that when you have 

20           someone like a 14- or a 15-year-old that has 

21           a firearm and it goes to Family Court, that 

22           case is sealed and can't be used.  

23                  While just a recent incident in the 

24           Bronx, that defendant actually had a case in 


                                                                   152

 1           Family Court Act and pled, and it was a 

 2           misdemeanor they pled it down to, but it 

 3           can't be used, and now the 16-year-old 

 4           incident.  So it's as if that never happened.  

 5           So they've used a gun twice, and 

 6           unfortunately only one could be used.  So I 

 7           think this is a step that could help us in 

 8           all directions.

 9                  Thank you.  

10                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Well, let 

11           me just say quickly that I think one of the 

12           primary purposes of the Raise the Age statute 

13           was not to saddle people of that age bracket 

14           with criminal records.  But is that always 

15           the right policy?  It may --

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  I agree -- I 

17           agree with that --

18                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  It may or 

19           may not be, but that was one of the 

20           underlying purposes of the legislation.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Well, when we 

22           have gang members that are using 16- and 

23           17-year-olds to skirt the law by having 

24           loaded firearms, knowing that they won't be 


                                                                   153

 1           held accountable, that's where we jeopardize 

 2           safety.  And I think that's something that we 

 3           have to consider, and that's a narrow point 

 4           of change that could be made.

 5                  Thank you, though.  I appreciate it, 

 6           and I'm sorry for cutting you off.

 7                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  No problem.  

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 9           Assemblyman.

10                  And our final questioner is 

11           Assemblyman Palmesano.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I'm sorry, I'm 

13           just going to jump in for one second.  

14           Apparently the stream for people on the 

15           outside watching and listening to us cut off 

16           for a few minutes.  But it was fixed, and 

17           everybody should be back on.  So if you get 

18           any individual complaints that your 

19           constituents suddenly weren't there, whatever 

20           the issue was, it was resolved.

21                  Thank you.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23                  So now to Assemblyman Palmesano.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yes, thank 


                                                                   154

 1           you, Your Honor, for being here and your 

 2           patience for this long day.  

 3                  My first question really is last year 

 4           the Legislature approved funding -- or 

 5           approved 14 new Supreme Court judgeships.  

 6           Does the Judiciary Budget account for funding 

 7           for the judges and their support staff?  And 

 8           also, along that same line, who pays for the 

 9           physical courtroom space for these 14 new 

10           judges that they will need for court 

11           operations?  Is this going to be a fiscal 

12           burden that's going to be placed on our 

13           localities and counties, or is this going to 

14           be in the Judiciary Budget?  

15                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  First of 

16           all, the funding for the new judgeships is 

17           absolutely included in this budget request, 

18           so the money will be there for the judges and 

19           their staff.

20                  And court facilities, as you may 

21           know -- it's a state court system, and the 

22           judges and employees are all state employees.  

23           But the facilities are -- at least for the 

24           trial courts, the facilities are owned and 


                                                                   155

 1           maintained by the localities, New York City 

 2           in the City of New York, and individual 

 3           counties outside New York City.

 4                  So we -- these judges were elected in 

 5           November, the new judges, and they came on 

 6           board in early January.  And if there was any 

 7           problem in securing space for them, I'm sure 

 8           I would have heard about this, and I haven't 

 9           heard any problems.  So I think the existing 

10           facilities are able to absorb the new 

11           judgeships.  Of course, they're spread out 

12           over a number of counties.  If 14 new judges 

13           showed up in one county, that would be a 

14           problem.  

15                  But I haven't heard of any facilities 

16           concerns, and as a result of that I'm 

17           assuming that they've been absorbed 

18           successfully in the courthouses where they're 

19           assigned.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Great.  Thank 

21           you, Your Honor.  I have one more question.  

22                  Last year the Legislature unanimously 

23           passed legislation, A6044, that basically 

24           required that any retired judge of the Court 


                                                                   156

 1           of Appeals shall be recertified by the OCA, 

 2           instead of may, as long as they have the 

 3           mental and physical capacity to perform 

 4           such duties.  

 5                  What is OCA's position on this 

 6           legislation, and have you had conversations 

 7           with the administration on whether they're 

 8           supporting the bill or chaptering it or 

 9           reading the legislation?  Because obviously 

10           that's an important piece of legislation that 

11           had unanimous support from the Legislature.

12                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  To be 

13           blunt, we think it's a terrible bill.  It 

14           would lead to really unfortunate consequences 

15           if that became law.  I could go into the 

16           reasons why with you, but we could talk about 

17           that offline.  And we've made our views known 

18           to the Governor's office why we think it's a 

19           really bad bill.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Fair enough.  

21           Thank you, Your Honor, for your time and 

22           patience.

23                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  You're 

24           welcome.  


                                                                   157

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  We 

 2           have one more Assemblymember, Assemblyman 

 3           Abinanti for a question to conclude.  He 

 4           seems to have raised his hand and now not, so 

 5           perhaps that was an error.  We'll assume that 

 6           was an error.  

 7                  So I just want to take a moment, Judge 

 8           Marks, to thank you for being here with us 

 9           and spending as much time as you did.  And I 

10           just really want to say thank you.  I don't 

11           have any questions for you; our colleagues 

12           have asked sufficient questions to cover any 

13           of my concerns.

14                  CHIEF ADMIN. JUDGE MARKS:  Thank you.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator 

16           Krueger?  

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, I also want 

18           to thank you for your time with us today.  

19                  I think it's clear, Judge Marks, that 

20           we appreciate how much the court system has 

21           been going through during this complex period 

22           of COVID and keeping distance and keeping 

23           people healthy and safe while ensuring our 

24           judicial system goes forward.  But I also 


                                                                   158

 1           think it's we have lots of questions and 

 2           concerns moving forward.  And we look forward 

 3           to working with you and the court system to 

 4           make our New York court system even better in 

 5           addressing the needs of our communities.

 6                  So I know we took up quite a bit of 

 7           your time today.  And for people following 

 8           along, we have a very extensive list of 

 9           testifiers, so stay comfortable in your 

10           chairs.  We're going to be around for a 

11           while.

12                  We'll allow Judge Marks to leave, and 

13           we will welcome Robert -- I never pronounce 

14           your name right, but I'm going to try it -- 

15           Tembeckjian, who is the administrator and 

16           counsel for the New York State Commission on 

17           Judicial Conduct.

18                  Hi, Robert, how are you?

19                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Fine, 

20           thank you, Senator.  And how are you?  And I 

21           appreciate the opportunity to see you and all 

22           of your colleagues.  

23                  I'm in an unaccustomed position this 

24           year because for the first time in a decade, 


                                                                   159

 1           the Executive Budget and the Judicial Conduct 

 2           Commission are in agreement on what our 

 3           funding levels should be.  And I believe that 

 4           this is primarily due to two factors.  One is 

 5           that we have a Governor with a senior staff 

 6           that appreciate the commission's 

 7           constitutional independence, recognize that 

 8           although our budget comes to the Legislature 

 9           through the Executive, that we are not a 

10           gubernatorial agency and that these 

11           recommendations ought to be the result of 

12           conversation as opposed to dictation.

13                  And secondly, because I think the 

14           effect of several years of assistance that 

15           the Legislature has provided to the 

16           commission, by supplementing what previous 

17           Executive Budgets have recommended for us, 

18           has made a statement and is having an impact.

19                  So apart from this Governor having an 

20           appreciation for the unique constitutional 

21           role that the commission plays, I think that 

22           she and her senior staff appreciate that the 

23           Legislature has had that appreciation for 

24           quite some time.


                                                                   160

 1                  As you know, the commission is the 

 2           state agency that enforces the rules of 

 3           ethics on the judiciary.  There are 3500 

 4           judges in the State Unified Court System over 

 5           whom we have jurisdiction.  Despite the 

 6           disruptions over the last two years as a 

 7           result of the pandemic, we have managed to 

 8           meet our responsibilities with innovative 

 9           technological improvements and advances, so 

10           that we processed last year over 1900 

11           complaints and over 3400 over the last two 

12           years.  We engaged or conducted over 630 

13           preliminary reviews and inquiries, we have 

14           initiated over 240 full-fledged 

15           investigations, and have removed or 

16           effectuated the permanent resignation of 

17           24 judges, publicly reprimanded 17, and 

18           confidentially cautioned 53.

19                  So despite the challenges posed by the 

20           pandemic, we have been effectively meeting 

21           our responsibilities.

22                  The one thing that I would ask the 

23           Legislature to consider -- and it's not 

24           strictly a money-related bill, although it 


                                                                   161

 1           affects the manner in which the commission 

 2           makes its financial presentation to the 

 3           Legislature.  I have asked the Governor's 

 4           office to consider, in one of the 30-day 

 5           amendments, a single-sentence addition to our 

 6           governing statute in the Judiciary Law which 

 7           would emulate the way the Executive presents 

 8           the Judicial Budget to the Legislature.  

 9           We're asking for authorization to submit our 

10           budget to the Legislature through the 

11           Executive, but without amendment and with 

12           comment.  

13                  Because we don't report to the 

14           Governor, because we are not an executive 

15           agency, we would like to enshrine in law the 

16           relationship that we have with the current 

17           Governor and her staff, because history has 

18           taught us all too clearly and painfully that 

19           a different governor, a different budget 

20           director, different senior staff have a view 

21           of the commission that is less appreciative 

22           of our independence of the executive branch.  

23                  We are in the Judiciary Article of the 

24           Constitution.  We perform an exclusively 


                                                                   162

 1           judicial branch function, which is to 

 2           discipline judges of the State Unified Court 

 3           System.  And while you and the various 

 4           committees of both houses -- Assembly 

 5           Judiciary, Senate Judiciary, Finance on both 

 6           sides -- have long appreciated that the 

 7           Executive should not control, via the 

 8           funding, the discipline of judicial branch 

 9           officers, a simple amendment in the law would 

10           codify that and resolve, you know, any 

11           dispute or issue that we might have with 

12           future governors as we certainly have had 

13           with past governors on this issue.

14                  So if it is in the 30-day amendment, I 

15           hope it would be adopted.  If it's not, I've 

16           spoken to Senator Hoylman's staff just this 

17           week about standalone legislation for this 

18           proposition which I think would resolve the 

19           conflicts that have so often in the past been 

20           the subject of my testimonial appearances 

21           before you.

22                  So seeing the smile on my face instead 

23           of the hat in my hand this year, I'm happy to 

24           answer whatever questions you might have, 


                                                                   163

 1           Senator Hoylman, Chairman Lavine on the 

 2           Assembly side, and any of your other 

 3           colleagues.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  Thank you 

 5           very much.

 6                  I also want to thank you for coming 

 7           and testifying at the Senate's recent Ethics 

 8           hearing on visiting JCOPE and that it could 

 9           be built back better, so to speak, and you 

10           were very helpful and enlightening to us as 

11           well.

12                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Well, 

13           thank you, I appreciate that.  And I never 

14           fail to note that the legislation you've 

15           proposed to fashion an alternative to JCOPE 

16           is in large part modeled on the Judicial 

17           Conduct Commission, which has demonstrated 

18           success as an ethics enforcement entity.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Correct.  Thank 

20           you.

21                  I'm going to turn it over to the 

22           Judiciary chair for the Senate, Brad Hoylman.

23                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, Chair 

24           Krueger.  


                                                                   164

 1                  And good to see you.  We're so glad 

 2           that you're happy, because that's been an 

 3           effort in both of our houses.  And I just 

 4           want to acknowledge Senator Krueger, our 

 5           Finance chair in my house, for her leadership 

 6           on this issue over the years to make certain 

 7           that you are well-funded and that our judges 

 8           are reviewed properly, as you do.  And so we 

 9           appreciate all of your work.  

10                  And I'll be reaching out to 

11           Chairman Lavine on the legislation that you 

12           discussed to see if we might pursue that 

13           option.

14                  But I wanted to ask you a couple of 

15           questions.  Specifically, we've heard 

16           conversations around bail reform today and 

17           the issue of how judges have implemented it.  

18           In the CJC annual report from last year, the 

19           report says that the commission doesn't take 

20           a position on the efficacy of the law or 

21           proposals to amend it -- this is under a 

22           section entitled "Judicial Responses to the 

23           New Bail Law" --

24                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Right.


                                                                   165

 1                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  -- but that the 

 2           commission "takes the opportunity to remind 

 3           judges that whatever their individual views 

 4           of the law may be, they are obliged under the 

 5           rules governing judicial conduct to respect 

 6           and comply with the law, to be faithful to 

 7           the law, and to maintain professional 

 8           competence in the law.  

 9                  "In a particular case, a judge who in 

10           good faith interprets the law need not fear 

11           disciplinary consequences for what may turn 

12           out to be a legal error that is reversed on 

13           appeal.  However, a judge who purposefully 

14           fails to abide by the law, e.g., to make a 

15           political point or because s/he personally 

16           disagrees with the law, invites discipline."

17                  I wanted to ask you, on that specific 

18           point, inviting discipline, have any judges 

19           been subject to discipline on this basis 

20           since the implementation of bail reform?  

21                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  We have 

22           not publicly disciplined any judge yet for 

23           violating or failing purposefully to avoid 

24           the bail law.  


                                                                   166

 1                  You're absolutely right, in the 

 2           section that you read, that judges are 

 3           obliged to respect and comply with the law, 

 4           to be professionally competent in the law, to 

 5           be faithful in the law.  There have been -- 

 6           and I heard your exchange with Judge Marks on 

 7           this subject earlier today -- there have been 

 8           some newspaper reports, not all of them 

 9           accurate, about highlighting some situations 

10           in which it appeared as if a judge or two 

11           were purposefully avoiding the bail law.  

12                  To date, we have not found that to be 

13           the case.  We get several complaints every 

14           few months related to the bail law issue.  We 

15           examine them carefully.  If we find that 

16           there is any judge who is purposefully not 

17           enforcing the law -- and that's true of the 

18           bail law, it's true of any statute -- that 

19           judge would be subject to discipline for it. 

20                  We have in the past, even before the 

21           bail law reforms, publicly disciplined, 

22           including removed from office, judges who 

23           were abusing bail and otherwise not abiding 

24           by statutory guidance.  So we're not afraid 


                                                                   167

 1           to take it on.  We have disciplined judges in 

 2           the past for violations of the bail statutes.  

 3           And if we find that anyone is currently 

 4           purposefully avoiding, as opposed to making a 

 5           good-faith error that would be reviewable on 

 6           appeal, we have reviewed those complaints and 

 7           we would take action.

 8                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  So you say that you 

 9           have in the past disciplined judges on the 

10           issue of bail laws, but not since the bail 

11           reform laws were passed.

12                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Correct.  

13           Publicly, correct.  Absolutely right.

14                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  And are there any 

15           open investigations or inquiries?  

16                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  We do.  

17           There are a couple of matters that we are 

18           currently reviewing.  But obviously, as you 

19           know, because of our confidentiality statute, 

20           I can't say more about that.  

21                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Yes.  Speaking of 

22           which -- so I appreciate that response.  

23                  We've previously discussed ways to 

24           increase transparency in judicial conduct 


                                                                   168

 1           proceedings, including making proceedings 

 2           public once there is a formal charge.  Could 

 3           you discuss how that might work and why it 

 4           would be important to foster public trust in 

 5           the judiciary?

 6                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  New York 

 7           is in the minority of states which keep 

 8           confidential all judicial disciplinary 

 9           proceedings until the very end and then make 

10           them public only if there is a public 

11           discipline imposed.

12                  And I think that the significance or 

13           the importance of transparency is twofold:  

14           One, for the public to have confidence that 

15           the disciplinary system is working as it 

16           should.  So in the same way that a grand jury 

17           investigation of an alleged crime would be 

18           confidential, once there is an indictment 

19           returned, even if the individual goes on to 

20           be acquitted at trial, the matter becomes 

21           public.  That is enshrined in the U.S. 

22           Constitution and in our law since 

23           post-colonial constitutional government was 

24           founded.  


                                                                   169

 1                  Secondly, as the commission itself has 

 2           said in previous annual reports, it's a way 

 3           to keep the disciplinary body honest and for 

 4           the public to appreciate or understand that 

 5           the body is dealing with important, serious 

 6           matters in a way that the public can see, the 

 7           process can be seen, so that the public can 

 8           have faith that the commission is not, for 

 9           example, to use an old vernacular, 

10           deep-sixing the case unjustifiably.  

11                  And I think that would be true of any 

12           ethics enforcement entity.  Investigations 

13           should always be confidential.  There is too 

14           much at stake for any allegations without 

15           some sort of filtering process to become 

16           public.  But once an official body has 

17           determined that cause exists to discipline a 

18           judge -- or any other public official -- it's 

19           my view that that should be public both to 

20           keep the enforcers honest and to undermine -- 

21           and to underscore the public's faith that the 

22           process is working and that public officials 

23           will be held accountable for wrongdoing.

24                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.


                                                                   170

 1                  We've seen in recent years how judges 

 2           can avoid discipline by resigning.  Do you 

 3           think we should amend the commission's 

 4           jurisdiction to provide continuing oversight 

 5           jurisdiction after resignation?  

 6                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  I do.  And 

 7           the commission has written about this as 

 8           well.

 9                  Currently, under law, Section 47 of 

10           the Judiciary Law limits the commission to 

11           120 days after a judge resigns and then only 

12           if the discipline is going to be removal from 

13           office, because under the Constitution a 

14           judge who's removed is ineligible ever to 

15           return to the bench.

16                  But there is a lot of behavior that is 

17           less than removable -- censurable or 

18           admonishable -- that a judge should not be 

19           able to avoid the consequences of by leaving 

20           office before the inquiry is done.  And I 

21           think a fair amendment of that statute would 

22           give the commission -- keep the 120 days, but 

23           give the commission 120 days to conclude its 

24           investigation.  And it if determines that 


                                                                   171

 1           formal charges are required, then let the 

 2           process play itself out.  

 3                  And if a judge did something in the 

 4           last six months of office that should be 

 5           censured, so be it.  That is certainly true 

 6           of other public officers.  The law was 

 7           amended some years ago so that other public 

 8           officials can be disciplined after resigning; 

 9           resignation doesn't give you a free pass from 

10           accountability.  And the same should be true 

11           of the judicial branch.

12                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  You know, we're 

13           hearing of unvaccinated judges, you heard 

14           that mentioned today.  Last week there was 

15           news of a City Court judge who was not only 

16           unvaccinated but continuing to come into the 

17           office, and refused to wear a mask despite 

18           court rules requiring him to work from home.

19                  Are there any complaints to the 

20           Commission on Judicial Conduct on this 

21           subject?  And what are the potential 

22           consequences for a judge that, you know, puts 

23           their colleagues and staff and litigants at 

24           risk?


                                                                   172

 1                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Well, 

 2           judges are obliged by the Ethics Code to obey 

 3           not only the law but court rules.  And the 

 4           court system has promulgated rules on 

 5           vaccination and on masking -- in fact, the 

 6           state has obviously the masking requirement 

 7           that is the subject of some litigation.  

 8                  Failure to abide by rules subjects a 

 9           judge to public discipline.  So as Judge 

10           Marks was unable to discuss specific cases, 

11           suffice it to say that a serious as opposed 

12           to an inadvertent violation of an important 

13           public health rule of the court system, such 

14           as vaccination or masking, would subject a 

15           judge to review by the Commission on Judicial 

16           Conduct.  And in fact the Office of Court 

17           Administration has publicly said that it 

18           would refer judges who don't abide by those 

19           rules to the commission.

20                  Now, I can't get into the individual 

21           details, but this is something that in my 

22           experience suggests that Judge Marks and OCA 

23           are taking seriously, and I know the 

24           commission is taking seriously.


                                                                   173

 1                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, 

 2           Mr. Tembeckjian.  Thank you, Madam Chair.  

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

 4           Mr. Chair.

 5                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We go to the 

 7           chair of our Judiciary Committee, 

 8           Charles Lavine.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Thanks, Chair 

10           Weinstein.  

11                  So Mr. Tembeckjian, it's always good 

12           to see you.  As someone who --

13                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  And you, 

14           you've had a busier year than I have with the 

15           ethics matters, haven't you?

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Which may be 

17           good.  Which may be good for you.

18                  But as former chair of the Legislative 

19           Ethics Commission and chair of the Assembly 

20           Ethics Committee and presently chair of the 

21           Judiciary Committee who had responsibility 

22           for the investigation of the former governor 

23           and the report, I want you to know something 

24           that I know you know, which is that I have 


                                                                   174

 1           great respect for what the Judicial Conduct 

 2           Commission does and what you do for the 

 3           Judicial Conduct Commission and for all the 

 4           people of the State of New York.

 5                  Number two -- but I only have three, 

 6           but this is the second one.  Number two, I 

 7           share with you a sense of joy at the fact 

 8           that the commission's budget is being 

 9           substantially increased this year.  And that 

10           is a good thing for everyone in New York.  

11                  But what I want to ask you is this.  

12           In the age of the pandemic, which is 

13           affecting each and every one of us, even the 

14           people who seem to think there is no 

15           pandemic -- but which is affecting each and 

16           every one of us, and we're now about two 

17           years into it, just about -- but have the 

18           number of cases that have come before the 

19           commission increased?  And if so -- compared 

20           to the prior years.  And if so, can you 

21           associate any of the conduct with stresses of 

22           the pandemic?

23                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  The raw 

24           number of cases is more or less static.  I 


                                                                   175

 1           think in five of the last six years we have 

 2           averaged over 1900 complaints a year.  Last 

 3           year was the -- two years ago, 2020, was the 

 4           only year where we dipped under 1900, and 

 5           that was -- we still had over 1500.  And that 

 6           was I think significantly attributable to the 

 7           early effects of the pandemic and the fact 

 8           that the court system was in, let's say, 

 9           hiatus for several months.

10                  But otherwise we're back up to norms 

11           this past year.  We had over 1900 in 2021, 

12           and that's pretty much usual.  

13                  We're not seeing any different 

14           distribution in the subject matter of these 

15           complaints than usual.  The range has more or 

16           less been steady.  I can't really say that 

17           we've seen that the stresses of the pandemic 

18           have been responsible either for changes in 

19           judicial behavior or among those who are 

20           making complaints.  And it's understandable, 

21           because there's a lot of stress involved even 

22           without the pandemic in -- for all the 

23           participants in judicial proceedings, from 

24           judges and court staff down to the litigants.  


                                                                   176

 1           And in certain places, such as Family Court, 

 2           where the stakes are more volatile, there is 

 3           a natural built-in stress to the process.

 4                  But the pandemic per se, I can't 

 5           say -- from what we've seen so far, I can't 

 6           say that the pandemic has been responsible 

 7           for any greater proportion of our complaints 

 8           than the ordinary stresses of litigation.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Thank you very 

10           much.  I have no further questions.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

12                  Senate, do you have -- 

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

14           think we have Senator Palumbo.

15                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Thank you, 

16           Madam Chair.  I was up and down with my hand.  

17           I was contemplating.  But it's always nice to 

18           talk to Robert here.  Good to see you again.  

19           How are you?

20                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Likewise, 

21           thank you.

22                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  So my question 

23           was -- it's more of a hypothetical.  So I was 

24           thinking, as you were speaking earlier about 


                                                                   177

 1           disciplinary rules and your disciplinary 

 2           concerns with some judges, I'm sure -- or how 

 3           do you reconcile situations where a judge is 

 4           particularly reluctant to go along with the 

 5           positions of a district attorney?  Obviously 

 6           they have discretion.  We see what's going on 

 7           in Manhattan now with some proclamations as 

 8           to how they're going to proceed.  

 9                  I'm almost thinking in the other 

10           direction.  When a DA is too heavy-handed 

11           according to a judge's liking, have you had 

12           any situations where there were ethics 

13           concerns?  And I'm thinking -- that's what 

14           made me think of kind of an odd question, but 

15           either the judge was trying to do what they 

16           could outside of the parameters of, say, 

17           someone's a prior felony offender, and it's 

18           an indicted felony.  They can only give them 

19           a felony.  They cannot reduce it to a 

20           misdemeanor in that example.  But judges were 

21           doing what they could to possibly get around 

22           the Criminal Procedure Law or the Penal Law.

23                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  We have 

24           not seen instances where -- not typically, 


                                                                   178

 1           anyway.  There has been an odd case here or 

 2           there over the years in which judges seem to 

 3           be working hand in hand with law enforcement 

 4           as opposed to being independent arbiters of 

 5           the cases.  

 6                  One of the matters that I alluded to 

 7           earlier, which was some years ago, involved a 

 8           city court judge who was setting punitive 

 9           bail, literally -- and shocking to hear -- 

10           $25,000 for bicycle equipment violations.  

11           Which is not even a violation of law.  Riding 

12           your bike on the sidewalk without a warning 

13           device, meaning a bell, is not punishable as 

14           a crime.

15                  But there were several defendants 

16           brought into court on such charges.  They 

17           were all indigent.  And the judge set $25,000 

18           bail.  They were remanded.  And a week later, 

19           a week later after being in custody, they 

20           were given the option of pleading guilty and 

21           being sentenced to time served.  And by the 

22           way, a week in jail is not an authorized 

23           penalty for riding your bike without a bell.  

24                  That judge was removed from office.  


                                                                   179

 1           There is that rare case where it does happen.

 2                  More often than not, what we see are 

 3           judges who -- through social media or other 

 4           public forums, allying themselves with law 

 5           enforcement by liking tweets that promote 

 6           police causes or the prosecution of certain 

 7           cases, failing to appreciate that remaining 

 8           neutral is an obligation, and appearing to 

 9           remain neutral is an obligation regardless of 

10           the medium.  

11                  So if you can't say it personally, you 

12           shouldn't say it on social media.  The 

13           disciplinary result is going to be the same.  

14           And we have had disciplines, including 

15           censure and some resignations of judges who 

16           have publicly aligned themselves with one 

17           side of the criminal justice system as 

18           opposed to honoring their obligation to 

19           remain neutral.

20                  That's usually where we see the 

21           crossing of the line.

22                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Thank you.  And I'd 

23           expect you could also see in the other 

24           direction as well --


                                                                   180

 1                  (Inaudible overtalk.)

 2                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  On 

 3           occasion we do.  Yes, we do.  We absolutely 

 4           do.

 5                  SENATOR PALUMBO:  Great.  Well, thank 

 6           you again.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8                  Assemblywoman Cook and Assemblywoman 

 9           Byrnes have joined the meeting -- the 

10           hearing, and we go to Assemblywoman Walker.

11                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Thank you, 

12           Robert, for your insightful testimony.

13                  So Judge Marks indicated that there 

14           was a finding that there was bias and 

15           discrimination that was found throughout the 

16           court systems of New York.  Is there any 

17           indication as to a timeline for the number of 

18           bias and/or discrimination complaints that 

19           you've received?  And how has your office 

20           worked with the Office of Court 

21           Administration to address those biases?

22                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Typically, 

23           if the OCA inspector general finds evidence 

24           in some court system inquiry of bias by a 


                                                                   181

 1           judge, they refer that to the commission.  We 

 2           also get complaints of bias from third 

 3           parties.  And we also, on occasion, come 

 4           across it on our own in the course of 

 5           investigating other misconduct.

 6                  We have an annual report that 

 7           indicates in chart form at the back of the 

 8           book a breakdown of the subject matter of 

 9           complaints, so that we can actually trace the 

10           number of bias complaints, the number of 

11           demeanor complaints and so forth that come in 

12           in any given year, and report on the action 

13           that's taken.

14                  It's been relatively constant in the 

15           last few years.  But we have, in the last 

16           several years, either removed or negotiated 

17           the resignation of judges who have publicly 

18           made biased statements against the LGBTQ  

19           community, against the Black community, 

20           against women.  We've had several public 

21           decisions where judges were either removed or 

22           forced to resign.  For example, we had one 

23           case involving a judge in deep upstate 

24           New York, near the Canadian border --


                                                                   182

 1                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Can you speak a 

 2           little bit more about the judge -- the 

 3           Surrogate's Court judge in Brooklyn?  Because 

 4           I think that's also a huge concern.  

 5                  Because once a judge is censured or 

 6           removed, what happens to that person's court 

 7           case?  Is that person allowed to just sort 

 8           sit in limbo for the remainder of their term?  

 9           Like what -- what happens in those 

10           situations?

11                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Well, I 

12           don't want to speak specifically about the 

13           Brooklyn surrogate.  

14                  But in general, whether it's 

15           Surrogate's Court, criminal court or anywhere 

16           else, if a judge's caseload has been removed 

17           because there is serious pending allegations 

18           of misconduct, typically what the chief 

19           administrative judge will do, either directly 

20           or through one of his deputies, is to order 

21           an acting judge to take the place of the one 

22           whose caseload has been removed.  So that 

23           those cases will not languish, there will be 

24           some other judge who comes in with authority 


                                                                   183

 1           to do this.  

 2                  In the same way that in a perfectly 

 3           innocent situation it might be the case -- 

 4           if, for example, a judge takes ill or if a 

 5           judge must step aside from a case because a 

 6           family member is involved, the Office of 

 7           Court Administration has the authority -- the 

 8           chief administrative judge has the authority 

 9           to make a corrective assignment.  So that 

10           those cases should now be addressed.  

11                  If the situation were or the complaint 

12           were that the judge was not doing the job, 

13           and so the cases were taken away from that 

14           judge, they would be given to someone else 

15           who can take the job.  And there have been 

16           public reports in Brooklyn of that having 

17           happened.

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Well, I was 

19           asking what happens to the judge.  Does she 

20           just -- well, do they just sit and languish 

21           on the state payroll?  Like what happens with 

22           that particular person?

23                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  Two things 

24           would occur.  One is the commission would 


                                                                   184

 1           investigate.  Because clearly the failure to 

 2           perform the duties of the office is spelled 

 3           out in the Constitution as a basis for a 

 4           judge to be disciplined.  And secondly -- but 

 5           this is less often the case, because the 

 6           Constitution narrowly limits the authority to 

 7           suspend a judge.  

 8                  The Judicial Conduct Commission has no 

 9           authority to suspend a judge.  Only the Court 

10           of Appeals can suspend a judge, but only in 

11           very, very limited circumstances.  So if a 

12           caseload is taken away from a judge for 

13           failure to do the job, the commission would 

14           investigate and potentially discipline, 

15           including the option of removing the judge 

16           from office.  

17                  But until then, there's no means in 

18           New York to stop the salary of that judge or 

19           to remove that judge from office.  We have to 

20           go through the disciplinary process.  And as 

21           Senator Hoylman's question pointed out, that 

22           process by law is confidential until there is 

23           a result.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  


                                                                   185

 1                  We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

 2           Joyner.  

 3                  I'm going to send it back to the 

 4           Senate.  I believe there are no further 

 5           questions on our side.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 7           much, Chair Weinstein.

 8                  I just have one final question for 

 9           you, Robert.  I'm always shocked when I learn 

10           that there are judges in New York State who 

11           never went to law school.  Do you think we 

12           need to change this law?

13                  ADMINISTRATOR TEMBECKJIAN:  To be 

14           clear, the town and village courts -- which 

15           are not courts of record under the 

16           Constitution -- may be populated by 

17           individuals who are not law trained or are 

18           not admitted to the bar.  Of the 

19           approximately 2100 or so town and village 

20           court justices in New York, about 1400 are 

21           not attorneys.  And over the years, I think a 

22           statistical analysis of the commission's 

23           public disciplines would reveal that a 

24           significant majority of our public 


                                                                   186

 1           disciplines involve judges who are not 

 2           attorneys.

 3                  The commission has itself purposefully 

 4           never taken a position on this subject 

 5           because we don't want to be perceived -- or 

 6           we don't want our disciplines to be perceived 

 7           as having been motivated by a bias or a 

 8           predisposition that we shouldn't have 

 9           non-lawyer judges in New York.  

10                  I have a personal view on that subject 

11           which I would be happy to share with you 

12           privately.  But institutionally, we've never 

13           taken that position publicly for want of 

14           undermining confidence in the disciplines 

15           that we do impose.  

16                  And by the way, as our public record I 

17           think would plainly illustrate, there is 

18           almost no behavior for which we have 

19           disciplined a non-lawyer judge for which we 

20           haven't also disciplined lawyer judges.  

21           Lawyer-trained judges as well as 

22           non-lawyer-trained judges can engage in 

23           misconduct.  And when they do, we discipline 

24           them without regard to whether or not they 


                                                                   187

 1           hold a law degree.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 3                  I mean, I'm not a lawyer.  I don't 

 4           even think I should get involved in endorsing 

 5           judges because I didn't go to law school and 

 6           don't have an ability to judge whether 

 7           someone's qualified to be a judge or not.  It 

 8           is always amazing to me that we allow people 

 9           who never even had to study the law to be the 

10           judges in our courtrooms.  So I know where I 

11           stand on this.  So I appreciate your -- if 

12           not showing what your opinion is, your 

13           research result is from your work on the 

14           commission that clearly, statistically, we 

15           end up with far greater problems brought to 

16           your attention by people who sit on -- sit as 

17           judges who were not trained in the law.

18                  So thank you very much.  And thank you 

19           for your testimony here today and your 

20           continuing good work on behalf of the people 

21           of New York.  Because if we can't have faith 

22           in our courts, I don't know where else we can 

23           go.  So we need to have faith in our courts, 

24           that and we need to police them correctly.


                                                                   188

 1                  So thank you for your testimony and 

 2           your hard work, and we're going to excuse 

 3           you.  

 4                  And we're going to invite I think 

 5           perhaps as of today our newest officially 

 6           confirmed nominee to a commissionership, 

 7           Jackie Bray, as the new head of the New York 

 8           State Division of Homeland Security and 

 9           Emergency Services.

10                  Hi, Jackie.

11                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Hi, good 

12           afternoon.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So I've been in 

14           this hearing; I don't even know if we got to 

15           the confirmation yet or not.

16                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Not yet.  

17           Not yet.  I'm acting commissioner as of this 

18           hour still.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  Well, the 

20           rumor is that will be completed as an 

21           assignment later in the day.

22                  Welcome to the budget hearing, your 

23           first budget hearing.  And please -- you have 

24           10 minutes to give us your testimony.


                                                                   189

 1                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

 2                  Well, I want to thank Chair Krueger 

 3           and Chair Weinstein and the distinguished 

 4           members of the joint committee.  My name is 

 5           Jackie Bray.  I am the acting commissioner of 

 6           the Division of Homeland Security and 

 7           Emergency Services.  It's my honor to share 

 8           with you the accomplishments of our agency 

 9           and provide an overview of the Executive 

10           Budget as it relates to our mission.

11                  Division staff continue to work 

12           tirelessly on COVID-19 response and recovery 

13           efforts while performing their daily 

14           emergency management duties, including 

15           responding to extreme weather, natural 

16           disasters, and providing training to first 

17           responders.  

18                  The Executive Budget provides 

19           necessary resources for the division to carry 

20           out our mission of enhancing public safety 

21           and to continue pandemic response.  The total 

22           agency appropriation in the Executive Budget 

23           is $4.9 billion, which includes $32.5 million 

24           in new appropriations.  The Executive Budget 


                                                                   190

 1           puts forth additional funding to build a new 

 2           Emergency Operations Center, expand the 

 3           division's cybersecurity capabilities, and 

 4           further improve our State Preparedness 

 5           Training Center.  

 6                  The Executive Budget continues last 

 7           year's appropriation authority of 

 8           $4.15 billion, which will allow DHSES to 

 9           administer federal funding in New York State.  

10           This funding supports COVID-19 response and 

11           recovery efforts, including testing and 

12           vaccination operations as well as other costs 

13           associated with reopening public services 

14           during the pandemic.  

15                  The division works directly with FEMA 

16           and State, local and nonprofit applicants to 

17           maximize federal funding to recover from 

18           natural disasters and other emergencies, 

19           including COVID-19.  This past year there 

20           were two federal Major Disaster Declarations 

21           in New York:  Tropical Storm Fred in August,  

22           and Hurricane Ida in September.  This 

23           appropriation will also help deliver funding 

24           to New York to rebuild and recover from the 


                                                                   191

 1           impacts of these two storms.  

 2                  Following the devastation of Hurricane 

 3           Ida, division staff worked with our federal 

 4           and local partners to quickly assess damages, 

 5           which ultimately led to the approval of 

 6           FEMA's Public Assistance Program for 

 7           13 counties.  This partnership also resulted 

 8           in FEMA authorizing Individual Assistance 

 9           programs in New York State for the first time 

10           since Superstorm Sandy.  Through the 

11           Individual Assistance Program, over 

12           $195 million was directly provided to more 

13           than 88,600 New Yorkers to help them recover 

14           and rebuild.  

15                  The division also worked to secure 

16           federal public assistance for nine counties 

17           impacted by Tropical Storm Fred.  While our 

18           request for Individual Assistance was denied, 

19           we continue to fight for Steuben County and 

20           have obtained a Small Business Administration 

21           Disaster Declaration that will provide 

22           low-interest loans to homeowners and 

23           businesses in Steuben.  

24                  Throughout the pandemic, the division 


                                                                   192

 1           has managed and coordinated efforts to 

 2           address the many challenges presented by the 

 3           ongoing public health crisis, including 

 4           testing and vaccination operations, PPE 

 5           storage and distribution, and responding to 

 6           local requests for assistance.  These are all 

 7           coordinated through the State Emergency 

 8           Operations Center, which has been 

 9           continuously operational since March of 2020.  

10                  Designed and built during the 

11           Cold War, this underground fallout shelter is 

12           outdated.  It has real space and technology 

13           limitations.  Governor Hochul's budget puts 

14           forth $25 million in capital funding for the 

15           development of a modernized Emergency 

16           Operations Center, which will absolutely 

17           enhance the state's preparedness and response 

18           capabilities.  

19                  Governor Hochul's proposed budget also 

20           seeks to expand the Division's Cyber Incident 

21           Response Team.  Since 2018, the CIRT has 

22           assisted local governments, school districts, 

23           and non-Executive agencies through 

24           assessments as well as direct incident 


                                                                   193

 1           response support.  In 2021, the CIRT 

 2           responded to all requests for assistance, 

 3           helping more than 50 local entities. Governor 

 4           Hochul's commitment to cybersecurity in the 

 5           budget will allow the CIRT to expand 

 6           preventative assessments, response 

 7           capabilities, and training.  

 8                  The Executive Budget also allocates 

 9           $3 million for additional classroom space, 

10           training space, a new auditorium and 

11           technological upgrades at the SPTC in 

12           Oriskany.  Because of the Legislature's 

13           approval and support of prior capital funding 

14           over the last decade, the SPTC has added our 

15           CityScape and our Swift-Water Training 

16           Facilities, some of the most state-of-the-art 

17           facilities across the country.  This next 

18           round of upgrades will continue to keep the 

19           SPTC as a national leader in emergency 

20           response training for our state, local and 

21           national partners.  

22                  It's impossible to address all the 

23           fantastic work of the division during this 

24           testimony, but I appreciate the opportunity 


                                                                   194

 1           to appear before the Senate and the Assembly 

 2           today.  I look forward to our continued 

 3           partnership with the Legislature, and I'll 

 4           gladly take any questions you have at this 

 5           time.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 7           much.

 8                  I'm just looking to see who's raised 

 9           their hand, and I don't see any -- oh, good, 

10           a Senator raised their hand.  Thank you, Pat 

11           Ritchie, because I wanted to be able to call 

12           on a Senator first.

13                  Senator Patricia Ritchie.

14                  SENATOR RITCHIE:  Thank you, 

15           Chairwoman.

16                  I just have a question about something 

17           that happened at the New York State Academy 

18           of Fire Science.  We unfortunately had a 

19           young firefighter who was killed there, and 

20           your predecessor had assured us that your 

21           agency would be commissioning an independent 

22           investigation into the incident.

23                  I'm just wondering, are you planning 

24           to do that?  Do you have financial resources 


                                                                   195

 1           to do that?  Or do you have an update, by any 

 2           chance, on this issue?

 3                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Absolutely.  

 4           Thank you, Senator.

 5                  In March of 2021 there was a tragedy 

 6           that occurred at the State Fire Academy, and 

 7           there was a death of a firefighter recruit 

 8           during our recruit training program.  There 

 9           are currently three independent 

10           investigations, one of which has concluded, 

11           the PESH investigation.  There are two 

12           additional independent investigations 

13           ongoing, one by the State Police and one by 

14           the CDC NIOSH.  

15                  I was briefed on this incident, on 

16           this event on my first day on the job.  I 

17           directed my team to continue to fully 

18           cooperate with all of the independent 

19           investigations.  And as soon as we have the 

20           results of those independent investigations, 

21           I'll be taking appropriate action.

22                  SENATOR RITCHIE:  Okay, I very much 

23           appreciate this.  You know, it's been very 

24           difficult for the family and as time goes on, 


                                                                   196

 1           it's, you know, made it even more difficult 

 2           to move on.  So I appreciate that, and I'm 

 3           glad that you were briefed and you're going 

 4           to move ahead, and I'm sure the family will 

 5           be glad to hear that also.  Thank you.

 6                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

 7                  And I should say my sympathies are 

 8           absolutely with the Morse family and the 

 9           community.  And, you know, I -- it's an 

10           unimaginable loss, and my thoughts are with 

11           them.

12                  SENATOR RITCHIE:  Thank you very much.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

14                  And because Assemblywoman Weinstein 

15           had to step away for a few minutes, I'm going 

16           to call on Ranker Ed Ra for a question, or 

17           questions.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great, thank you.  

19                  Just really one particular question.  

20           You know, as I'm sure you're aware, you know, 

21           with some of the recent incidents we've seen, 

22           there's a recent federal Department of 

23           Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of 

24           Investigation announcement that faith-based 


                                                                   197

 1           communities have been and will likely be 

 2           targets of violence.  And I know there's hate 

 3           crime grant funding within the DCJS budget, 

 4           but I was wondering if within the Department 

 5           of Homeland Security if there are any 

 6           particular programs or funding in place to 

 7           try to prevent these types of incidents and 

 8           protect, you know, houses of worship and 

 9           other faith-based facilities that could be 

10           targeted.

11                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Mm-hmm.  So 

12           you're absolutely right, the state hate 

13           crimes program moved to DCJS last year, and 

14           it remains in DCJS.  That was in an effort to 

15           expand the flexibility that our local 

16           partners needed from that program.

17                  At DHSES we continue to administer the 

18           federal grants for the federal hate crimes 

19           program.  And in addition, I think we all 

20           need to be clear-eyed about the fact that in 

21           New York State, as is true across the 

22           country, domestic violent extremism, 

23           motivated by antisemitism and white supremacy 

24           primarily, is on the rise and represents one 


                                                                   198

 1           of the great terrorism threats that we face 

 2           today.

 3                  And so this agency administers about 

 4           $250 million worth of Homeland Security 

 5           grants, and I think that more and more of 

 6           that money over the past couple of years, and 

 7           certainly moving forward, will go to make 

 8           sure that our local law enforcement is 

 9           prepared for these domestic violent 

10           extremists and for the new evolving threat.

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay, well, thank you 

12           for that.  I know certainly, you know, I've 

13           had local facilities, particularly within the 

14           Jewish faith, reach out looking -- over the 

15           past, you know, really decade, looking for 

16           support for grants and things of that nature.

17                  So, you know, definitely a continuing 

18           concern for all of us with these events 

19           unfortunately continuing to happen.  So 

20           thank you.

21                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.  

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                  Senator Tom O'Mara.

24                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you, Chairwoman 


                                                                   199

 1           Krueger.

 2                  And Commissioner Bray, thanks for 

 3           being with us again.

 4                  My question is a brief one.  And we 

 5           have spoken directly on the Tropical Storm 

 6           Fred disaster that hit Steuben County back in 

 7           August, and the denial of individual 

 8           assistance aid by FEMA.

 9                  I see in the budget, in the Aid to 

10           Localities, there's a $4 million 

11           appropriation, I believe is the amount.  Is 

12           that something that could be utilized by the 

13           state should the Legislature and the Governor 

14           approve providing some individual assistance 

15           aid from the state, since the feds are not 

16           doing that?

17                  We have certainly a track record of 

18           past disasters where that type of assistance 

19           has been provided directly by the states, and 

20           I'm just wondering, from your perspective, 

21           where those funds could be found if approved 

22           for that, and where they should be in the 

23           budget, if they're not in there right now, 

24           for something like that.


                                                                   200

 1                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  So let me 

 2           say I share your frustration and 

 3           disappointment that the feds didn't approve 

 4           the individual assistance for Steuben and for 

 5           Tropical Storm Fred.  I thought they should 

 6           have done that, and I'm very sorry that they 

 7           didn't and frustrated that they didn't.

 8                  DHSES does not have an appropriation 

 9           at this time that could support state funding 

10           to replace that federal funding.  It's our 

11           job at DHSES to maximize the federal dollars 

12           we can bring in, and I am glad that we got 

13           public assistance after Tropical Storm Fred, 

14           and I'm also glad that we got the Small 

15           Business Administration's low-interest loan 

16           program for homeowners and small business 

17           owners.  But we don't have an appropriation 

18           for the type of individual assistance you're 

19           talking about.

20                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Would that not be 

21           able to come out of that $4 million 

22           appropriation that's in the Aid to Localities 

23           if the Governor chose to utilize it that way, 

24           or a portion of that?


                                                                   201

 1                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  I don't 

 2           believe it would.  That appropriation 

 3           specifically is a federal pass-through 

 4           appropriation and not designed for state 

 5           funding.  But I'm happy to continue that 

 6           conversation with you.

 7                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you.  That's 

 8           all I have.

 9                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Chair Weinstein.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

12           Assemblyman Burdick.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you very 

14           much.  

15                  And thank you for your testimony, and 

16           congratulations for your appointment.  And I 

17           appreciate your testimony about what your 

18           agency is doing to try to help recover from 

19           natural disasters.  And I represent a portion 

20           of Westchester County, which got hit pretty 

21           hard by Hurricane Ida.  And the federal 

22           infrastructure bill appropriates a huge 

23           amount of money to FEMA, and I'm wondering 

24           the extent to which some of those monies -- 


                                                                   202

 1           which I understand are still in the process 

 2           of being distributed to the states -- might 

 3           be coming to New York State and the extent to 

 4           which you see it coming into Westchester 

 5           County.

 6                  I'm working very closely with a couple 

 7           of my municipalities and would love to see 

 8           what might be available, because I assume 

 9           that your agency is going to be involved in 

10           that.

11                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Yes, thank 

12           you.

13                  So the first thing I would point to is 

14           we just released a Notice of Funding 

15           Opportunity for about $315 million worth of 

16           hazard mitigation funds for FEMA.  That 

17           wasn't based specifically on the Ida 

18           disaster, but that's a funding opportunity 

19           currently on the street.  We expect to 

20           release a hazard mitigation funding 

21           opportunity for Ida and for Fred in the 

22           coming weeks, so those opportunities will be 

23           out there for counties.

24                  I do think it's essential that we as a 


                                                                   203

 1           state maximize the amount of money that we 

 2           have coming out of these infrastructure 

 3           bills.  This is a little orthogonal to your 

 4           question, but there is a pot of about 

 5           $429 million that's going to the National 

 6           Water Centers, specifically to increase what 

 7           they call hyperspectral -- think of that as 

 8           very high resolution -- urban and suburban 

 9           area flood mapping for inland rain events, 

10           that should increase our preparedness.  

11                  So there's I think a number of pots of 

12           money, and we do have our eyes on all of 

13           them.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  And I'm sorry to 

15           cut you off here; I have very little time.

16                  Do you expect more money to be 

17           becoming available, and so further as we 

18           proceed in the year into next year, more 

19           funding opportunities to be made available by 

20           your agency?  And do you see any of that 

21           being made available to towns and villages, 

22           not just counties?

23                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Yes.  We are 

24           waiting for FEMA to release those 


                                                                   204

 1           opportunities, but we certainly expect them.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Any idea about 

 3           how much, the magnitude?

 4                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  I don't have 

 5           the magnitude yet for New York State, but I'm 

 6           happy to follow up with you as we learn.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  If you could, 

 8           that would be wonderful.

 9                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Absolutely.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  I'm working with 

11           a number of my Westchester colleagues on the 

12           issue that I posed to you, so -- thank you 

13           very much for your good work.  Appreciate it.

14                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

16                  I don't believe there are any more 

17           Senators, Assemblywoman.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So let us go to 

19           Assemblywoman Rajkumar.

20                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Thank you.

21                  And congratulations, Commissioner 

22           Bray, on your appointment.

23                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  In June the 


                                                                   205

 1           New York City Law Department was the victim 

 2           of a cyberattack.  I'm a senior advisor to 

 3           Mayor Eric Adams' transition team, and 

 4           interestingly, he stated that while 

 5           discussing the transition with Bill de 

 6           Blasio, the outgoing mayor told him, "COVID 

 7           is a problem, but the real problem we're 

 8           facing is cybersecurity."

 9                  There are approximately, as you know, 

10           2,800 non-executive agencies, local 

11           governments and public authorities, with 

12           which the Department of Homeland Security's 

13           Cyber Incident Response Team is tasked to 

14           provide cybersecurity services.  However, a 

15           report from the State Comptroller's office 

16           found that CIRT was reaching only a small 

17           percentage of these entities, had only 

18           offered five sessions on phishing emails, 

19           only conducted 11 risk assessments for 

20           entities from August 2019 through 2020.  And 

21           moreover, most of the team's work is by 

22           request instead of proactively evaluating 

23           systems and educating the government 

24           entities.


                                                                   206

 1                  So my question for you is, do you 

 2           believe that CIRT has the capability to 

 3           support the cybersecurity of 2,800 government 

 4           entities?  And if not, how can we help and 

 5           what additional resources would you need?

 6                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you 

 7           for the question.

 8                  So it's clear that we need far greater 

 9           investment in cybersecurity across the board.  

10           That's why I'm so happy that Governor Hochul 

11           has increased our cybersecurity in this 

12           Executive Budget by $44 million.  That 

13           includes additional money for DHSES, 

14           4.5 million additional directly to DHSES 

15           specifically to increase our proactive 

16           security assessments for our non-executive 

17           agencies, our localities, our counties, and 

18           to make sure that we can continue to respond 

19           to any calls we get, the CIRT response to a 

20           hundred percent of the requests for help we 

21           get, and to increase those training programs 

22           that you mentioned, the training sessions 

23           that you mentioned.

24                  But critically, it also for the first 


                                                                   207

 1           time appropriates money for shared services 

 2           for localities.  So that DHSES, working in 

 3           partnership with ITS, will be able to offer 

 4           localities the type of end-point detection 

 5           and incursion detection and protection that 

 6           they want, if they choose to opt in. 

 7                  So I agree with you there's more work 

 8           to be done, but this budget is a big, 

 9           important first step.

10                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Great.  Thank 

11           you so much for your good work.

12                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we go to 

14           Assemblyman Walczyk, I believe is our final 

15           questioner.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thank you, 

17           Chairwoman.

18                  And congratulations on your 

19           appointment, Commissioner.

20                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Sort of 

22           following up on what Senator Ritchie brought 

23           to your attention, I appreciate your 

24           cooperation with any investigation that has 


                                                                   208

 1           to do with Peyton Morse's death, which was 

 2           tragic.

 3                  Were you able to read the PESH report?

 4                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Yes.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Any reaction, 

 6           sort of as a commissioner who obviously 

 7           doesn't want to see this happen to any 

 8           recruit under your care ever again?  Any 

 9           reaction to that report?

10                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Yeah.  So 

11           let me say you're absolutely right.  I think 

12           that this is a tragedy and we always want to 

13           take every step we can to increase safety and 

14           to protect anyone that's training at either 

15           of our major training facilities.

16                  You know, the PESH report found no 

17           violation of current health and safety 

18           standards, but they did make a handful of 

19           recommendations about how to improve -- how 

20           to help our recruits report any injuries or 

21           illness they might be experiencing and how to 

22           make sure that our Fire Academy meets the 

23           standards that we set for ourselves.  And 

24           we're taking those recommendations and 


                                                                   209

 1           working them in as we move forward.

 2                  So, you know, reading the PESH report 

 3           for me was about making sure that I was 

 4           taking this incident as seriously as it 

 5           deserves to be taken, and that I understood 

 6           from an independent perspective what happened 

 7           that day.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I appreciate 

 9           that.  And I brought this up with your 

10           predecessor.  Have you had the opportunity or 

11           have you taken the opportunity to call the 

12           family?

13                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  The family 

14           reached out to me with -- through a letter.  

15           I have responded to that letter.  I 

16           understand the family has retained counsel, 

17           and I want to respect the process that the 

18           family is engaged in.  But if they wanted to 

19           talk to me, I would be absolutely happy to 

20           talk to them.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I think it might 

22           go a long way.

23                  Shifting gears -- and I appreciate the 

24           continued dialogue on that topic -- on 


                                                                   210

 1           January 13th I sent you a letter about 

 2           fraudulent testing kits and masks that have 

 3           been in circulation in some cases.  When 

 4           should I expect a response on that?

 5                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Well, sir, 

 6           your letter in mid-January was about masks 

 7           that were sent out -- we've sent well over 

 8           30 million masks out.  In the last month 

 9           alone, we've sent over 6 million.  Less than 

10           5 percent of them, when they arrived in the 

11           counties, were found to be counterfeit.  

12           These were masks that were bought in the 

13           spring of 2020 and were reviewed at that time 

14           by the Department of Health.  We have an 

15           ongoing process to bring legal action against 

16           any of the vendors that have provided the 

17           state over the past two years with any 

18           counterfeit goods, and these masks certainly 

19           triggered that.

20                  I will say I believe the ones that you 

21           were holding up in the photo were 3M masks.  

22           That's an incredibly high-quality brand of 

23           mask.  So I wouldn't worry about the masks 

24           that you got.  But I think the reference is 


                                                                   211

 1           to some masks that were sent -- less than 

 2           5 percent in the last month.  We've gotten 

 3           those masks back and have replaced them for 

 4           the counties that got them.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I see that I'm 

 6           out of time.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 8                  We now have Assemblyman Palmesano to 

 9           ask a question.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yes, 

11           Commissioner, thanks for your time.  And I 

12           apologize, this is probably repeating a 

13           little bit of what Senator O'Mara asked 

14           earlier -- I wasn't there when he asked -- 

15           relative to the FEMA reimbursements to 

16           localities of $4 billion.  And it's my 

17           understanding it's the same level as last 

18           year's.  It goes to -- you know, for 

19           disasters that happened, and it's to 

20           reimburse localities.

21                  So is this funding available?  I mean, 

22           I know maybe it's -- we had terrible flooding 

23           in Steuben County that received a FEMA 

24           disaster declaration, which would be 


                                                                   212

 1           75 percent from the federal government, and 

 2           then it's a 12.5 percent state share, 

 3           12.5 percent local share.

 4                  Isn't this funding available at the 

 5           discretion of the administration, working 

 6           with your office and the Legislature, to be 

 7           able to use this funding, this $4 billion 

 8           that's there to provide to pick up the local 

 9           share for those local municipalities?  As 

10           there is precedent for, it's been back as far 

11           as Sandy, Lee, Irene, Yates County in 2014, 

12           Lake Ontario flooding.  

13                  Isn't this something, if worked out 

14           with the Governor's office and DHSES -- which 

15           you guys have been very helpful, your office 

16           and staff, which we appreciate it.  Isn't 

17           there something that can be done to their -- 

18           when it talks about reimbursements for 

19           locals, whether it's a pass-through or not, 

20           that can be allocated to provide that 

21           assistance to pick up that local share for 

22           these communities that were affected by 

23           particularly Tropical Storm Fred on 

24           August 18th?  I know Ida in New York City was 


                                                                   213

 1           another one.

 2                  I mean, isn't that -- this funding 

 3           available for that purpose that could be 

 4           used?  Or is there a way to make it work 

 5           under those circumstances?

 6                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  So the 

 7           $4.15 billion appropriation specific for FEMA 

 8           is really only for federal pass-through 

 9           dollars.  And for Steuben and Fred 

10           specifically, obviously we've got the public 

11           assistance money coming and the Small 

12           Business Administration loans.  

13                  As I've said to Senator O'Mara and I 

14           will say to you, I want to come out and see 

15           the damage.  Let's arrange to do that 

16           quickly.  And I understand that there's real 

17           pain there and that people lost property, and 

18           we should continue the conversation.  But 

19           that 4.15 billion, that's unfortunately just 

20           for the federal dollars to come to the state.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  That would be 

22           like putting the -- if that's the -- that 

23           total storm was like $36 million, that would 

24           be like to cover that 75 percent of local 


                                                                   214

 1           share, the $27 million, which would be the 

 2           federal share, possibly.

 3                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  It would 

 4           cover that and then the COVID dollars that we 

 5           expect to be flowing this coming year.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  But we would 

 7           welcome you to come out to see what happened 

 8           there, and it was disastrous.

 9                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Yeah.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Jasper- 

11           Troupsburg School was decimated. You see 

12           videos of the flood coming, breaching the 

13           doors.  I mean, homeowners and businesses 

14           were decimated.  

15                  And we've been pushing, and we want to 

16           see the state provide individual assistance 

17           because the federal government failed and did 

18           not provide that individual assistance.  And 

19           there's precedent for the state providing 

20           direct grant assistance to individuals and 

21           businesses over the past storms Lee, Irene, 

22           Sandy, Lake Ontario, Yates County flooding.

23                  So we want to push on that front too, 

24           because these individuals -- they announced 


                                                                   215

 1           SBA grants.  They don't need grants, they 

 2           need loans {sic}.  And this is an area that 

 3           needs that help.  

 4                  So you coming out there would really 

 5           send I think a positive message and hopefully 

 6           we can make the case to the administration 

 7           that they need to provide that direct 

 8           assistance, both on picking up the local 

 9           share for -- and not just for Steuben County, 

10           other counties -- pick up that local share 

11           for those communities that were decimated and 

12           devastated by this flooding.  And also to 

13           provide direct grant assistance to 

14           individuals and businesses who were also 

15           impacted.

16                  So we would welcome to have you come 

17           up there to see the devastation of the 

18           schools, see the devastation of those 

19           communities.  It's been five months, and they 

20           haven't really received anything yet, and 

21           they -- they need help.

22                  Thank you.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24           Thank you.  So I do not believe -- at this 


                                                                   216

 1           moment we do not have any further speakers.  

 2                  Thank you, Commissioner Bray, for 

 3           being here, and congratulations also on your 

 4           appointment.

 5                  So the Senate?

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, Commissioner 

 7           Bray, thank you for being with us today.

 8                  Of course the Senate Finance Committee 

 9           had an opportunity to interview you 

10           extensively yesterday, so I think we didn't 

11           have enough time to come up with more 

12           questions today.  And so thank you and good 

13           luck to you.  Thank you.

14                  DHSES COMMISSIONER BRAY:  Thank you.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  All right, the 

16           next testifier will be Rossana Rosado, 

17           New York State DCJS, the new commissioner -- 

18           although many of us know her as our previous 

19           Secretary of State.

20                  Commissioner, are you here with us?

21                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I am.  Can 

22           you see me?

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, yes, 

24           we can now.  Welcome.  You have up to 


                                                                   217

 1           10 minutes to offer your testimony.  We'll be 

 2           listening.  

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

 4                  Good afternoon, Chairs Krueger and 

 5           Weinstein, legislative fiscal committee 

 6           members, and other distinguished members of 

 7           the Legislature.  I am Rossana Rosado, acting 

 8           commissioner of the Division of Criminal 

 9           Justice Services.  Thank you for the 

10           opportunity to be with you today to discuss 

11           Governor Kathy Hochul's fiscal year '22-'23 

12           budget for DCJS.  

13                  Before I begin, I would like to take a 

14           moment to share my heartfelt condolences with 

15           the families of the fallen and wounded 

16           officers from this past weekend's tragedy, 

17           and the extended family of the New York City 

18           Police Department.  As the Governor 

19           expressed, we are here to fully support our 

20           city partners in any way.  

21                  While I know many of you from my 

22           previous position as Secretary of State, I 

23           wanted to share a little about myself before 

24           outlining how the Executive Budget expands 


                                                                   218

 1           the critical work of DCJS.  

 2                  I joined the agency eight weeks ago, 

 3           after serving as Secretary of State since 

 4           2016.  I chaired the state's Council on 

 5           Community Re-Entry and Reintegration since 

 6           2014.  

 7                  I came to state service after a 

 8           30-year career in media, including as CEO of 

 9           El Diario La Prensa, the nation's oldest and 

10           largest Spanish-language newspaper.  As a 

11           journalist, I got to hear and share stories 

12           about society's most vulnerable.  Those 

13           experiences shaped my life and inspired me to 

14           earn a master's degree in criminal justice 

15           from John Jay College.  I also taught at 

16           John Jay College and in four of New York 

17           State's prisons.  

18                  Now, this leadership role at DCJS and 

19           the Governor's proposed budget provide a 

20           tremendous opportunity to positively impact 

21           the state's criminal justice system.  

22                  Later this year, DCJS will mark its 

23           50th anniversary.  We have continued to 

24           evolve with the criminal justice system and 


                                                                   219

 1           gained invaluable experience working with 

 2           each and every stakeholder.  We also have the 

 3           knowledge to see where the system has been, 

 4           where it is now in a moment of change, and 

 5           the vision to help guide it forward.  That is 

 6           the very mission of DCJS:  to enhance public 

 7           safety by providing resources and services 

 8           that inform decision-making and improve the 

 9           quality of the criminal justice system.  

10                  The work of talented professionals at 

11           DCJS, often in partnership with state and 

12           local colleagues, has advanced New York 

13           toward a more fair, equitable, and efficient 

14           justice system.  New York is the safest large 

15           state in the country and maintains the lowest 

16           rate of incarceration.  However, our work is 

17           unfinished.  Our statewide progress has not 

18           been shared across all of our neighborhoods.  

19           We know that communities of color are 

20           disproportionately affected by violence.  

21                  Just as New York's recovery from the 

22           COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, so 

23           too have the persistent issues of gun 

24           violence and violent crime.  While overall 


                                                                   220

 1           reported crime remains near its statewide 

 2           historic low, we have seen a surge of gun 

 3           violence within our state and across the 

 4           country, in the wake of the pandemic and 

 5           social unrest in 2020.  Preliminary data from 

 6           2021 reveal a continued decrease in overall 

 7           crime but a slight increase in violent crime, 

 8           indicating that we have not returned to a 

 9           pre-pandemic state.  

10                  While last year's data are still being 

11           finalized, we estimate there will be more 

12           than 800 homicides statewide for the second 

13           consecutive year.  This has not happened 

14           since 2008.  This trend mirrors the nation, 

15           where homicides increased by 29 percent in 

16           2020 -- the largest one-year increase on 

17           record.  Alarmingly, more than three out of 

18           every four of those homicides involved a 

19           firearm.  

20                  In response to the continued epidemic 

21           of gun violence in 2021, Governor Hochul 

22           extended a disaster emergency, which 

23           leveraged interagency resources and expedited 

24           funding.  This allowed DCJS to administer 


                                                                   221

 1           $8.3 million to support 129 new positions 

 2           within hospitals and community-based 

 3           organizations that participate in the SNUG 

 4           Street Outreach Program and the New York City 

 5           violence interruption network.  

 6                  The Governor's proposed budget 

 7           provides DCJS with an additional 

 8           $100 million.  This significant investment 

 9           will allow us to provide law enforcement and 

10           communities with resources, programs and 

11           strategies to better address the persistent 

12           problem of crime.  This budget also continues 

13           our agency's evidence-based and innovative 

14           practices that have been nationally 

15           recognized, placing New York at the forefront 

16           of public safety in the nation.  

17                  To support our law enforcement 

18           partners, DCJS will invest $18.2 million in 

19           our Gun-Involved Violence Elimination 

20           initiative, known as GIVE, and $15 million in 

21           our Crime Analysis Center network.  These 

22           investments reflect a combined increase of 

23           $10.7 million and will provide local law 

24           enforcement agencies with resources to solve 


                                                                   222

 1           gun crimes, build community trust and 

 2           relationships, and expand an evidence-based 

 3           community supervision model.  

 4                  To support our communities, DCJS will 

 5           provide $24.9 million to support street 

 6           outreach and violence interruption throughout 

 7           New York.  This commitment sustains emergency 

 8           funding from 2021 and provides an additional 

 9           $6.1 million to add gun violence prevention 

10           specialists within hospitals, expand the SNUG 

11           program to three new cities, provide 

12           wraparound social and employment services, 

13           and recruit and retain outreach workers.  

14                  The division will also provide 

15           $20 million for collaborative programs in the 

16           areas hardest hit by gun violence.  This 

17           funding will foster new partnerships between 

18           government and community organizations, with 

19           the goal of repairing and rebuilding 

20           neighborhoods by meeting the complex needs of 

21           individuals and families living in those 

22           communities.  

23                  To support the successful reentry of 

24           justice-involved people, the Governor's 


                                                                   223

 1           proposed budget includes the Clean Slate Act, 

 2           which would seal certain criminal history 

 3           records after the completion of a sentence, 

 4           including any incarceration or supervision 

 5           and a defined period of time -- seven years 

 6           for a felony, three years for a misdemeanor.  

 7                  The Governor also announced a new 

 8           Jails to Jobs initiative, which includes a 

 9           plan for DCJS to train Department of 

10           Corrections and Community Supervision parole 

11           officers on a comprehensive employment 

12           curriculum to better support each person's 

13           return home and transition to the workforce.  

14                  Recognizing that recent pretrial 

15           reforms were implemented without dedicated 

16           resources from the state, this Executive 

17           Budget also provides $10 million to support 

18           pretrial services outside of New York City.  

19           This funding, paired with the existing 

20           resources, will expand the continuum of these 

21           services, including screening and 

22           assessments, supervision, case management, 

23           and information-sharing with the court 

24           system.  


                                                                   224

 1                  Finally, the proposed budget includes 

 2           another round of the Securing Communities 

 3           Against Hate Crimes grant program within 

 4           DCJS, providing up to $25 million to 

 5           safeguard New York's not-for-profit 

 6           organizations at risk of hate crimes or 

 7           attack.  

 8                  At DCJS, public safety is paramount.  

 9           We look forward to building upon our 

10           evidence-based work, strengthening 

11           police-community relationships, and enhancing 

12           the capabilities of our local partners to 

13           reduce crime and save lives.  

14                  Thank you for your support and time 

15           today.  I look forward to answering any 

16           questions you may have.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

18           much.

19                  I don't see a Senate hand yet, so I'm 

20           going to actually start with a couple of my 

21           own questions as chair.  So thank you very 

22           much, Commissioner. 

23                  So you talked about your role as sort 

24           of an agency that tries to pull together the 


                                                                   225

 1           siloes of different criminal justice 

 2           agencies.  And certainly from New York City, 

 3           currently much of the conversation is about 

 4           people with mental illness behaving 

 5           dangerously in public and ending up being 

 6           thrown into Rikers -- perhaps before they do 

 7           something heinous, or after, but clearly the 

 8           services we intended to provide the people 

 9           who suffer from mental illness and act out in 

10           ways that are dangerous to themselves and 

11           others, you know, are inadequate at best.

12                  Does your agency have any role or can 

13           it have any role in expansion and improvement 

14           of these programs -- I believe that are 

15           called AOT?

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Senator, I 

17           don't believe that DCJS has a direct role in 

18           that.  I think that is an issue for OMH.  I'd 

19           be happy to look into that for you.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So you don't see 

21           a role for yourself in trying to help figure 

22           out why we simply don't have the right 

23           services or aren't getting them, you know, 

24           through the court system.  Because my 


                                                                   226

 1           understanding is that AOT is something that 

 2           you might be assigned into when you are 

 3           arrested or when you are ready for parole.

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I see 

 5           ourselves in a role to help everyone in the 

 6           criminal justice system figure these things 

 7           out.  We don't have a direct role right now 

 8           when it comes to issues of mental health.  

 9           And I'd have to do a deeper dive on that 

10           specific issue in Rikers and the city and in 

11           mental health.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you.  

13           I hope you will because I think this issue 

14           is -- it crosses mental health lines, it 

15           crosses criminal justice lines.  It's clearly 

16           a major concern for public protection, you 

17           know, I think throughout the state but 

18           certainly in my city at this point in time.

19                  You also talked about, you know, the 

20           research component of the Office of Criminal 

21           Justice.  So at one point in time the state 

22           passed a law that required the tracking of 

23           guns and even a database on bullets that was 

24           never actually implemented.  Are you familiar 


                                                                   227

 1           with that law, and do you see a role for your 

 2           agency at this time in that?

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I am 

 4           familiar with that you're referring to.  I 

 5           think that is mostly State Police.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You think it is 

 7           State Police.  But you do research and 

 8           tracking of criminal justice data, is that 

 9           correct?

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  That's 

11           correct.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And do you do any 

13           tracking of gun crimes or guns?

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes.  Yes, 

15           we do.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And what is that 

17           that you do?

18                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Well, we do 

19           collect the data and we post that data.  We 

20           do that in -- you know, in collaboration with 

21           the individual police agencies.  And we use 

22           that data to help both folks on the local 

23           level and at the state level, you know, work 

24           on solutions.  And we post it, you know, for 


                                                                   228

 1           the public, we try to track that.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  So perhaps 

 3           my primary question is then for State Police 

 4           a little later in the hearing today.  All 

 5           right, thank you.  

 6                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to our 

 8           chair of Codes, Assemblyman Dinowitz.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay, thank you 

10           very much.

11                  Good afternoon.

12                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Good 

13           afternoon.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  One of the 

15           issues which remained unresolved in the last 

16           session dealt with Clean Slate.  We had a -- 

17           I guess a two-way agreement between the 

18           Assembly and the Senate.  Assemblymember Cruz 

19           sponsors the bill in the Assembly.

20                  There is a Clean Slate proposal in the 

21           Executive Budget, as you alluded to.  But 

22           while both proposals contain the three- and 

23           seven-year waiting periods, under the 

24           legislative proposal those waiting periods 


                                                                   229

 1           would begin to run when a person is released 

 2           from custody, but on the Executive proposal 

 3           it will begin to run upon the expiration of 

 4           the maximum sentence imposed by the court, 

 5           regardless of when the person is released 

 6           from custody.

 7                  Those two dates could be very 

 8           different dates.  There could be years in 

 9           between.  And I was wondering if you could 

10           comment on that and why that aspect of the 

11           two proposals is so radically different.

12                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Well, I can 

13           tell you that we are ready, you know, to 

14           implement Clean Slate as it is passed by the 

15           Legislature.  We're ready to implement -- 

16           implement whichever one of those -- we are 

17           ready to implement.  

18                  I think one of our -- not so much a 

19           concern, but we'd like to do it as quickly as 

20           possible, and we believe we're prepared.  We 

21           believe in this -- in this.  We estimate 

22           there are about 2 million records that we can 

23           seal immediately upon passing that 

24           legislation.


                                                                   230

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  So let 

 2           me just make sure I understand this.  If the 

 3           Assembly and the Senate pass the bills as is, 

 4           let's say, next week, it's your opinion that 

 5           that would likely be signed into law then, as 

 6           opposed to waiting for the -- with the 

 7           proposal in the Executive Budget?

 8                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I think it 

 9           has to be in the Executive Budget in order to 

10           be passed.  

11                  Upon -- you know, as soon as we have 

12           the green light to implement, we're ready to 

13           seal, and we estimate it will be 2 million 

14           right at the start.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  Well, I 

16           mean --

17                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  We have the 

18           ability to do that rather quickly.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Right.  I mean 

20           certainly there may be costs attached, but I 

21           think some of us believe as a general rule 

22           that major policy decisions such as this 

23           would be best done not in the budget.  

24                  But in either case, I'm glad to hear 


                                                                   231

 1           that there's room for discussion in terms of 

 2           the specifics of the proposal as we just 

 3           discussed.

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes, I'm 

 5           saware that those conversations are happening 

 6           right now.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  So the 

 8           legislative proposal also contained an 

 9           exception that would allow access to sealed 

10           records of convictions for entities required 

11           under state and/or federal law to request 

12           criminal history background information such 

13           as public schools, childcare facilities, 

14           adult care facilities and nursing homes.

15                  But in the Executive Budget proposal, 

16           that piece is not included.  Do you have any 

17           explanation for that?

18                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I 

19           understand that we are working on that right 

20           now with the Legislature in sorting that out.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  There's 

22           another -- there's another significant 

23           difference between the two proposals.  The 

24           legislation -- the legislative proposal, that 


                                                                   232

 1           is, provides for private right of action for 

 2           people who are aggrieved by violations of the 

 3           sealing statutes, and it makes it a 

 4           discriminatory act under the Executive Law 

 5           for employers to inquire or base employment 

 6           decisions upon sealed convictions.

 7                  Now, the proposal in the Executive 

 8           Budget doesn't get into that at all.  

 9           Comments?

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I don't 

11           really have a comment on that directly.

12                  As I said, we remain poised to 

13           implement what is passed, you know, both in 

14           the budget and through the Legislature.  We 

15           have the ability to seal those records, and 

16           we take that responsibility very seriously.  

17           I think it's a positive move.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  I know this is 

19           not common for legislators to do, but I'm not 

20           going to use up all my time.  So thank you 

21           very much.

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Well done, 

24           Mr. Chair.


                                                                   233

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, back to 

 2           the Senate.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 4                  Chair of Codes, Jamaal Bailey.

 5                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, Madam 

 6           Chair.

 7                  And thank you, Chair Dinowitz, for 

 8           ceding me your additional five minutes in 

 9           time.  I truly appreciate it.

10                  (Laughter.)

11                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Commissioner, good to 

12           see you.  Thank you for the work that you've 

13           done throughout your career.

14                  Briefly on Clean Slate, which in the 

15           Senate is carried by Senator Zellnor Myrie.  

16           You mentioned the number of people that would 

17           be affected -- did you say roughly 2 million 

18           people would be affected?

19                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Correct.

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  And the amount of 

21           time that it would take to seal these 

22           records, it would take approximately how 

23           long?

24                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  About a 


                                                                   234

 1           year and a half.

 2                  SENATOR BAILEY:  About a year and a 

 3           half.  And the additional resources required 

 4           to do so?  Just want to make sure we're 

 5           continuing to take up the req.  

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  We're 

 7           working with OCA and the Legislature to, you 

 8           know, come up with the cost.

 9                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  I would just 

10           like to figure that out, because again, you 

11           know, I go on record as a proponent of the 

12           legislation.  I think that being able to 

13           provide individuals with economic justice and 

14           the ability to sustain themselves 

15           economically is the best prevention method in 

16           terms of justice involvement.

17                  And I think you sort of alluded to it 

18           in your opening remarks, but I don't want to 

19           put words into your mouth.

20                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Oh, I agree 

21           that it's a positive thing to say, and I 

22           think it's our responsibility to do it in the 

23           most efficient way possible so that someone 

24           is -- you know, we're affecting people's 


                                                                   235

 1           livelihood.  And if they can have a clean 

 2           slate, we should deliver that.

 3                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Certainly.

 4                  I want to talk about gun violence, 

 5           because I think some of my colleagues will 

 6           touch on the -- the sponsors will touch on 

 7           the Clean Slate bill in a little bit.

 8                  Gun violence -- you mentioned in your 

 9           opening remarks that this was a problem 

10           that's not just happening in New York State, 

11           it's happening across the country.  And you 

12           mentioned that you have a background in 

13           criminal justice.  Is there any data that 

14           shows us what this spike is being caused by 

15           nationwide?

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Senator, as 

17           you know, communities across the country, 

18           including those in New York State, 

19           experienced increases in gun violence over 

20           the past two years -- 2020, 2021.  The 

21           researchers, academics, pundits and everyone 

22           will debate the causes.  

23                  There is a complex confluence of 

24           factors that occurred in 2020 and throughout 


                                                                   236

 1           the pandemic that shouldn't be discounted.  

 2           It may not be the cause, but it cannot be 

 3           discounted.  Right?  Unemployment, we had 

 4           closure of schools and other essential 

 5           programs, we had isolation from family and 

 6           friends and support systems, we had 

 7           disruptions within the criminal justice 

 8           system itself.  And obviously we had social 

 9           unrest and anti-police sentiment in 

10           communities.

11                  As I mentioned in my testimony, the 

12           Governor's proposed budget for DCJS includes 

13           an additional $100 million, and most of that 

14           funding is dedicated to reduce gun violence 

15           by scaling our existing programs that have 

16           been -- you know, they're tried and true, and 

17           establishing new ones to address the complex 

18           causes of violent crime and meet the needs of 

19           the victims.

20                  In 2019, New York State reported 

21           304 firearm-related homicides, the 

22           second-lowest number during the most recent 

23           10-year period.  Only 2017 had fewer, at 296.  

24           I don't know if you want to hear all these 


                                                                   237

 1           numbers, but -- in addition, shooting 

 2           incidents involving injury and the number of 

 3           shooting victims reported by police 

 4           departments in communities with these 

 5           programs declined annually from 2016 to 2019, 

 6           when both reached 10-year lows.

 7                  New York uses programs like GIVE and 

 8           SNUG, applying evidence-based strategies and 

 9           proven practices.  And the state has been 

10           recognized nationally as a leader for its 

11           comprehensive statewide investment to reduce 

12           gun violence.  

13                  In GIVE, we work with the folks in the 

14           law enforcement community, you know, we bring 

15           them all to the table and we work on not just 

16           solving crimes, solving them quickly, but 

17           also, you know, identifying all the crimes 

18           that involve guns.

19                  And in SNUG we work with street 

20           outreach teams and folks in the community at 

21           the very grassroots level in trying to 

22           prevent the use of guns.

23                  SENATOR BAILEY:  So in sum and 

24           substance, based upon what you created as -- 


                                                                   238

 1           would it be fair to say that there is no one 

 2           particular causation factor that we could 

 3           attribute to the rising gun violence?  Would 

 4           that be a fair statement?

 5                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  That's a 

 6           fair statement.  None of the experts here in 

 7           the city or across the country have been able 

 8           to point to -- you know, to prove that it's 

 9           one thing.

10                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Certainly.  So let me 

11           first -- and I was hasty to begin my 

12           question, but let me also echo your 

13           sentiments in giving my condolences to the 

14           families of the officers who were taken from 

15           us far too soon with this scourge of gun 

16           violence.

17                  But I wanted to ask you about the SNUG 

18           programs.  I'm a long-time proponent of them.  

19           The expansion, you mentioned expanding to 

20           three new cities.  When we're expanding these 

21           programs, are we looking -- is this money 

22           that's in the budget going to be able to 

23           expand the catchment area of existing 

24           programs?  Because in one of the recent -- in 


                                                                   239

 1           one of the unfortunate incidents in my 

 2           borough, in the City of New York, there is a 

 3           Credible Messenger group that stops just a 

 4           couple of blocks away from where that took 

 5           place.

 6                  Are we going to be able to get funding 

 7           to expand it?  And quite frankly, are we 

 8           going to be able to get that money out the 

 9           door, as it were, yesterday in order to be 

10           able to effectuate that sort of change?

11                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes.  The 

12           answer is yes.  The short answer is yes.  We 

13           work with the data.  You know, we follow the 

14           data based on the communities where we 

15           already are, and we use the data to determine 

16           the new communities where we're going.  But 

17           the answer is yes.

18                  And -- I'm sorry, I forgot the last 

19           part of your question.  But we are able to 

20           get the money out of the door because these 

21           are programs that already exist.  And so, you 

22           know, we know how to do it.  I mean, 

23           obviously we have, you know, procurement 

24           processes and things to follow.  But we 


                                                                   240

 1           consider this -- I mean, under the leadership 

 2           of Governor Hochul, this is an emergency.

 3                  SENATOR BAILEY:  And I certainly 

 4           appreciate that.  The exigent circumstances 

 5           that we're in, I would hope that we could 

 6           figure out a much more streamlined way to get 

 7           this money out the door, because as you well 

 8           know, with these Cure Violence programs, it 

 9           is not merely just about sending these 

10           Credible Messengers into the street, it is 

11           often removing these individuals from the 

12           neighborhoods, taking them somewhere to do 

13           something as simple as taking them bowling or 

14           getting something to eat, away from the areas 

15           in which these traumatic incidences are 

16           taking place.

17                  So our Credible Messengers need to be 

18           able to get this funding, and they need it 

19           sooner rather than later because the cost 

20           fluctuates.  I just want to make sure that 

21           we're trying to get it out the door as soon 

22           as possible because we are in the midst of an 

23           incredibly important crisis.

24                  I would ask another question in 


                                                                   241

 1           relation to the capital funding.  There are 

 2           some buses that -- Erica Ford and LIFE Camp, 

 3           they have these buses that go around.  Would 

 4           this funding be able to utilize some of these 

 5           mobile trauma centers in order to -- would 

 6           this be able to be purchased or procure some 

 7           of those centers as well?

 8                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes.  

 9           Again, the short answer is yes.  We have a 

10           $50 million budget for that, for capital.  

11                  And so we're working with the folks we 

12           already work with, with Erica Ford and other 

13           folks on the ground, and so we are -- and 

14           they have tons of ideas on how to put this 

15           money to work, and we intend to do that.

16                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Certainly.  And 

17           again, Erica Ford is just one of the many 

18           great folks doing this incredible work.

19                  I would ask, I guess the last couple 

20           of minutes of my questions would be related 

21           to the bail reform conversation that began 

22           with Judge Marks in terms of the data.  He 

23           mentioned that DCJS would be able to further 

24           illuminate us on some of the data as related 


                                                                   242

 1           to bail eligible or not eligible.  What 

 2           information would you have to be able to 

 3           further illuminate that point?

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Okay.  

 5           Well, you know bail takes more than a few 

 6           minutes, Senator.  

 7                  But I'll start with one of the main 

 8           arguments for reforming cash bail was to make 

 9           pretrial release decisions more equitable and 

10           remove the perverse connection between 

11           financial means and freedom.  Whether or not 

12           a person was detained or released from 

13           pretrial was associated with, you know, an 

14           increased likelihood of conviction and 

15           sentences to incarceration.  We went through 

16           all this several years ago, right?

17                  Given that important fact, an 

18           evaluation of bail would have to include 

19           pretrial release decisions and court 

20           appearances, both of which are available, and 

21           court case outcomes, which are not yet 

22           available.  And so our position is that we 

23           need to have -- you know, wait till that 

24           information is available to make what I think 


                                                                   243

 1           someone referred to earlier, in very 

 2           scientific language, as an apples-to-apples 

 3           comparison.  Right?

 4                  A review of pretrial data shows that 

 5           48 percent of New York City arraignments in 

 6           2020 for violent felony offenses was still 

 7           pending as of September 2021, and 42 percent 

 8           was still pending outside of New York City.

 9                  To evaluate the impact of bail reforms 

10           on appearances rates and racial equity in 

11           release decisions and final case outcomes, 

12           many more of these cases would need to be 

13           disposed.  We continue to work with the 

14           researchers to best understand the dynamics 

15           of pretrial reform implementation and its 

16           impact on the criminal justice system and 

17           New Yorkers.

18                  And you will recall, or you may recall 

19           that in this year's budget, the Governor 

20           added money -- 20 million? -- 10 million for 

21           the pretrial services outside of New York 

22           City to address those concerns.

23                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Certainly.  And I 

24           guess that leads me to my final question, at 


                                                                   244

 1           least for now.  Like that $10 million for 

 2           discovery reform, right -- I guess that's 

 3           primarily going to be utilized for it -- how 

 4           is it going to be utilized?  Do you have a 

 5           breakdown for it, or is it going to be based 

 6           upon what the county's specific need would 

 7           be?

 8                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yeah, it 

 9           will be based on what the specific needs of 

10           the counties are, but that has not been 

11           worked out yet.

12                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  Perfect 

13           timing.  Thank you, Commissioner, for your 

14           indulgence.

15                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

16                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, Madam 

17           Chair.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

19                  Assemblymember Weinstein.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

21           Assemblyman Ra, Ways and Means ranker, for 

22           five minutes.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.

24                  Good afternoon, Commissioner.  Good to 


                                                                   245

 1           see you again in your new role.  

 2                  Just continuing on the conversation 

 3           you were just having with Senator Bailey with 

 4           regard to bail reform and some of the data.  

 5           And I think that's I guess an important point 

 6           as we go forward and have more -- right, as 

 7           this is beginning to affect more and more, we 

 8           have more data.  But certainly if you don't 

 9           have a full conclusion of a case, you know, 

10           so that makes -- you can't fully evaluate 

11           that individual matter.

12                  I was just wondering if you could just 

13           clarify -- you know, there was this whole 

14           issue -- obviously you have to work in 

15           conjunction with OCA regarding this data.  

16           There was, you know, the data that had been 

17           put up and then taken down and then re-put 

18           up.  Exactly what happened there?  And, you 

19           know, for the public, why we should be 

20           confident that, going forward, the data will 

21           be properly compiled.

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Sure.  You 

23           should be confident because when we see that 

24           there's something wrong, you know, we deal 


                                                                   246

 1           with it immediately.

 2                  There was nothing wrong with the data 

 3           per se.  It's just that the data that was 

 4           posted included some post -- post-trial 

 5           information that should not have been 

 6           included.  Because in order to measure the 

 7           effectiveness of the bail reform as it was 

 8           passed, you need the apples-to-apples 

 9           comparison, which is the pretrial to 

10           pretrial. 

11                  Our researchers at DCJS noticed that 

12           and decided to repost, you know, with the 

13           right information.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  And so 

15           according to the data that you do have, in 

16           terms of kind of an apple-to-apple comparison 

17           do you have numbers on, you know, what you've 

18           seen in terms of rearrests and then what, you 

19           know, they were for, whether they were 

20           violent felonies or weapons charges?

21                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Sure.  But 

22           I'll start by repeating, you know, what I 

23           said earlier, that we don't feel that 

24           there -- we don't have enough numbers to 


                                                                   247

 1           have, you know, the -- to reach -- to have a 

 2           complete picture, I should say.  

 3                  The public perception of bail reform 

 4           is that it has increased violent crime and 

 5           made us less safe.  But in fact the 

 6           preliminary data is far from a complete 

 7           picture.  

 8                  As required by law, DCJS collaborated 

 9           with OCA to publish the data on pretrial 

10           release and detention, and that data is 

11           available on our website as well as OCA's 

12           website.  However, the data does not include 

13           roughly half of the arraignments outside of 

14           New York City that are current town and 

15           village courts, nor does it include 

16           Superior Court arraignments.

17                  So OCA will begin to collect that 

18           information over the coming year.  And again, 

19           when the data comes to us, it comes to us 

20           through OCA.

21                  Furthermore, given the ongoing impact 

22           of the pandemic, there has been a fundamental 

23           disruption to the criminal justice system, 

24           and I think the judge spoke about that 


                                                                   248

 1           earlier.  The time from arrest to arraignment 

 2           has increased, and so has the time from 

 3           arraignment to disposition.  We also see that 

 4           more than a third of all cases from the most 

 5           recent data are still pending.  All of that 

 6           makes comparing the current system to the 

 7           pre-COVID one an exercise in comparing apples 

 8           to oranges.

 9                  We are working with the best minds in 

10           the state to continue to review the 

11           information we and OCA have to -- you know, 

12           what we have access to.

13                  So I just want to run through the 

14           numbers that we do have in terms of the 

15           number of arrests.  From June 2019 to June 

16           2021, the number of arrests dropped 

17           36 percent in New York City, and 28 percent 

18           in the rest of the state.  And I'm happy to 

19           take any of you on a deep dive of these 

20           numbers, you know, in the coming days if 

21           you're interested.

22                  Arraignments.  From June 2019 to June 

23           2021, the number of arraignments fell 

24           38 percent in New York City and 29 percent in 


                                                                   249

 1           the rest of the state.  Notably, the types of 

 2           arraignments shifted.  Proportionally, there 

 3           were fewer misdemeanors and more violent 

 4           felony charges.  

 5                  In terms of releases, from January 

 6           2020 to June 2021, 87 percent of people were 

 7           released at arraignment in New York City, and 

 8           81 percent in the rest of the state.

 9                  In terms of the pretrial jail 

10           population, from September 2019 to December 

11           2021, the average number of people detained 

12           in New York City's jails dropped 25 percent, 

13           25 percent being like 1,726 -- in New York 

14           City -- and 24 percent, which is about a 

15           total of 3,000, in the rest of the state. 

16                  And then rearrests after release.  For 

17           a limited analysis of 2020 arraignments where 

18           defendants were released, first, most 

19           individuals released after arraignment, 

20           72 percent in 2020, were not rearrested while 

21           their case was pending.  Secondly, of those 

22           who were released and rearrested, most were 

23           rearrested for nonviolent felonies and 

24           misdemeanors.  Third, rearrests for firearm 


                                                                   250

 1           charges occurred the least often -- only 

 2           1 percent of all of those who were released.

 3                  Does that give you a picture?  I mean, 

 4           I have --

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  All right, so you 

 6           said just in terms of misdemeanors, what was 

 7           that percentage of those rearrested?

 8                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  So of those 

 9           who were released and rearrested, most were 

10           rearrested for nonviolent felonies.  That's 

11           12 percent.  And misdemeanors was 10 percent.

12                  So to translate that, the 12 percent 

13           is 12,542 of 108,552, to be precise.  And the 

14           misdemeanors, 10 percent, which is 10,561 of 

15           108,552.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  Thank you 

17           very much.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  The Senate?

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

20                  Senator Diane Savino.

21                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

22           Krueger.

23                  Good afternoon, Commissioner.  

24                  I'm not sure if people saw the news 


                                                                   251

 1           that the police commissioner just announced 

 2           the second police officer passed away just a 

 3           few minutes ago.  So we might want to take a 

 4           moment of silence for him.  It's a bad week 

 5           for all of us.

 6                  But I want to thank you for providing 

 7           your testimony.  And I want to just focus -- 

 8           because I only have three minutes, I just 

 9           want to focus on a couple of things.  I know 

10           many people will continue on the discussion 

11           of the statistics on bail reform.  I just 

12           want to direct you to the issue of the SNUG 

13           program, which I'm glad we're continuing.  

14           The SNUG program was born in the New York 

15           State Senate, in fact in the Senate 

16           Democratic Conference.  It was an idea that 

17           was the brainchild of the current mayor of 

18           the City of New York, Eric Adams, when he was 

19           a member of the Senate.

20                  But as we move forward and put money 

21           out there, not all of the SNUG programs work 

22           as well, and so I would hope that we actually 

23           invest in the ones that are working, the ones 

24           that have an anti-violence collaborative 


                                                                   252

 1           approach, that they bring in the local 

 2           precinct, local social services, healthcare 

 3           providers.  I have one in Coney Island, it is 

 4           amazing, and you can see the effects of it.  

 5           It has driven down gun violence tremendously 

 6           and also worked on other issues.

 7                  They have a saying that in social 

 8           work -- it's very simple:  Hurt people hurt 

 9           people.  And so you need a collaborative 

10           approach.  So hopefully we'll put money where 

11           it works.

12                  On the issue of pretrial detention, I 

13           just have a simple question.  Why -- it's 

14           $10 million, it's not a lot of money.  But 

15           why is it only going to areas outside of 

16           New York City, which as we know, New York 

17           City is more than 50 percent of the 

18           population, and a significant number of the 

19           cases are in the five boroughs.  

20                  So if there's a reason that that makes 

21           sense, it's just not evident to me.  I'm 

22           hoping you can explain it to me.  Why aren't 

23           we helping with discovery and pretrial 

24           services in the five boroughs of the City of 


                                                                   253

 1           New York?

 2                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  It's -- we 

 3           already fund in New York City, I think it's 

 4           about $30 million.  And so, you know, 

 5           New York City is already covered in that 

 6           sense.

 7                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Okay.  See, that was 

 8           simple.  Thank you.

 9                  (Laughter.)

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  And I just 

11           want to say, you know, you mentioned the 

12           second officer.  Really, you know, it's --

13                  SENATOR SAVINO:  It's heartbreaking.

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  It's really 

15           heartbreaking because, you know, these kids 

16           are the same age as, you know, my children -- 

17           my daughter's 27, my son is 30, so -- and 

18           they're the same age as the students I taught 

19           at John Jay College, you know, at least a 

20           dozen of whom are in the -- you know, have 

21           gone through the academy and are in the 

22           police force.  

23                  So I think it's appropriate that we 

24           take time -- that we take time to mourn them, 


                                                                   254

 1           you know, to honor them, and then to work 

 2           together, you know, to find solutions.

 3                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Absolutely.  Thank 

 4           you.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 6           much.

 7                  Assemblywoman.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 9           Assemblyman Weprin, three minutes.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, Madam 

11           Chair.

12                  Thank you, Commissioner Rosado.  I'm 

13           very excited about your new appointment --

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  -- and working 

16           with you.  This is now my seventh year, going 

17           into my seventh year as chair of the 

18           Corrections Committee, and we've spent a lot 

19           of time together at various facilities with 

20           educational programs, seminars and what have 

21           you.  

22                  So I've had a bill for educational 

23           release in correctional facilities for a 

24           number of years, and one of the oppositions 


                                                                   255

 1           to it was not having TAP available to 

 2           incarcerated individuals.  The Governor, of 

 3           course, has proposed in her budget that that 

 4           change.  And that goes back to an old Pataki 

 5           law.  

 6                  So I'm looking forward to working with 

 7           you on some of these educational programs.  I 

 8           don't know how much you know about the 

 9           proposal on the educational release and 

10           furlough for those eligible, but if you could 

11           maybe talk a little bit about it.  And I look 

12           forward to working with you on that 

13           expansion.

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you, 

15           Assemblyman.  And yes, you and I have visited 

16           many of those facilities together and seen 

17           evidence of the value of the educational 

18           programs.  We've seen them graduate, and 

19           we've actually seen them come home as well.

20                  The work release program, which I had 

21           been involved with when we were on the 

22           reentry council in talking about it, you 

23           know, and kind of including it, you know, on 

24           a list of things every year, is really 


                                                                   256

 1           something you should talk to Commissioner 

 2           Annucci about, something he's passionate 

 3           about, and he would have the details.  

 4                  We do not have a direct role.  DCJS 

 5           does not have a direct role.  Except, you 

 6           know, I would love the opportunity, 

 7           regardless of what agency I'm in, I'd always 

 8           love an opportunity to go and visit and to 

 9           help in any way possible people coming home 

10           from prison, you know, find employment and 

11           get those opportunities.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Well, I look 

13           forward to visiting other facilities with 

14           you, hopefully when COVID dies down a little 

15           bit.  We thought it was over, but obviously 

16           now, you know, it's come back a little bit.  

17           But hopefully the worst is behind us.

18                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Agreed.  

19           Thank you so much.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

21                  Our next testifier is -- excuse me, 

22           our next questioner is Senator Sepúlveda, 

23           three minutes.

24                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Hi, 


                                                                   257

 1           Senator.

 2                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Thank you.  {In 

 3           Spanish.}.

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Gracias.

 5                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  So I just read an 

 6           article -- I can't remember what paper it was 

 7           in, I'm having senior moments.  But they 

 8           indicated that if you look at Texas and 

 9           New York, Texas is the easiest state to get a 

10           gun.  New York is one of the most difficult.  

11           However, if you look gun violence involved in 

12           Texas, something like 75 to 80 percent of the 

13           guns were purchased in Texas.  And something 

14           like less than 10 percent of the gun violence 

15           in New York were guns that were purchased or 

16           manufactured in New York.

17                  Now, why do I mention this?  There is 

18           a case before the Supreme Court, the New York 

19           Rifle and Pistol Association vs. Bruen, which 

20           I believe if the Supreme Court rules the way 

21           I believe they're going to rule, it's going 

22           to be a disaster for New York State.  I 

23           believe you're going to see more guns sold.  

24                  Unfortunately, where you have an 


                                                                   258

 1           explosion of guns as you had during the 

 2           pandemic -- we had an article by The Atlantic 

 3           that said that they believe that one of the 

 4           causes and one of the main causes of gun 

 5           violence in the country, it's the explosion 

 6           of gun -- purchasings of guns in the country.  

 7           And I know there's a segment in our society 

 8           that just refuses to have that discussion, 

 9           that the main reason why we have so much gun 

10           violence now is because there are more guns 

11           in circulation, especially here in New York.

12                  With what I believe is the impending 

13           decision that's coming, what is the State of 

14           New York going to do to fight back against 

15           what I believe is going to a massive amount 

16           of more sales of guns into our communities 

17           and our communities of color where we don't 

18           produce guns, we don't make them, we don't 

19           sell them, we buy them many times illegally.  

20           But what preparation do you have to combat 

21           this potential crisis?

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Well, 

23           Senator, I can tell you that we use our crime 

24           analysis centers that are funded through DCJS 


                                                                   259

 1           to keep track of guns and to stop them from 

 2           coming into the state.

 3                  I understand the Governor is having a 

 4           major gun discussion tomorrow, right here in 

 5           the area, and bringing everyone to the point 

 6           that that effort is being led by State 

 7           Police.  But we are all in this space -- you 

 8           know, those of us in the criminal justice 

 9           space are all greatly concerned and newly 

10           motivated to get these guns off the street.

11                  SENATOR SEPÚLVEDA:  Well, I'd like to 

12           see hopefully what kind of a plan of action 

13           your agency has, the New York State Police 

14           has, because if we're not ready on Day 1, I 

15           believe we're going to see even more gun 

16           violence, we're going to have more tragedies 

17           like, you know, the deaths we had of our 

18           police officers.

19                  I'm not going to talk about bail 

20           reform because many of my colleagues have 

21           asked you the questions.  I just hope that 

22           the Governor doesn't fall prey to the massive 

23           amount of fearmongering and misinformation 

24           that's out there in the media and other 


                                                                   260

 1           sources, because it's just not accurate. 

 2                  Thank you.

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 5                  I've been asked to pinch-hit for 

 6           Chair Weinstein while someone fixes her Zoom, 

 7           so Assemblymember Mike Reilly, you're up.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, 

 9           Madam Chair.

10                  Thank you, Commissioner, for joining 

11           us today.  

12                  You know, I'm a little shaken up.  I 

13           mean, losing the -- Officer Mora now, as a 

14           retired member of the NYPD, you know, you 

15           never lose that brotherhood and sisterhood.  

16           So thank you, Senator Savino, for asking 

17           everybody to take a moment of silence.  We 

18           all will.

19                  So I have a couple of questions, just 

20           on Raise the Age.  The firearms portion of 

21           Raise the Age at 16 and 17 years old, where 

22           just the mere possession goes to Family 

23           Court, it's not eligible to go to Youth Part 

24           Criminal Court -- do you have the numbers on 


                                                                   261

 1           how many arrests there were for 16 and 17 

 2           year olds, or under 18 with loaded firearms?

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Senator 

 4           {sic}, I'm going to have to get back to you 

 5           on -- is he a Senator or Assembly?

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  That's all right, 

 7           I'm not -- you can -- just don't call me 

 8           late.

 9                  (Laughter.)

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I'm going 

11           to have to get back to you on that.  I do not 

12           have that data -- I'm sure the agency has it, 

13           but I don't have it in front of me broken 

14           out.  And I can turn that around for you 

15           pretty quickly.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  So just -- I have 

17           some data from New York City, and I'm 

18           thinking that, you know, there's a carveout 

19           there that we can help in Raise the Age where 

20           we can have loaded firearms as one of the 

21           extraordinary circumstances that could remain 

22           in Youth Part.

23                  Over the last two years, 2020 and 

24           2021, 947 people under 18 were arrested for a 


                                                                   262

 1           firearm.  In 2020 there were 411, and in 2021 

 2           there were 536.  Now, we see the uptick -- 

 3           yes, I know there's a whole bunch of issues 

 4           that could be responsible for it.  But I 

 5           think one of the key issues that we have to 

 6           look at is the street violence with gangs.  

 7           They know that those under 18 are not going 

 8           to be held criminally responsible, 

 9           potentially, for holding a firearm for those 

10           older gang members.

11                  And I think this is a loophole in 

12           there that's actually endangering us, you 

13           know, endangering public safety.  And of 

14           course we want to make sure that we have the 

15           resources in there -- not necessarily to -- 

16           you know, it is to hold them accountable, but 

17           we also want to stop them from repeating it.  

18           And unfortunately we saw in the Bronx that 

19           the officer who was shot was shot by a 

20           defendant who was convicted in 

21           Family Court -- or I should say, right, it 

22           was not convicted, because it's not convicted 

23           in Family Court, but they took a plea deal 

24           for the firearm but now committed another 


                                                                   263

 1           firearm case and now the officer was shot.

 2                  So I think these are the things that 

 3           we could use to stop recidivism.  And I'm 

 4           hoping that we can get changes.  What's your 

 5           thoughts on that?

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Well, 

 7           Senator {sic}, we're looking at these issues 

 8           now.  And as I mentioned, the Governor is 

 9           holding a big conversation about guns 

10           tomorrow.  I'm aware that the Mayor proposed 

11           some things yesterday.  I've been preparing 

12           for this, and I haven't seen his plan.

13                  I would just say, on Raise the Age, 

14           that -- that Raise the Age, you know, 

15           dramatically changed how New York State's 

16           justice system processes cases involving kids 

17           who are 16 and 17.  The goal of Raise the 

18           Age, to keep those kids out of adult 

19           prisons -- and we're doing that.  Raise the 

20           Age is doing what it set out to do.

21                  But as with, you know, Raise the Age 

22           and bail and all of these other initiatives, 

23           they came about and they were passed by the 

24           Legislature to solve problems of the past.  I 


                                                                   264

 1           don't think anybody believes that they're 

 2           perfect solutions, but we remain open, you 

 3           know, to all the conversations.  We're in 

 4           touch with, as I said earlier, through the 

 5           CACs we're in touch with folks on the ground 

 6           trying to solve crimes.  We're in touch, 

 7           through SNUG, with folks at the community -- 

 8           and you're right, you know, we're in touch 

 9           with the folks who are working with the gangs 

10           to prevent these things from happening.

11                  So I think we all have to be -- 

12           collectively we all have to be open to, you 

13           know, new conversations.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

16                  Next is Senator Gounardes.

17                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Thank you, 

18           Senator Krueger.  

19                  Hello, Commissioner.  Really 

20           appreciate your dialogue on a lot of these 

21           issues today.

22                  I want to focus a little bit on hate 

23           crimes.  There was a recent report that said, 

24           based on NYPD data, that there was a 


                                                                   265

 1           361 percent increase in hate crimes 

 2           specifically against Asian-Americans in 

 3           New York City over the last year.  And so I'd 

 4           love to hear you talk a little bit more about 

 5           what more we can be doing in relation to 

 6           helping to stop these hate crimes from being 

 7           committed.  

 8                  I know the Governor proposed the 

 9           $25 million I think in capital costs for 

10           enhanced security for Securing Communities 

11           Against Hate Crimes, but that's for capital.

12                  What more should we be doing to 

13           address this outrageous spike in hate crimes 

14           targeting some of our neighbors?

15                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you, 

16           Senator.  As you know, you know, we believe 

17           that hate doesn't have a place in New York 

18           State.  

19                  And we -- at DCJS we collect and 

20           report the data on hate crimes incidents, and 

21           we give that data back, you know, to all of 

22           you, to the communities and to the law 

23           enforcement agencies.  Police agencies are 

24           required to report hate crime incidents to 


                                                                   266

 1           DCJS.  The investigating police officers are 

 2           responsible for determining if an offense is 

 3           a hate crime and identifying the specific 

 4           bias or motivation.

 5                  And then using that information, DCJS 

 6           publishes an annual report providing an 

 7           overview of hate crime incidents and arrests 

 8           throughout New York.  To ensure the 

 9           completeness of the information, DCJS staff 

10           follow up with all reporting agencies to 

11           ensure that the data is submitted each month.  

12           And to ensure the accuracy of the 

13           information, staff review the incident report 

14           as it is received and then contact the 

15           submitting agency to correct any details.

16                  From the most recent data, through the 

17           first months of 2021, hate crimes are up 

18           52 percent compared to the same period in 

19           2020.  The most notable increase was an 

20           anti-Asian bias --

21                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Commissioner, I 

22           just want to cut you off a second.  We know 

23           the data.  We know what the numbers are 

24           showing.  I don't need to hear the process.  


                                                                   267

 1           I'd love to hear your thoughts.

 2                  What else should we be doing from a 

 3           funding perspective, from a law perspective?  

 4           Clearly we know there's a problem.  And so 

 5           based on your experience and your expertise, 

 6           where do you think we can be improving and 

 7           moving the ball down the field to keeping 

 8           these neighbors safe, who literally fear 

 9           walking down the street based on their -- you 

10           know, their ethnic, their cultural, their 

11           physical attributes?  

12                  Do you have any thoughts, any 

13           suggestions, anything you can be doing more 

14           of, looking at more?  I'd really appreciate 

15           your insights there.

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yeah, sure.

17                  I think that, you know, we have the 

18           $25 million in the Securing Communities 

19           Against Hate Crimes grant program, and I 

20           think we should do what we do with our other 

21           programs, which is listen to folks on the 

22           ground and try to help them with the 

23           resources that they need.

24                  And in the case of the Securing 


                                                                   268

 1           Communities Against Hate Crimes grants, we 

 2           had over 352 applications.  And we got more 

 3           money in the new budget for more of those.  

 4           Those are -- and those are the organizations 

 5           that are not only just being targeted, but 

 6           also work with folks, you know, in those 

 7           communities.  And so we should listen to them 

 8           and help them access the resources they need.

 9                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  I'd love to carry 

10           on this conversation with you offline, as my 

11           time has expired.  Thank you.

12                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Any time.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

14                  I believe the next Assemblymember up 

15           is Assemblymember Harvey Epstein.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

17           Chair Krueger.  

18                  And thank you, Commissioner, for being 

19           with us today.  I really appreciate your 

20           time.  

21                  I'm wondering -- this is a different 

22           conversation point about trainings for police 

23           officers in using firearms and tasers.  You 

24           know, we had an incident recently where, you 


                                                                   269

 1           know, someone was tased and unfortunately 

 2           they were set on fire.  I'm wondering if you 

 3           think there should be a centralized process 

 4           for training people how to use firearms and 

 5           tasers before they have access to them.

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Well, we do 

 7           have a centralized process, Senator {sic}.  

 8           We have, as you may know, the Office of 

 9           Public Safety at DCJS.  We have an incredible 

10           staff of folks who work every day to help law 

11           enforcement, you know, both implementing kind 

12           of the Professional Policing Act, but also 

13           trainings -- a long list for trainings for 

14           existing what we call in-service officers, 

15           people who, you know, came through the 

16           academy a long time ago.  And so that 

17           includes firearms.

18                  And I want to --

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Commissioner, 

20           you know, I don't have a tremendous amount of 

21           time, so I don't mean to cut you off, but --

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Oh, no, 

23           please.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  But my 


                                                                   270

 1           understanding is for every officer statewide 

 2           there isn't one centralized training program 

 3           so that every officer across the state -- but 

 4           maybe we can continue this conversation 

 5           offline and talk more about it.

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I'm happy 

 7           to talk to you offline.  We have basic 

 8           courses at BCOP --

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  And it's 

10           mandatory for everyone?

11                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes.  

12           Except for State Police.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  And so I just 

14           wanted to follow up with you around some of 

15           the information you said around rearrests.

16                  I'm wondering what the numbers are for 

17           people who are rearrested who when they 

18           initially were arrested, bail was set and 

19           then they were released.  Were they -- what 

20           data do you have about those people being 

21           rearrested who had bail the first time and 

22           then maybe were rearrested for violent or 

23           nonviolent offenses or not rearrested?

24                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Let me see 


                                                                   271

 1           what I have, if I have the numbers.  

 2           Rearrests -- did you say after paid bail?

 3                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Yeah, after bail 

 4           was set and they paid bail.

 5                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Got it.  So 

 6           here are the numbers I have for rearrests 

 7           after paid bail.  This is, again, from a 

 8           limited analysis of 2020 arraignments where 

 9           defendants posted bail.

10                  Thirty percent -- which would be 906 

11           out of 2986 -- of individuals who posted bail 

12           in New York City were rearrested.  And 

13           32 percent in the rest of the state, the 

14           32 percent being 619 out of 1963.

15                  The individuals who posted bail were 

16           rearrested at a greater rate than those 

17           released on their own recognizance.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  And do you know, 

19           were they rearrested for violent or 

20           nonviolent offenses?

21                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  That I 

22           would have to get back to you.  We'd have to 

23           do a deeper dive into those cases.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I'd greatly 


                                                                   272

 1           appreciate that.  Because, you know, the 

 2           conversation around bail, we need facts.

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Absolutely, 

 4           yes.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  You know, 

 6           obviously -- I represent one of the seven 

 7           neighborhoods across the state where we see 

 8           75 percent of incarcerated folks coming 

 9           from --

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Let me tell 

11           you that I am extremely motivated that we 

12           have conversations around accurate data.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you 

14           Commissioner.  Thank you, Chair Krueger.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

16           much.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator, do you 

18           have any other Senators?

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Hello.  I've been 

20           just going down the Assembly list, 

21           Assemblywoman.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  So I'm 

23           back.  They certainly fixed my computer; now 

24           I can see everybody.  


                                                                   273

 1                  So we're going to go to -- I see 

 2           Assemblywoman Walker is here.  She was next 

 3           on the list, so we'll go to her.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.

 5                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Awesome.  Thank 

 6           you much.  

 7                  And thank you so much for your 

 8           testimony as well.

 9                  So one of the things that we have 

10           noticed here is that there's some 

11           contradictory data between the Mayor's Office 

12           of Criminal Justice and then the report that 

13           your office has placed out.  And so one of 

14           the things that we saw was that the data from 

15           the Mayor's office includes information 

16           post -- pre, sorry, pre-bail reform, and then 

17           they looked at it juxtaposed -- with respect 

18           to the rearrests, they looked at it 

19           juxtaposed to post-bail reform.

20                  Does your data show, you know, any 

21           analysis of that pre-bail reform information?  

22           Because, you know, for whatever reason, 

23           people think bail is a phenomenon that just 

24           began in 2019, as opposed to recognizing that 


                                                                   274

 1           people have been paying bail and being 

 2           released since, you know, the beginning of 

 3           time.  For the State of New York, at least.

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes, 

 5           Senator {sic}, I do not have the city's data.  

 6           I know that they collect that and that they 

 7           report it in that way, but we don't have 

 8           access to that data.

 9                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  So one of the 

10           things that I wanted to just also ask is 

11           whether or not the Division of Criminal 

12           Justice Services, with respect to desk 

13           appearance tickets -- there's also been this 

14           conversation about these sort of repeat 

15           arrests with respect to desk appearance 

16           tickets.  

17                  Now, if a person is arrested for, 

18           let's say, a petty -- stole a bottle of 

19           aspirin and they go to the precinct for a 

20           desk appearance ticket, it's DCJS that has to 

21           approve that desk appearance ticket.  Part of 

22           the question is whether or not there's 

23           another rearrest before that person actually 

24           appears in court.


                                                                   275

 1                  Is it possible, through your agency, 

 2           that you can have a shortened time period for 

 3           when that person actually appears in court so 

 4           that there isn't as much of a time period for 

 5           another rearrest during that wait?

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I 

 7           understand the question that you're asking, 

 8           and I'd like to look into it for my own 

 9           curiosity.  But that information is not 

10           reported to DCJS.

11                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  No, the -- so 

12           it's DCJS who actually approves the desk 

13           appearance ticket -- no?

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  No, it's 

15           not.

16                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Okay.  So do 

17           you know which agency that provides that 

18           approval?

19                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  No.  There 

20           may be an entity in the city.  I mean, I'd 

21           have to look into that.  I'm sure someone in 

22           this agency will be able to answer that 

23           question.

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Okay.  All 


                                                                   276

 1           right.  So that --

 2                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  It's not -- 

 3           it's not DCJS.

 4                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Okay.  And then 

 5           the information that was provided with 

 6           respect to the rearrest -- no, so one of the 

 7           things, too, does your organization also deal 

 8           with like maybe the algorithm or the system 

 9           in terms of how a person gets determined to 

10           get release on their own recognizance because 

11           there was some --

12                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  (Shaking 

13           head.)

14                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  No, you don't 

15           deal with --

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  (Shaking 

17           head.)

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  So none of 

19           those pretrial services gets included in, you 

20           know, sort of looking at -- because it's the 

21           pretrial services that determines whether or 

22           not someone gets -- when they are released on 

23           their own recognizance, how that scorecard 

24           gets, you know, utilized, the community 


                                                                   277

 1           check-ins and all of the other things with 

 2           respect to bail reform.

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  We collect 

 4           the data, but we don't provide the services.  

 5           We don't -- you know, that would be somewhere 

 6           between OCA and -- you know, and the city.

 7                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALKER:  Okay.  Thank 

 8           you.

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

10                  We go to Assemblywoman Wallace now.

11                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALLACE:  Good 

12           afternoon, Commissioner.  Thank you so much.

13                  A few times today you were asked about 

14           if we implemented this initiative or that 

15           initiative, how quickly would DCJS be able to 

16           get that up and running.  And I believe you 

17           mentioned a few times that once it was passed 

18           by this Legislature, DCJS has the ability to 

19           get the programs up and running pretty 

20           quickly.

21                  I want to talk about a program that we 

22           passed in last year's budget.  In last year's 

23           budget you may recall we allocated 

24           $10 million for the purchase of police body 


                                                                   278

 1           cameras by local municipalities to help 

 2           offset the costs associated with acquiring 

 3           them, because we recognized that there was a 

 4           need to increase transparency in policing, 

 5           and we thought that that would be a good 

 6           practice.

 7                  But to date, to my knowledge, none of 

 8           that money has been allocated, and I don't 

 9           even think that there's a plan for allocating 

10           or granting that money.  There has been -- I 

11           know the police agencies that I work with 

12           have been looking -- asking questions about 

13           how can we apply for it, and I haven't really 

14           received any answers yet.

15                  So I'm wondering -- I just wanted to 

16           flag that for you, and I wanted to see if you 

17           had any sense of how quickly it is that you 

18           can get that up and running.  And if you 

19           don't have an answer to that, I guess I'd ask 

20           that you look into that and reach out and let 

21           us know.

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes, I am 

23           aware, because you sent me a letter.

24                  And as I mentioned earlier, I've been 


                                                                   279

 1           here for eight weeks.  And within the eight 

 2           weeks, I got your letter, we have a response, 

 3           I believe there is an RFI, we do have a plan.  

 4                  And I don't know what the delay was.  

 5           As I said, I got here on November 30th and I 

 6           am extremely motivated to move solutions out 

 7           the door.  So I will -- I believe we have a 

 8           response to you or we sent a response to you, 

 9           Assemblymember.  I will look -- you know, I 

10           will look into it and definitely get back to 

11           you directly.  

12                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALLACE:  Okay.  And 

13           when do you anticipate once the RFI goes out, 

14           how quickly do you think you might be able to 

15           get those funds out the door?

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  For me, 

17           it's as soon as possible.

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN WALLACE:  Okay.  Thank 

19           you.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

21           Assemblyman Lawler.

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you, 

23           Madam Chair.

24                  And thank you, Commissioner, for 


                                                                   280

 1           joining us. 

 2                  I know you're two months in, and so I 

 3           understand, you know, you're not going to 

 4           have everything at your disposal.  But I want 

 5           to follow up on something that my colleague 

 6           Mr. Reilly focused on a short while ago with 

 7           respect to Raise the Age.

 8                  According to DCJS, in 2020 only 

 9           3 percent of 16- and 17-year-old AOs were 

10           arrested for a felony -- that were arrested 

11           for a felony received a felony conviction.  

12           So that was only 119 out of 3,727 AOs 

13           received a felony conviction.  And of that, 

14           only 44 were sentenced to one year or more of 

15           imprisonment.  And that is -- notwithstanding 

16           the fact that 48 of those folks were arrested 

17           for homicide, 52 for attempted homicide, 55 

18           for sex offenses, 460 for firearms and 

19           dangerous weapon offenses.

20                  So when we talk about the rise in gun 

21           violence in New York City and we're looking 

22           at some of these stats from DCJS, isn't it 

23           concerning to you in some way that we aren't 

24           going after violent offenders, even if 


                                                                   281

 1           they're 16 and 17 years old?  As my colleague 

 2           pointed out, many of those folks are being 

 3           used by gangs in furtherance of crime, 

 4           because they're not going to be treated the 

 5           same as adults.

 6                  And so some of these violent offenses 

 7           and gun violence really needs to be 

 8           reexamined.  And in light of the Governor's 

 9           comments the other day, the Mayor's comments 

10           the other day, many of my colleagues' 

11           comments today, don't we need to kind of 

12           reevaluate that a little based on those 

13           statistics?

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I think 

15           it's the job of -- I mean, I think it's 

16           appropriate to reevaluate, you know, all 

17           initiatives.  I reiterate that the goal of 

18           Raise the Age and our responsibility was to 

19           implement what was passed and agreed upon.  

20           The goal of Raise the Age was to keep 16 and 

21           17 year olds out of adult prisons.  We've 

22           done that.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Right.  But -- 

24           but -- but -- and I understand that was the 


                                                                   282

 1           goal.  And in most cases I think that's a 

 2           fair goal.  But when you're talking about 

 3           violent offenders -- I mean, 48 people were 

 4           arrested for homicide, 52 for attempted 

 5           homicide, 55 for sex offenses, 460 for 

 6           firearm or dangerous weapons -- and only 44 

 7           were sentenced to a year or more in prison, 

 8           and only 119 were actually convicted of a 

 9           felony offense.  

10                  So I get we want to keep them out of 

11           an adult prison, but not at the expense of 

12           public safety.  And certainly if they're 

13           committing violent felonies, that needs to be 

14           the priority, not keeping them out of an 

15           adult prison just for the sake of reaching 

16           some laudatory goal.

17                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I think as 

18           I mentioned earlier, you know, the Governor 

19           -- I mean, this is an appropriate moment to 

20           talk about gun violence.  Which, you know, I 

21           would only, you know, continue to point out 

22           that it's not a New York problem, it's a 

23           national problem.  And we need help, you 

24           know, from the federal government in that 


                                                                   283

 1           regard too, across the board, with all crimes 

 2           that involve guns.

 3                  Our job at DCJS is to track them and 

 4           to give the data back to law enforcement and 

 5           to work with all of you and people in elected 

 6           office to, you know, find the right 

 7           solutions.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  And I know my 

 9           time has expired, but I --

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

11                  We go to Assemblyman Tannousis.  Thank 

12           you.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN TANNOUSIS:  Thank you so 

14           much.

15                  Thank you, Commissioner, for 

16           testifying before us today.  

17                  I know that you went through some 

18           statistics in regards to defendants that were 

19           released because of bail reform and how many 

20           of those individuals reoffended.  I just -- I 

21           know that you divided it with misdemeanors, 

22           violent felonies and nonviolent felonies.  

23                  What I'm interested in is a total 

24           picture of how many of those individuals were 


                                                                   284

 1           arrested again, whether it be a misdemeanor, 

 2           felony or violent felony.  Do you have those 

 3           total statistics for us?

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I don't 

 5           have them in front of me, but we have them 

 6           available.  They're posted on our website.  

 7           And I'm happy to do a deep dive with our 

 8           research people -- anytime, you know, you're 

 9           available, we can give you precise data based 

10           on, you know, what we've posted so far.

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN TANNOUSIS:  Okay.  But I 

12           just want to be clear about something.  

13           Because before you testified, Judge Marks 

14           testified, and he threw out a number, and I 

15           want to ask you if this is accurate.  He said 

16           22 percent of individuals that were released 

17           because of bail reform recommitted another 

18           crime.  Is that accurate?  Is that specific 

19           to felonies or nonviolent felonies or 

20           misdemeanors, or was he mistaken as to that 

21           number?

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I can't say 

23           if he was mistaken because I'm not looking at 

24           the data that he's looking at.  I can look 


                                                                   285

 1           at -- I am certain that we're both looking at 

 2           the same data that we posted on both of our 

 3           websites and I'm happy to go through that.  

 4                  And I don't remember -- I was watching 

 5           his testimony; I don't remember the 

 6           20 percent number.  But I'm happy to take a 

 7           look at that for you.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN TANNOUSIS:  Okay.  Thank 

 9           you very much.

10                  And I also just want to ask you one 

11           more question in regards to Mayor Adams, his 

12           press conference yesterday where he stated 

13           that there are changes that need to be made 

14           in regards to the Legislature's bail reform 

15           laws that were passed a few years back.

16                  What is your position as to those 

17           laws, being that you do have the statistics?  

18           Do you think that there needs to be a change 

19           in regards to these laws for the safety of 

20           New Yorkers, or is there another solution 

21           that you see going forward?

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I think 

23           that, you know, the role of DCJS is to 

24           implement the laws as they are passed, and 


                                                                   286

 1           we've done that.  And I think that the 

 2           conversations are taking place -- I did not 

 3           get to watch, you know, the Mayor's.  I think 

 4           that based on this weekend's events, you 

 5           know, we're all feeling incredibly sad and 

 6           motivated, you know, to address all of these 

 7           policies.  And I think that those 

 8           conversations should happen.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN TANNOUSIS:  Okay.  Thank 

10           you very much.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

12           Brown.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN BROWN:  Thank you, 

14           Madam Chair.

15                  Commissioner, thank you for being 

16           here.  I wanted to ask you -- I'm the ranker 

17           of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and 

18           Substance Abuse.  And with bail reform, a 

19           very powerful tool was taken away to treat 

20           individuals with substance abuse problems by 

21           having an opportunity to go in front of a 

22           judge and take involuntary treatment in lieu 

23           of incarceration.

24                  So my question to you is, how can we 


                                                                   287

 1           get back that tool, get people into treatment 

 2           more easily, you know, get them in front of a 

 3           drug court judge to allow them the 

 4           opportunity to choose treatment in lieu of 

 5           incarceration?  Thank you.

 6                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.  

 7           Thank you for the question.  I think that 

 8           question is a good one, and it's appropriate 

 9           for both OASAS and OCA, who really -- that's 

10           their bailiwick, and we're not -- we don't 

11           have a direct role in that.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN BROWN:  That was my 

13           question, Madam Chair.

14                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN BROWN:  Thank you.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

17                  So our last -- oh, we have Assemblyman 

18           Burdick and then Assemblyman Palmesano.  

19                  But Assemblyman Burdick, the floor is 

20           yours.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you.

22                  And congratulations, Commissioner, on 

23           your recent appointment.  

24                  I represent Bedford, which has two 


                                                                   288

 1           correctional facilities, as you may know.  

 2           And there are several community-based 

 3           organizations which have done really and are 

 4           continuing to do a stellar job in providing 

 5           correction programs for those who are 

 6           incarcerated there.  And I notice that in -- 

 7           your website sets out the core services of 

 8           your agency, which includes funding and 

 9           oversight of probation and community 

10           correction programs.

11                  So I have two questions related to 

12           that.  One is, where -- what funding is in 

13           the Executive Budget for such programs, and 

14           how might it be accessed?  Is it done through 

15           grants?  And if you don't have the answer to 

16           that, I'm fine with hearing back from you on 

17           that.

18                  And the other is, can you explain how 

19           your agency coordinates and collaborates with 

20           DOCCS in terms of the oversight of probation 

21           and community correction programs?

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Sure.  On 

23           the first question, we work through existing 

24           communities -- you know, through the existing 


                                                                   289

 1           community organizations --

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sorry.  Could 

 3           everyone else please mute your lines so we 

 4           can hear the commissioner?  Thank you.

 5                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Sorry about 

 6           that.

 7                  And I've been to both of the 

 8           facilities in your district.  I'm also a 

 9           Westchester resident.  So we work through the 

10           organizations that exist, and we work through 

11           our office -- OPCA, I'm learning all the 

12           acronyms, works directly with the 

13           organizations, with probation officers in the 

14           communities, and we, you know, provide 

15           funding for tons of organizations doing this 

16           work at the very local level.

17                  And your second question, you know, we 

18           work closely with DOCCS.  As you know, at 

19           DCJS we oversee probation directly, and DOCCS 

20           oversees what we used to know as parole, but 

21           is community supervision now.  And those are 

22           people who are mostly released from the state 

23           prisons and have still time to serve, you 

24           know, under supervision.


                                                                   290

 1                  But we collaborate -- as I mentioned 

 2           in my testimony, in the new budget we have 

 3           some money, we're going to use our trainers 

 4           to help do some training of parole officers 

 5           in the Jobs to Jail program, you know, in 

 6           workforce development and to help the 

 7           folks -- you know, to help them with their 

 8           clients who are on parole.  And, you know, we 

 9           have a lot of mutual, you know, support 

10           between DOCCS and DCJS.  They don't report to 

11           us and we don't report to them, but we 

12           collaborate on a lot --

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  I'm sorry to 

14           interrupt, but could you get back to me with 

15           how we can get information to some of these 

16           local groups on accessing some of the funding 

17           that you mentioned, you know, for the 

18           programs?

19                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Absolutely.  

20           Absolutely.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  That would be 

22           wonderful.

23                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I'm 

24           interested to know if you have organizations 


                                                                   291

 1           that haven't received our funding or who, you 

 2           know, may qualify.  You know, some 

 3           organizations are tiny and we work with them, 

 4           you know, to partner with others so that we 

 5           can move the money to them more efficiently 

 6           and help them --

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  That would be 

 8           great if I could get some information on 

 9           that.

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Absolutely.

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you so 

12           much, Commissioner.  Appreciate it.

13                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

15                  And our last questioner is Assemblyman 

16           Palmesano.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Thank you, 

18           Commissioner.

19                  I know there's been a lot of talk 

20           about the rising gun violence that's going on 

21           in our cities across the state.  You know, we 

22           talk about New York City a lot, obviously.  

23           Isn't it time -- we all know that Mayor de 

24           Blasio got rid of the Anti-Crime Unit, whose 


                                                                   292

 1           job and focus was to track down and find 

 2           illegal guns that are used in the commission 

 3           of a crime.  Wouldn't you agree it's time for 

 4           us to reinstate the Anti-Crime Unit in 

 5           New York City to maybe help on this 

 6           situation?  And if there's a -- we could make 

 7           a direct correlation in the closing down of 

 8           that Anti-Crime Unit with the increase in gun  

 9           violence that you're seeing in New York 

10           City -- and isn't there a direct correlation 

11           there?  

12                  And shouldn't they re-set that up 

13           again so we can have the Anti-Crime Unit on 

14           the streets trying to find the gun 

15           trafficking and the illegal guns?  Which they 

16           were tasked to do before the mayor closed it 

17           down.

18                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you, 

19           Assemblyman.

20                  I -- you know, as I said earlier, I 

21           believe, you know, that we're all in this 

22           moment in time based on the incidents of the 

23           last few weeks.  We have a new mayor.  I 

24           understand -- I think he spoke about that 


                                                                   293

 1           yesterday too, and I haven't had time to 

 2           really focus on it.  But I believe that we're 

 3           all looking for solutions and that it's time 

 4           to -- you know, to reevaluate all the things 

 5           that happened.  Sometimes things that worked 

 6           in the past can work again.  

 7                  And we stand ready, again, when all 

 8           those conversations are done and those of you 

 9           who are elected into these positions, as well 

10           as the Governor and the Mayor, and everyone 

11           agrees on what to do, we stand ready to 

12           implement at every level any innovative ideas 

13           that will work to (a) reduce gun violence and 

14           keep our communities safe.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  One of my 

16           colleagues, Mr. Lawler, was talking about 

17           the -- and Mr. Reilly were talking about the 

18           Raise the Age, and Mr. Lawler brought up some 

19           of the statistics.  Along with those 

20           statistics, do we have -- do you have -- 

21           where are the rearrest statistics for those 

22           individuals who qualify under Raise the Age?  

23           Where are those numbers as far as rearrests 

24           and reoffense, so we can see them for 


                                                                   294

 1           transparency purposes?  

 2                  And wouldn't you agree that there are 

 3           a multitude of crimes that are being 

 4           committed that we don't even know about?  And 

 5           doesn't this really kind of -- not 

 6           having these numbers or not being transparent 

 7           with the numbers really kind of question the 

 8           accuracy of the statistics that are really 

 9           being provided by DCJS and OCA?

10                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  As I -- 

11           I'll make you the same offer as everyone on 

12           this call.  I'm happy to take you through a 

13           deep dive.  I'm sure the numbers exist.  I 

14           don't have them on my screen.  We can help 

15           you find them.  You know, we can help to find 

16           them and, again, help you make the --

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Appreciate 

18           that.

19                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  -- with the 

20           most accurate information and make the 

21           comparisons.

22                  I understand --

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Wouldn't you 

24           agree that it's important for the public to 


                                                                   295

 1           know those numbers as well?  I mean, not just 

 2           the --

 3                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes, we 

 4           post -- all of the numbers that I would take 

 5           you through, you know, with the research 

 6           folks are already posted.  You know, we post 

 7           all of our numbers online.

 8                  But those -- you know, that doesn't 

 9           mean they're easy to analyze.  One of my 

10           visions for the agency is that we also spend 

11           some time, you know, on the narratives, you 

12           know, on helping folks understand what those 

13           numbers mean.  You know, bring that back to 

14           the communities as well.

15                  But I thank you for the question.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Thank you, 

17           Commissioner.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Now we go to 

19           Assemblywoman Kelles, who I believe is our 

20           last questioner for this witness.

21                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Hi, and 

22           congratulations, I want to add my 

23           congratulations as well.

24                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.


                                                                   296

 1                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Absolutely.

 2                  I see that you're starting a program 

 3           to reduce rural juvenile delinquency.  That's 

 4           one of the programs that there's I think an 

 5           RFP out.  I'm curious, the criteria -- when 

 6           you put your programs together, are you 

 7           looking at things like programs that are 

 8           providing community services, housing 

 9           stability, mental health supports, substance 

10           use issues, some of these issues that we have 

11           seen that are highly critical correlated with 

12           criminality, to help reduce some of those?

13                  Or is this specifically addressing, 

14           you know, helping getting people who are 

15           committing crimes off the street?  I'm trying 

16           to get a sense of what you're looking for in 

17           the program.

18                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes -- no, 

19           I don't know about the actual one you 

20           mentioned, but I can tell you that, for 

21           example, before I got here -- as I said, I've 

22           been here eight weeks and kind of focused on 

23           confirmation and this, which -- I haven't 

24           been confirmed yet, though.  But I've been 


                                                                   297

 1           focused on preparing for the -- you know, on 

 2           the budget.

 3                  But I can tell you, for example, I 

 4           want to say two years ago in the SNUG 

 5           program, you know, we had a very important 

 6           collaboration between the folks doing SNUG 

 7           and the Office of Victim Services, OVS, where 

 8           OVS provided funding from some of the federal 

 9           funding to provide social workers in those 

10           SNUG sites.  

11                  Because, you know, we know from the 

12           people on the ground that some of these 

13           issues can be solved, you know, with case 

14           management, with alternatives to 

15           incarceration, with redirecting of resources 

16           where someone may -- you know, I don't know, 

17           may need a notebook or some tool that they 

18           need, you know, for -- especially in the work 

19           we do with youth.

20                  So, you know, in all of our work, both 

21           with law enforcement and with community 

22           folks, we try to have a holistic approach, 

23           which is --

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Great.


                                                                   298

 1                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  -- why the 

 2           money that we got in the budget this year 

 3           allows us a little more flexibility to 

 4           address those things that are not, you know, 

 5           in the budget line.  You know, whether you 

 6           have to try to help someone get a pair of 

 7           shoes or a shirt for an interview.  I mean, 

 8           we have to --

 9                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  I'm going to 

10           throw in -- thank you so -- I'm going to 

11           definitely be one of those people and get in 

12           line to meet with you, because I would love 

13           to hear more in depth about these.

14                  I'm going to just throw a 

15           few things --

16                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  

17           (Inaudible.)

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Thank you.  

19           Thank you.  So I'm going to throw a few 

20           things out there about the training with law 

21           enforcement on implicit bias.  If you could 

22           describe some of that, community policing 

23           efforts.  

24                  And the third one, I'm particularly 


                                                                   299

 1           interested in your focus on or support of or 

 2           help in expanding Law Enforcement Assisted 

 3           Diversion programs, LEAD programs.

 4                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  So I can 

 5           tell you I'm -- first of all, thank you for 

 6           providing an opportunity to talk about the 

 7           professional policing.  You know, we had an 

 8           executive order, 203, which allowed us to 

 9           work with, you know, the local law 

10           enforcement.  

11                  I think as I mentioned earlier, one of 

12           my goals is to tell the positive stories.  I 

13           mean, we've focused on all the things we've 

14           talked about today, but this agency has a lot 

15           of, you know, great things to demonstrate  

16           how we've worked with law enforcement and how 

17           we have provided tools.  

18                  You mentioned implicit bias.  We 

19           have -- you know, DCJS was consulted on the 

20           guidance that the administration provided to 

21           the police agencies as a result of EO203, 

22           which is where, you know, the police 

23           departments submitted plans last year.  And, 

24           you know, I was on the outside of the agency 


                                                                   300

 1           and I said, I wonder whatever happened to 

 2           those plans.  And, you know, we were busy 

 3           dealing with COVID, and so everybody just 

 4           assumes nothing happened.  

 5                  And I came to this agency and I was -- 

 6           it was heartwarming to know that a lot of 

 7           things were being done, in fact, as a result 

 8           of that.  And we've talked to folks outside 

 9           of the agency who are also looking at the 

10           plans and really saying to police 

11           departments, We want to help you accomplish 

12           these plans.  As you remember, that process 

13           involved bringing stakeholders and 

14           communities to the table, and we want to help 

15           them go back to those communities and say, 

16           Here are the solutions, how can we help?

17                  Some of that is resources, and some of 

18           them are learning modules.  We've already 

19           been involved, our Office of Public Safety 

20           has already been involved over the last year 

21           in training law enforcement, specifically 

22           officers and folks both in the academy and 

23           what we call in-service, training on implicit 

24           bias, on deescalation, on, you know, kind of 


                                                                   301

 1           all of these -- you know, the buzzwords of 

 2           the things that we actually provide training 

 3           on how to do these things in the spirit of -- 

 4           in the spirit of professional policing.  

 5                  And we've had a lot of success --

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Commissioner, 

 7           I --

 8                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Yes?

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I hate to cut 

10           you off --

11                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Oh, is that 

12           the clock?  I'm sorry.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- because it's 

14           exciting information you're sharing with us.  

15           And perhaps, you know, we can have some 

16           follow-up conversations offline on it.

17                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  I'm happy 

18           to do that.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Right now I've 

20           been -- and also I've known you for a while.  

21           Congratulations in this new role --

22                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- and look 

24           forward to continuing to work with you.


                                                                   302

 1                  I would like to turn it back over to 

 2           the -- our chair Senator Krueger for the next 

 3           witness.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Thank 

 5           you very much.  

 6                  And yes, thank you, Commissioner 

 7           Rosado, and welcome to your new assignments 

 8           in Albany.  We all look forward to continuing 

 9           to work with you.  Clearly there are many 

10           members who have I think some really 

11           excellent ideas as well as proposals, so 

12           thank you very much for your time today.

13                  DCJS COMMISSIONER ROSADO:  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And we're going 

15           to move now to -- for people who are 

16           following, we have a very long agenda for the 

17           remainder of the day.  We're really only on 

18           No. 5, Anthony Annucci, the New York State 

19           Department of Corrections and Community 

20           Supervision.  And Anthony has been the acting 

21           commissioner for a very long time, but 

22           apparently he likes that job and doesn't want 

23           to become the commissioner.

24                  Are you with us, Commissioner?


                                                                   303

 1                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Good 

 2           morning, Senator.  Yes, I am with you.  

 3                  And I'm also pleased to announce that 

 4           my name was submitted in nomination by 

 5           Governor Kathy Hochul.  So I'm very pleased 

 6           about that and look forward to the 

 7           confirmation process.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Wonderful.  And 

 9           you had the illusion you'd be testifying in 

10           the morning, but for the record it is 

11           actually a quarter to 3:00 in the afternoon.  

12                  (Laughter.)

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I 

14           apologize.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  It's not your 

16           fault.

17                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Good 

18           afternoon --

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  It's our fault; 

20           we have so many questions for everyone.

21                  So please, you have 10 minutes to 

22           submit your testimony to us.

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure.  

24           Thank you.


                                                                   304

 1                  Good afternoon, Chairwoman Krueger, 

 2           Chairwoman Weinstein, and other distinguished 

 3           chairs and members of the Legislature.  I am 

 4           Anthony J. Annucci, acting commissioner for 

 5           the Department of Corrections and Community 

 6           Supervision.  It is my honor to discuss some 

 7           of the highlights of Governor Hochul's 

 8           Executive Budget plan and the various 

 9           initiatives that will benefit public safety.   

10                  Over the past year, while COVID-19 has 

11           plagued our nation and state, the department 

12           was not spared from its effects.  

13           Accordingly, at the start of the pandemic I 

14           convened a multidisciplinary COVID-19 Task 

15           Force to guide our comprehensive response.  

16                  Throughout the pandemic, there have 

17           been many heroes along the way.  Our 

18           essential workers, including corrections and 

19           community supervision staff, came to work 

20           every day and consistently carried out their 

21           professional duties in a superb manner, 

22           oftentimes going above and beyond their 

23           traditional responsibilities.  I am very 

24           proud of the dedication and sacrifice staff 


                                                                   305

 1           have displayed throughout the duration of the 

 2           pandemic, and I thank them for their tireless 

 3           efforts and resoluteness, despite the obvious 

 4           risks.  

 5                  Similarly, incarcerated individuals 

 6           have shown resiliency in the face of the many 

 7           changes in policies to keep them safe.  They 

 8           too contributed to the response effort in a 

 9           variety of ways, such as manufacturing 

10           millions of masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer, 

11           that significantly helped to support and 

12           protect fellow New Yorkers.  

13                  The dramatic reduction in the 

14           incarcerated population has assisted our 

15           ability to manage the system safely during 

16           this pandemic.  Through the efforts of the 

17           Legislature in enacting various laws, and the 

18           good work of DOCCS staff, New York leads the 

19           nation with the lowest imprisonment rate of 

20           any large state.  Remarkably, the 

21           incarcerated population, now under 30,500, 

22           has decreased by more than 40,000 since 1999, 

23           marking the lowest total since 1983, and 

24           representing a 58 percent decline from its 


                                                                   306

 1           all-time high of 72,773.  More significantly, 

 2           the total population reduction since 

 3           January 1, 2020, exceeds 13,700.  

 4                  Even with these drastic reductions in 

 5           incarceration, New York proudly remains one 

 6           of the safest large states in the country.  

 7                  With this significant reduction in 

 8           population, the state has safely eliminated 

 9           excess capacity through the closing of 

10           correctional facilities and the removal of 

11           all double bunks in our medium-security 

12           facilities.  This year's closure process is 

13           underway with the transfer of staff to vacant 

14           positions at other facilities or offices, 

15           while the incarcerated population is 

16           transitioned into vacant beds elsewhere.  

17           There are no additional closures contemplated 

18           in the upcoming fiscal year.  

19                  Despite the pandemic, the department 

20           has worked hard on last year's new laws that 

21           included implementing voter registration for 

22           those being released from prison; moving 

23           individuals to facilities in close proximity 

24           to their children; preparing to enact the 


                                                                   307

 1           HALT and Less is More laws; and continuing to 

 2           expand our Medication Assisted Treatment 

 3           program.  I look forward to seeing these bold 

 4           new initiatives come to fruition, and I 

 5           believe that they will lead to better 

 6           outcomes for both the incarcerated and 

 7           releasee populations.  

 8                  The Governor has set a vision for this 

 9           state in the coming fiscal year, and the 

10           department is excited to pursue many new 

11           initiatives that will be more humane and 

12           better prepare individuals for reentry to 

13           their communities.  In addition to 

14           gender-affirming treatment for incarcerated 

15           individuals, the Governor's Jails to Jobs 

16           initiative prioritizes education by the 

17           restoration of Tuition Assistance Program 

18           funding for incarcerated students and an 

19           expansion of eligibility for educational 

20           release.  

21                  I have been a strong supporter of 

22           education throughout my tenure as acting 

23           commissioner, and I look forward to 

24           implementing the Governor's vision to elevate 


                                                                   308

 1           education behind the walls to a whole new 

 2           level altogether.  

 3                  Additionally, the other initiatives 

 4           include starting new programs that will align 

 5           with today’s workforce and conducting a 

 6           comprehensive review of existing vocational 

 7           programs to meet today's challenging job 

 8           market.  We will work with the Division of 

 9           Criminal Justice Services to train reentry 

10           managers and parole officers around the state 

11           on career planning and job placement and 

12           retention.  

13                  We will also leverage one of our 

14           residential treatment facilities as a pilot 

15           for use as transitional housing for 

16           undomiciled parolees returning to New York 

17           City. 

18                  Furthermore, we will offer stipends to 

19           the head of households that provide 

20           opportunities for those individuals to 

21           transition to stable housing, and we will 

22           eliminate the parole supervision fee.  

23                  Lastly, the Governor has proposed a 

24           constitutional amendment to allow for 


                                                                   309

 1           public-private partnerships that would enable 

 2           hybrid work-release programs within our 

 3           facilities.  

 4                  In conclusion, while we will continue 

 5           to tackle the many challenges posed by 

 6           COVID-19, under the Governor's vision, we 

 7           will continue to move this department forward 

 8           in support of a more just criminal justice 

 9           system that delivers necessary programs and 

10           services while simultaneously advancing 

11           safety within our facilities and in the 

12           community.  

13                  I look forward to furthering the 

14           Governor's agenda with the assistance of our 

15           professional, well-trained and dedicated 

16           workforce that performs its responsibilities 

17           in an exemplary manner, often under dangerous 

18           and difficult circumstances.  

19                  Thank you, and I will be happy to 

20           answer any questions.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

22           much.  

23                  And our first questioner is the chair, 

24           Julia Salazar.


                                                                   310

 1                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you, 

 2           Chair Krueger.  

 3                  Thank you so much, Commissioner, for 

 4           taking the time to testify today.  

 5                  I wanted to begin by asking you about 

 6           the Governor's proposal to allow gender 

 7           affirming treatment for incarcerated 

 8           individuals.  Does DOCCS currently take an 

 9           incarcerated individual's gender identity 

10           into consideration when determining where 

11           they will be housed?

12                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  The 

13           answer, Senator, is yes, we do.  We've had a 

14           process in place for a number of years.  We 

15           have a central office committee composed of 

16           deputy commissioners for program services and 

17           facility operations and class and movement, 

18           assistant commissioner for prayer and mental 

19           health, counsel, and I believe program 

20           services as well.  

21                  And every case is considered on an 

22           individual basis.  And we have moved 

23           individuals -- I will just call them trans, 

24           for purposes of this exchange.  But we take 


                                                                   311

 1           them into consideration, they have been 

 2           moved.  

 3                  A quick anecdotal story:  When I was 

 4           in Rikers island doing a tour and I toured 

 5           their unit, one individual recognized me.  

 6           She was from a state facility, and she came 

 7           up to me and said, "Commissioner, I want to 

 8           thank you.  I had been in a male facility, 

 9           you allowed me to be moved to a female 

10           facility, Taconic.  I'm much happier there."  

11           And I said, "Always happy.  We want you to 

12           succeed and be safe."  

13                  So with that, we're prepared to 

14           implement this new law, which will formalize 

15           many of the existing processes and do many 

16           other things; in particular, bring the locals 

17           online so that we can better coordinate, in 

18           advance, the information that we need before 

19           transfer happens.

20                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you.

21                  I'm curious about what effect the 

22           Governor's proposal would have on DOCCS 

23           online search -- you know, search of 

24           incarcerated individuals.  Will it display 


                                                                   312

 1           the gender identity that the person prefers 

 2           or their sex assigned at birth?  Do you know 

 3           yet what the impact would be there?

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, I 

 5           can tell you that currently -- the sex that 

 6           appears currently matches the gender 

 7           classification of the facility.  

 8                  But we are in the process of updating 

 9           the system to remove the sex field from 

10           display from the lookup.

11                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  And I wanted to ask 

12           also about the proposal to expand educational 

13           release and furlough.

14                  According to DOCCS' 2020 Temporary 

15           Release Report, it looks like only six 

16           individuals applied for educational release, 

17           and none were approved.  And according to 

18           previous temporary release reports, since 

19           2014 a total of only about 23 individuals 

20           applied for educational release, and none 

21           were approved.

22                  So I wanted to clarify, based on what 

23           the reports show, does zero participation 

24           mean that zero applicants were approved?  Is 


                                                                   313

 1           that correct, or were potentially some 

 2           approved and didn't participate for some 

 3           other reason?

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  More the 

 5           latter, Senator.  We have a number of 

 6           temporary release programs, and people can 

 7           simultaneously be approved for work release 

 8           and educational leave, and they might choose 

 9           to participate in work release.

10                  We have a number of other different 

11           types of temporary release programs, and a 

12           number of individuals may not have been 

13           eligible by virtue of their crime.

14                  The Governor's initiative changes this 

15           dramatically, because it takes a whole cohort 

16           that can't apply now, by allowing them to be 

17           eligible.  And these are people that have 

18           been in the system a long time.  Many of them 

19           are doing very well in college programs, and 

20           this will raise it to a whole new level by 

21           letting our incarcerated students learn side 

22           by side with students on the outside 

23           campuses.  Sometimes we brought the outside 

24           students in; it has opened their eyes.


                                                                   314

 1                  This will open the respective 

 2           individuals' eyes to each other as they side 

 3           by side learn at the same time in classrooms.

 4                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Great.  And assuming 

 5           that this policy is adopted in this year's 

 6           budget -- or, rather, it's in this year's 

 7           adopted budget -- and for the record, I hope 

 8           it will be -- how will incarcerated 

 9           individuals be informed of the policy change 

10           of the expanded eligibility, both actually 

11           for educational release but also for 

12           furlough?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, we 

14           will assuredly make sure that we put out the 

15           formal notices to the population.  It may be 

16           a memo from me to the entire population; it's 

17           easy enough for me to write something 

18           detailed to explain how it would work.  

19                  It's very exciting.  We already have 

20           so many in the college programs.  We have, 

21           for example, people at Otisville that might 

22           be interested in continuing to apply and 

23           participate in John Jay or wherever they 

24           would be accepted.  


                                                                   315

 1                  And the other benefit, it allows them 

 2           to participate in furlough at the same time.  

 3           So you would go temporarily to like 

 4           Queensboro, and then you would have a 

 5           furlough approved and you'd be allowed to go 

 6           there.  And after a year and a half of 

 7           combined total, you would meet the limited 

 8           credit time allowance to allow you to 

 9           actually be released six months early.

10                  So we will get the notice out.  There 

11           will be changes in the regulation.  There 

12           will be -- everyone that will need to know 

13           will know how to do it and be eligible to 

14           apply and be approved.

15                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  I want to pivot to a 

16           different subject entirely, and that's the 

17           Inspector General's report that was recently 

18           released that revealed that DOCCS had 

19           administered previously faulty drug tests, 

20           which led to false positives and of course in 

21           some cases -- in many cases -- led to 

22           punishments for incarcerated people that 

23           jeopardized their release dates or resulted 

24           in punitive segregation.


                                                                   316

 1                  What action has DOCCS taken to respond 

 2           to this and remedy the situation where there 

 3           was harm caused by the false positives?

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Yes, 

 5           Senator, thank you very much for that 

 6           question.  It is one of the most regrettable 

 7           things that happened in the past couple of 

 8           years.

 9                  I always say:  If anything, a 

10           corrections system has to be fair.  We have 

11           to hold ourselves accountable if we're ever 

12           to teach individuals entrusted to our custody 

13           to respect the law.  We committed a terrible 

14           mistake here.

15                  I can tell you that we no longer have 

16           that vendor and we've dramatically changed 

17           our policies going forward.  We (a) have a 

18           new vendor for the preliminary test, and now 

19           we have an outside laboratory that must 

20           confirm any test that indicates a positive 

21           result -- and only then will we take action.

22                  Moreover, we have changed our 

23           disciplinary system so that a positive drug 

24           test is only a Tier 2, it's not a Tier 3.  


                                                                   317

 1           You can only get SHU or segregated 

 2           confinement with a Tier 3 offense.  So we're 

 3           moving in a whole new direction altogether on 

 4           that.  

 5                  What I also did, once we realized the 

 6           terrible mishap that had happened, I convened 

 7           a major task force of every single discipline 

 8           in our system, and we met on a regular basis.  

 9           So we had class and movement, we had guidance 

10           and counseling, we had grievance, we had 

11           temporary release.  We had every program 

12           imaginable -- we had discipline, facility 

13           operations -- and we would review and counsel 

14           everything about unwinding every individual 

15           that had been affected, which included 

16           everybody that legitimately was positive.  It 

17           wasn't everybody that was a false positive, 

18           but in the interests of correcting this harm, 

19           we simply took everybody that had a positive 

20           test during that period and we took every 

21           possible action to restore good time, to 

22           expunge their records, to restore them to 

23           temporary release, closer to home transfers, 

24           whatever was involved.  It was a massive 


                                                                   318

 1           effort.

 2                  And I can also tell you that we do 

 3           have a lawsuit pending against the original 

 4           vendor, and I believe PLS and perhaps another 

 5           law firm also has a separate lawsuit on 

 6           behalf of the harmed incarcerated 

 7           individuals.

 8                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you.  It's 

 9           encouraging to hear that.

10                  I wanted to ask you a bit about the 

11           incarceration of older adults.  When does an 

12           incarcerated older person generally begin to 

13           be defined as an older individual or as 

14           aging?  At what age would they be designated 

15           that way by DOCCS?

16                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Senator, 

17           it's more or less an informal designation.  

18           It is not something that is defined as an 

19           official classification.

20                  So for example, for our senior 

21           program,  which is a program we're very proud 

22           of, the age is 55 and older.  For Adirondack 

23           it's 65 and older.  

24                  I think generally speaking, because 


                                                                   319

 1           we've compared ourselves to the regular 

 2           population, whereas you might look at 

 3           somebody 65 and older as a senior, it's fair 

 4           to use 55 as the cutoff, for a variety of 

 5           different reasons.  Many individuals come to 

 6           us with having not had the best healthcare in 

 7           their lives.  They may have had addiction 

 8           issues, they may have had smoking issues, 

 9           they may have high blood pressure.  And then 

10           of course add to that the stress of being 

11           confined and being separated from family; 

12           that could exacerbate any health problems.

13                  So generally speaking, 55 and older is 

14           kind of looked at by us as a senior category, 

15           but it's an unofficial classification.

16                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you, 

17           Commissioner.  I have many more questions, 

18           but I realize that I'm out of time, so I'll 

19           give it back to you, Chair.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

21           much.  

22                  Assemblymember Weinstein.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we're 

24           going to go to our ranker on Corrections, 


                                                                   320

 1           Assemblyman Giglio.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Thank you.  Thank 

 3           you.  Can you hear me?

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Yes.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Good afternoon, 

 6           Commissioner.  It's good to see you.

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Good to 

 8           see you.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  And I've got some 

10           questions.  My first question is, you've 

11           mentioned population.  And you mentioned that 

12           population keeps dropping.  And you use 1999 

13           as your base point.  Of course it's going to 

14           seem excessive at that point when you go back 

15           that many years.  I'd be more curious to -- a 

16           closer part.  How about like 2015 to 2021, to 

17           give us actual numbers, and see how much the 

18           drop -- you know, how dramatic that was.

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I can 

20           give you all those numbers.  I can even go 

21           back 50 years to give you the entire numbers.

22                  I can tell you that prior to twenty -- 

23           prior to COVID, which was 2020, that in 2019 

24           we had the single biggest drop in the history 


                                                                   321

 1           of Corrections.  And so we -- our decline 

 2           matched the declining crime rate and came 

 3           well past all the Rockefeller drug laws.  

 4                  I have a chart here, I can give you 

 5           the population totals from 2021 going back to 

 6           1970.  I think 2018 we were at 47,459; 2017, 

 7           50,271; 2016, 51,466; 2015, 52,344.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Okay.  Well, 

 9           thank you.  Thank you.

10                  I'd like now to get to what nobody's 

11           talked about yet, is the men and women that 

12           work in Corrections.  How much overtime costs 

13           are included in this budget, and how many of 

14           these people are forced to work overtime?

15                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

16           have the current overtime numbers for you, 

17           Assemblyman.  I certainly can get them for 

18           you.  It's something we try to avoid.  

19                  It was a real challenge managing 

20           through COVID, it really was.  There were 

21           huge numbers of people at any one time who 

22           had to be quarantined at home or tested 

23           positive, et cetera.

24                  I can tell you that right now we're 


                                                                   322

 1           making big inroads into redistributing the 

 2           staff where they're needed, because the staff 

 3           are moving from the closed facilities to the 

 4           facilities where there are huge numbers of 

 5           vacancies.  So we're making some significant 

 6           progress there.  There's another whole 

 7           movement of staff scheduled in a couple of 

 8           weeks, in February.  That will further help.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Thank you.  Can 

10           you give me a ratio of how many inmates to 

11           one correction officer, say on the midnight 

12           shift?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  One to 

14           three, I believe, is the current number.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Okay, thank you.

16                  Now, the other thing I'd like to know 

17           about is what kind of training are you 

18           providing for the men and women that work 

19           within Corrections to help them deal with the 

20           COVID problem and every other problem that 

21           they're facing right now?

22                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, we 

23           have a whole slew of different resources from 

24           our health services staff that are 


                                                                   323

 1           continually providing updated information.  

 2           We make the vaccine available, we provide 

 3           protective equipment, masks, et cetera.

 4                  Training in general is something we 

 5           always pursue.  I have a task force that I've 

 6           just formed where I've invited and I'm 

 7           getting participation by union 

 8           representatives so that we can work together 

 9           to address prison violence.  We train on 

10           implicit violence {sic}, deescalation 

11           training.  And I also make it a big priority 

12           to provide them with all the latest equipment 

13           as a safety -- not just the regular pepper 

14           spray, but new pepper spray that -- MK that 

15           should help in certain situations like when 

16           there's a melee in the yard and it's a group 

17           of individuals fighting.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Okay.  So what 

19           kind of mental health services again are you 

20           providing for these folks that are under such 

21           pressure to perform on a daily basis?

22                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I have a 

23           huge priority centered around wellness, and 

24           my associate commissioner for mental health 


                                                                   324

 1           is chairing it.

 2                  We deal with corrections systems 

 3           across the country so that we can learn what 

 4           they are doing, and we have new apps that 

 5           we're putting on phones to make available for 

 6           them.  We have telephone contacts that they 

 7           can make if someone's feeling stressed and 

 8           potentially wanting to harm themselves.  Many 

 9           other things --

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  They know all 

11           this is opportunity for them and all's they 

12           have to do is ask?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  We're 

14           making it available.  We have systems staff 

15           to make it available for them, and many other 

16           things.  

17                  We have an employee assistance 

18           program, and they have all kinds of contacts 

19           that they make available to our staff.  So we 

20           try very hard --

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  I have one more 

22           question -- I don't mean to cut you off, sir, 

23           but one more question.  What are you guys 

24           doing about recruitment to get people to come 


                                                                   325

 1           and take these jobs now under the conditions 

 2           that they're being offered?

 3                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  We 

 4           aggressively advertise at different fairs.  

 5           We put notices out to different individuals 

 6           so that we can get the word out.  

 7                  I want people to understand that we 

 8           are a very progressive system.  We prioritize 

 9           wellness, we prioritize our people.  And I 

10           think our last announcement was about 5,000 

11           that it went out to.  So I think the word is 

12           getting out.  And people are interested, 

13           especially who know -- who know people that 

14           have families, and they know it's a good 

15           place to work.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO:  Thank you, sir.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

18           Senate.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

20           much.

21                  Our next questioner is Senator Pat 

22           Ritchie.

23                  SENATOR RITCHIE:  Thank you, 

24           Chairwoman.


                                                                   326

 1                  Commissioner, I have a couple of 

 2           questions starting with the issue of violence 

 3           in our facilities that I'm really concerned 

 4           about.  You sent out a memo in November, I 

 5           believe it was, that described some of the 

 6           violent actions as savagery.  And that is 

 7           definitely concerning.

 8                  So part two of that question is 

 9           instead of closing correctional facilities 

10           like Ogdensburg Correctional Facility -- 

11           where the staff feels safe, where those 

12           individuals who are incarcerated there wrote 

13           letters to myself and the Governor begging 

14           for the facility to be kept open because they 

15           felt safe there -- instead, the facilities 

16           continue to be closed, including OCF, in a 

17           time when we have 60 to one -- 60 individuals 

18           incarcerated to one officer at midnight, on 

19           the midnight shift during COVID, when you 

20           would think that it would be the best time to 

21           space out not only staff but those 

22           individuals who are incarcerated.  

23                  So I would like to know what caused 

24           you to send out that memo, but also what 


                                                                   327

 1           caused you to close Ogdensburg Correctional 

 2           Facility, given the positives there, 

 3           including $10 million that was just spent on 

 4           upgrading the facility that I believe is 

 5           supposed to be completed this month, and the 

 6           fact that we have an incidence of rise in 

 7           violence.  And would not it make more sense 

 8           to keep those incarcerated separated more and 

 9           keeping these other facilities open, at least 

10           during COVID?

11                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  A lot to 

12           address there, Senator.  Let me try to do as 

13           thorough a job as I can.

14                  First of all, never an easy decision 

15           to close any correctional facility.  The 

16           staff at Ogdensburg have always done a great 

17           job.  It's very difficult to tell them that 

18           we need to close.  They did nothing wrong.

19                  There's no density problem whatsoever.  

20           We have thousands and thousands and thousands 

21           of vacancies throughout the system.  I'm not 

22           sure where you got the 60-to-1 ratio.  We've 

23           taken down all the double bunks in the 

24           system, which means the maximum number at any 


                                                                   328

 1           one time at any medium-security prototype 

 2           dorm is 50.

 3                  I can tell you that what prompted me 

 4           to send out that memo was that there were 

 5           some serious assaults -- it's not raw 

 6           number -- serious assault where somebody was 

 7           seriously beaten and the individual was in a 

 8           rage at the time.  There's about three or 

 9           four of them at a time.  

10                  And I put that memo out there because 

11           I wanted the individuals to realize that 

12           there are going to be serious consequences.  

13           We have liaisons with outside prosecutors 

14           throughout the entire state.  And if you 

15           seriously assault an officer or any staff, if 

16           you commit a Class B violent felony offense, 

17           that is punishable by a consecutive 25-year 

18           determinate sentence.  And I wanted everybody 

19           to understand that.

20                  We continue to work together with the 

21           union.  We created the Prison Violence Task 

22           Force, and we will work together, we'll get 

23           their recommendations, we'll look at a number 

24           of different things to make sure that we run 


                                                                   329

 1           the safest possible system.

 2                  One thing I'm very thankful of, since 

 3           being acting commissioner I've never had to 

 4           add another name either to the Correction 

 5           Officer Memorial or the Parole Officer 

 6           Memorial.  And that is something that is very 

 7           important to me, and I want to keep going in 

 8           that direction.

 9                  SENATOR RITCHIE:  Well, my time is up, 

10           but I would just like to say I find it 

11           totally in opposition to what I believe 

12           should be happening in COVID.  I am certainly 

13           not saying COVID is not serious.  I 

14           wholeheartedly think we all should be doing 

15           everything we can.  

16                  But I don't -- I don't understand why 

17           we would be closing facilities in the middle 

18           of a pandemic and sending people away from 

19           their families at this moment.

20                  Thank you, Commissioner.

21                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

23                  Just want to remind everyone, 

24           including chairs, to please make sure -- if 


                                                                   330

 1           you want to speak, please raise your hand 

 2           virtually.  We can't just look over at you.

 3                  I want to next go to Assemblyman 

 4           Weprin, the chair of our Corrections 

 5           Committee.  Ten minutes, Mr. Weprin, please.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

 7           Madam Chair.  

 8                  Thank you, Commissioner Annucci.  This 

 9           is now my sixth year, starting my sixth year 

10           as chair of the committee, and I've enjoyed 

11           working with you for these many years.  And I 

12           know you've been involved a lot longer, but I 

13           look forward to your tenure under Governor 

14           Hochul once you're confirmed.

15                  I wanted -- as you know, we've been on 

16           a number of panels together on educational 

17           release.  I've had legislation for years 

18           about educational release, which -- and the 

19           answer, the pushback has always been that we 

20           didn't have TAP for incarcerated individuals.  

21           Obviously the Governor has proposed changing 

22           that, and I'm hoping with TAP there will be a 

23           way to pay for it.

24                  Can you just get into, for me, how 


                                                                   331

 1           this new initiative on educational release as 

 2           well as furlough will be operated?  And how 

 3           are you going to see that you have the 

 4           maximum amount of people that are eligible?  

 5           Because I know you're very committed to 

 6           education in facilities.

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

 8           you, Assemblyman.  And you're right, it's a 

 9           pleasure working with you.  I look forward to 

10           continuing to collaborate, and especially on 

11           something like education.  We've both been at 

12           events where education and higher education, 

13           college has been prioritized.

14                  So let me say that first of all we 

15           already have a fairly developed network of 

16           college programs.  And I can also tell you 

17           that I just came from a conference where I 

18           heard a briefing on the potential rules and 

19           regulations for the restoration of Pell 

20           funding, which will be coming in about a 

21           year, I believe.  And so the eligibility for 

22           TAP will coincide nicely.

23                  And I believe that that will help 

24           further build the option of the different 


                                                                   332

 1           colleges that are out there and can build 

 2           upon what they're able to offer.

 3                  I can tell you that if there is one 

 4           single thing that really addresses 

 5           recidivism, it is the word "education."  More 

 6           than anything else, education is 

 7           transformative.  I think that's the key thing 

 8           for everybody to understand.  And you not 

 9           only see that from the studies that are 

10           performed, you see that from the individuals 

11           who have been through the system and 

12           completely changed their lives around.

13                  And I can tell you that we will work 

14           with the current students that are there, we 

15           will look at who becomes eligible for 

16           educational release, meaning that if they're 

17           in a college program and they come within two 

18           years of their earliest release date, and 

19           they have one year already of college under 

20           their belt, they can then transfer into the 

21           general confinement facility, but probably a 

22           facility like Queensboro in New York City, 

23           and start there and then enroll in classes 

24           and then get approved for a furlough on the 


                                                                   333

 1           weekends and come back to the facility, you 

 2           know, when they have to.

 3                  So they gradually get -- almost like a 

 4           work release inmate -- to the point where 

 5           they fully get LCTA credit.  And then when 

 6           they release their -- reach their LCTA 

 7           release date, they get released.

 8                  So they'll be studying in the same 

 9           classrooms, on the same campuses with other 

10           individuals, and I think it's a great 

11           learning experience for everybody.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Can you tell me, 

13           as a follow-up, how many and approximately 

14           what percentage of incarcerated individuals 

15           in DOCCS custody are enrolled in college- 

16           degree-granting programs?  And how many 

17           facilities are offering a degree-granting 

18           program?

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So right 

20           now I think it's -- we have a college program 

21           in 30 different facilities.  And I think we 

22           currently have about 23 different higher 

23           education institutions that are delivering at 

24           30 different correctional facilities.


                                                                   334

 1                  I have to get you the exact number.  I 

 2           think obviously with COVID we had our 

 3           challenges.  But we have been able to deliver 

 4           programming through the tablet program, 

 5           through the Ashland College that delivers it 

 6           through the tablets, and we have the ability 

 7           for others to use that technology as well.  

 8                  So I'll get the exact number of 

 9           current participants, but I think I -- it's 

10           about 2056 right now is the current number of 

11           college participants.  I'd have to do an 

12           analysis of how many of them are within two 

13           years of their earliest release date, and 

14           that's the ones.  And if they have one year 

15           of college under their belt, they'd be able 

16           to go into educational release.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, I just want 

18           to talk a little bit about deaths in prison.  

19           As you know, we passed legislation to prevent 

20           the redaction where you can't even determine 

21           what the deaths were.  

22                  And of course the Rikers Island 

23           situation with the highlighting of how many 

24           people have died in the last year in prison, 


                                                                   335

 1           you know, has gotten obviously a lot of 

 2           airing in the public.  

 3                  It was the Columbia university report 

 4           that found that an incarcerated person in 

 5           New York State prisons dies every three days.  

 6           How many total incarcerated people have died 

 7           in DOCCS custody in 2021?

 8                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I think 

 9           I have that number here.  And I may have 

10           misplaced it.  One second.  Give me a few 

11           moments.  

12                  There were 136 deaths reported in 

13           2021.  Which is an increase of 14 from the 

14           year before, 122.  And 97 were considered 

15           natural causes; that's about 71 percent.

16                  (Pause.)

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Hello?

18                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I can 

19           hear you.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, I lost you 

21           for a second.  Technology problems.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  Are you 

23           still with us?

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  I'm still with 


                                                                   336

 1           you.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Are there any 

 3           more --

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yeah, along the 

 5           same line as deaths in prison, I know there 

 6           are a number of states that actually publish 

 7           online various deaths in prison.  Is that 

 8           something that DOCCS would be able to 

 9           consider?

10                  And also I know there's been a lot of 

11           information about, you know, deaths related 

12           to COVID, but I think it's important that we 

13           know what the cause of a lot of these deaths 

14           are in facilities.  Commissioner, would you 

15           be able to comment on that?

16                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Yeah, 

17           certainly we'll consider that, Assemblyman.

18                  One of the things is sometimes we 

19           don't always know the cause of death for a 

20           little bit of time.  As you know, every 

21           single death is required, under the County 

22           Law Section 674, to have an autopsy 

23           performed.  If it's an outside hospital or if 

24           it's inside a facility, wherever it occurs, 


                                                                   337

 1           an autopsy must be performed, even if 

 2           seemingly it might be natural causes, like 

 3           somebody has cancer or what have you.

 4                  Now, that may take a little bit of 

 5           time before we get the final results.  So 

 6           we're always a little bit behind where we 

 7           are.  COVID deaths are posted.  

 8                  But we'll consider whether or not at 

 9           any one time we would post that.  Certainly I 

10           think -- I can see giving the accurate 

11           information.  But the final determination as 

12           to whether or not something is a 

13           natural-cause death or a drug overdose death  

14           is something that may have to wait until nine 

15           months or whatever until we get an autopsy 

16           report.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, thank you, 

18           Commissioner.

19                  One last question on the area of the 

20           public/private partnership and increasing 

21           work release programs with the private sector 

22           once it's allowed.  I know there was an issue 

23           with paying labor.  

24                  I mean, what's contemplated as far as 


                                                                   338

 1           how much incarcerated individuals will be 

 2           paid by the private sector?  Have you 

 3           determined that?  And has there been 

 4           discussions about, you know, what wages would 

 5           be paid to those incarcerated individuals 

 6           doing, in many cases, skilled labor?

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  They 

 8           would be paid the exact same salary that 

 9           John Q. Private Citizen would get doing that 

10           same job in the private sector.  If somebody 

11           is, on the outside, making X dollars an hour 

12           working in a food establishment, and that 

13           same food establishment is working them 

14           behind the walls, they would get the same 

15           exact rate of pay.  There's going to be no 

16           difference whatsoever.  

17                  Just like now in work release.  You 

18           participate in work release, you get the same 

19           salary, the labor laws are applicable, you 

20           pay taxes on your salary, et cetera.  Just 

21           like that, it would work behind the walls.

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  I know you've 

23           been doing a lot of work on vocational 

24           programs, so I look forward to a 


                                                                   339

 1           public/private partnership with expanded 

 2           opportunity for incarcerated individuals.  So 

 3           I look forward to that.

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

 5           you, Assemblyman.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

 8           Madam Chair.  I don't know if my time's up, 

 9           but it probably is.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Sure, you gave 

11           us back 13 seconds.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thirteen seconds.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator?

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you so 

15           much.  

16                  Senator Pete Harckham.

17                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you, 

18           Madam Chair.

19                  Commissioner, good afternoon.  Thank 

20           you for your testimony.  Good to see you.

21                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Good to 

22           see you, Senator.

23                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  And congratulations 

24           on your appointment.  That's good news.


                                                                   340

 1                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

 2           you.

 3                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Let's talk a bit 

 4           about medication-assisted treatment.  As we 

 5           know, the largest per-capita group of deaths 

 6           from overdose are from recently released 

 7           folks from incarceration.

 8                  So in the beginning of your testimony 

 9           you alluded to expanding medication-assisted 

10           treatment.  So if you could tell us in detail 

11           what you're doing, but also how we're going 

12           to have a continuum of care so when people 

13           leave from behind the walls to get out into 

14           society, that medication-assisted treatment 

15           prescription is going with them in some sort 

16           of continuity of care.

17                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So let 

18           me first address people leaving.

19                  We've made it a big priority to make 

20           sure that individuals get registered on 

21           Medicaid before they leave.  We've hired a 

22           number of clerks that their job is to go 

23           around and register individuals so that they 

24           have the Medicaid card when they leave.


                                                                   341

 1                  We have all forms of MAT right now in 

 2           a number of different facilities.  I may be 

 3           able to give you the breakdown, but we are 

 4           expanding it.  We have methadone, we have 

 5           buprenorphine and -- naltrexone?  I'm sorry, 

 6           it's eluded my mind for a moment.  

 7                  But we're expanding the program now, 

 8           and we were planning to put out an RFP in 

 9           February so that we have one provider that 

10           will be able to respond to all of our 

11           facilities.  Our target is to be able to have 

12           MAT present in 40 facilities I think by 

13           sometime later this year -- I'll get you the 

14           exact month.  But we are moving forward 

15           aggressively with that.  We strongly believe 

16           in it.  It will have to continue with the 

17           appropriate connections to the providers in 

18           the community when we get out.  It's part of 

19           discharge planning.  It is lifesaving.

20                  We also do training for the population 

21           so that they can take with them kits when 

22           they leave to be able to resuscitate someone 

23           who might be on an overdose that they 

24           encounter in the community.


                                                                   342

 1                  So it is an initiative we're 

 2           proceeding on multiple fronts.  It is 

 3           lifesaving.  There's no question people dying 

 4           of drug overdoses in the communities is on 

 5           the rise.  We need to do everything possible 

 6           to safeguard that.

 7                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you.  That 

 8           all sounds very promising.

 9                  Do you know what the increased number 

10           of individuals from those who are receiving 

11           medication today to when you expand the 

12           program to the other facilities?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I do.  I 

14           have a projection, it was based upon 

15           screening that we've done in the population.  

16           And I have a number, I just don't have it at 

17           my fingertips --

18                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  If you want to get 

19           it to me offline, that would be great.

20                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure, 

21           absolutely, Senator.

22                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  All right.  Thank 

23           you for your testimony.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 


                                                                   343

 1           Senator.

 2                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.  

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  Next we 

 4           have Assemblyman Lawler.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you.  And 

 6           thank you, Commissioner, for being with us. 

 7                  Over the past six months or so I've 

 8           visited Sing Sing, Rikers, and my county 

 9           jail, and one of my biggest takeaways from 

10           visiting these facilities was really the need 

11           to support our corrections officers, as well 

12           as the need for some level of punitive 

13           segregation.

14                  And I note that in November you sent a 

15           memo to the incarcerated population where you 

16           described some of the violent actions as, 

17           quote, unquote, savagery.  And I want to know 

18           what exactly prompted this memo, and why did 

19           you specifically use that terminology?  

20                  And you talk about holding individuals 

21           accountable to the fullest extent of the law 

22           in that memo.  What does that mean, in your 

23           mind?

24                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So as I 


                                                                   344

 1           said earlier, there were several different 

 2           attacks that rise to the level of something I 

 3           hadn't seen in a while -- cutting an officer 

 4           seriously on the face, breaking orbital 

 5           bones, knocking a female officer down and 

 6           trying to stomp on her with boots.  Those are 

 7           the examples that I was talking about.  

 8           They're very serious.

 9                  And the message I wanted to send was 

10           that for those small number of individuals 

11           that think it's okay to do that, there are 

12           going to be serious repercussions.  We have a 

13           saying in corrections:  95 percent of the 

14           problems that are caused by incarcerated 

15           individuals are caused by 5 percent of the 

16           individuals.  It's a small number that 

17           disproportionately cause the most harm.

18                  And in order for them to understand 

19           what might happen, I put that memo out that 

20           described in detail these are the convictions 

21           that will happen if you commit these acts.  

22           We have liaisons with every single prosecutor 

23           office in the state.  We pay -- by operation 

24           of law, we pay for all the costs related to 


                                                                   345

 1           incarceration.  So if this is going to happen 

 2           and we have these liaisons, we are going to 

 3           pursue a consecutive sentence of imprisonment 

 4           for these types of acts.

 5                  Again, it's a small number, but they 

 6           need to have their --

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  I appreciate -- I 

 8           appreciate that explanation, and I support 

 9           you in that.  And absolutely do what you need 

10           to do to keep your corrections officers safe.

11                  With the time I have left, I just want 

12           to make a statement to you with respect to 

13           community supervision and the Parole Board.  

14           I think the Parole Board is an absolute 

15           disgrace.  I think what they have done in 

16           just this past calendar year -- in my 

17           district, they've released a domestic 

18           terrorist and cop killer who was responsible 

19           for the deaths of two law enforcement 

20           officers in the 1981 Brinks robbery, and they 

21           released a child rapist and murderer who 

22           killed a 16-year-old girl on her way home 

23           from school -- from work at the library.

24                  It's an absolute disgrace what has 


                                                                   346

 1           happened, and I hope you'll support my 

 2           efforts to reform the Parole Board and stop 

 3           the release of unrepentant cop killers and 

 4           child rapists and murderers.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, we 

 6           go to the Senate.

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  

 8           Assemblyman, I just need to respond that I 

 9           have the utmost respect for the chairwoman 

10           and the Board of Parole.  They work very, 

11           very hard.  It's basically a thankless job.  

12           No matter what they decide, someone is going 

13           to be upset with the decision.  And it's 

14           never an easy decision.  I respect your 

15           opinion, and you may be critical of them for 

16           that, but they work very hard and in an often 

17           thankless job.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

19                  Senator Bailey.

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, 

21           Madam Chair.  

22                  Thank you, Commissioner, for 

23           appearing.

24                  Senator Harckham asked a lot of the 


                                                                   347

 1           questions related to the MAT in prison 

 2           facilities that I was going to ask, and I was 

 3           going to ask -- I was going to thank you for 

 4           what DOCCS has been doing in order to make 

 5           sure we implement this lifesaving treatment, 

 6           which is quite frankly -- and I see my good 

 7           friend Senator Akshar on the Zoom.  We've 

 8           spoken about this, and this is clearly a 

 9           bipartisan issue and this is something that 

10           we can all agree on.  So I thank you for 

11           understanding that, that this expansion is 

12           critical.

13                  I just wanted to ask I guess one brief 

14           question, yes.  And I see I do only get three 

15           minutes, I do not get the 10 minutes on this 

16           one.  I just wanted to ask a brief question 

17           about the TAP for incarcerated individuals.

18                  If its place is in the budget and it 

19           goes through the process, at what rate would 

20           it be able to expand within DOCCS facilities?  

21           And how would you see that expansion in 

22           facilities?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I didn't 

24           hear the first part of the question, Senator.  


                                                                   348

 1           The expansion of MAT, did you say?

 2                  SENATOR BAILEY:  No, no, I was 

 3           thanking you for MAT because I was talking 

 4           about the expansion of TAP.

 5                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I'm 

 6           sorry, I apologize for that.

 7                  I can't really predict exactly how 

 8           this is going to play out at this time.  I 

 9           know that we're involved with State Ed.  I 

10           know that we previously used to have a number 

11           of individuals who received the benefit of 

12           TAP funding and Pell funding.  Certainly 

13           we'll work with the colleges.  

14                  I think, you know, it's just like in 

15           years gone by when they dealt with the 

16           applicants and they decided who was eligible.  

17           There might be a statutory structure to what 

18           might be involved.  If we need to enter into 

19           MOUs with colleges or other types of legal 

20           arrangements, we will.

21                  Presently when we deal with the 

22           colleges, we don't require them to enter into 

23           anything formal.  But whatever the 

24           Legislature would want us to do to ensure the 


                                                                   349

 1           integrity and the fairness and the 

 2           distribution of funding for incarcerated 

 3           students, we will certainly support and make 

 4           it happen.  

 5                  Again, I repeat, education is 

 6           transformative.  It's the single most 

 7           important thing to deliver for incarcerated 

 8           individuals to lower recidivism.

 9                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Without a doubt.  And 

10           I would say that I had a chance to tour Green 

11           Haven and I saw the BPI individuals and I got 

12           to witness the magic, for lack of a better 

13           term, in that classroom, and it was quite 

14           incredible.

15                  And I would just hope that -- I know 

16           my actual formal time is ending shortly.  I 

17           just wanted to make sure I underlined the 

18           point that in having these conversations with 

19           our SUNY and CUNY institutions that we should 

20           make sure that us as legislators and you as 

21           DOCCS, we're having substantive conversations 

22           about the expansion and making sure that we 

23           can take on as many individuals as possible.  

24           Because as I tell my kids, as I will tell any 


                                                                   350

 1           kid, we should never be discouraging anybody 

 2           from being able to pursue an education.

 3                  So I just want to say thank you for 

 4           your time, Commissioner, and thank you, 

 5           Madam Chair.

 6                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

 7           you, Senator.

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 9           Assemblyman Walczyk.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thank you, 

11           Chairwoman.

12                  Commissioner, the inmate on staff 

13           violence is increasing at a faster rate than 

14           inmate on inmate violence, at least according 

15           to the numbers that we've got from your 

16           department.  Drugs are like a sieve in our 

17           facilities, and you've ignored some of the 

18           recommendations that this body has sent to 

19           you.  Retention is bad, morale is terrible.  

20           You're continually closing facilities and 

21           moving families all over New York State.  The 

22           Academy is short and not graduating as many 

23           as it used to, so your advertising at fairs 

24           probably isn't going to cut it when it comes 


                                                                   351

 1           to some of those shortfalls.

 2                  As far as incentives go, are you 

 3           looking at raises for corrections officers, 

 4           doing any staff increases?  Or how about 

 5           tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness for 

 6           corrections officers?

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

 8           believe we have any of those in the pipeline.  

 9           But we're always looking at a number of 

10           different things to improve morale or 

11           wellness.  

12                  I think that their participation on 

13           this task force is very, very important.  We 

14           didn't just want superintendents or central 

15           office types, we want the rank and file to be 

16           represented.  We want to hear from them 

17           directly what they think.

18                  And I think you're seeing, in society 

19           in general -- it's not just the violence in 

20           the streets, you're seeing it on airlines, 

21           you're seeing it with traffic accidents, 

22           you're seeing generally Americans being 

23           intolerant with one another, and it's playing 

24           out in a lot of different forms, including 


                                                                   352

 1           our correctional facilities.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Well, 

 3           commissioner, respectfully, this isn't crime 

 4           on the streets, this is crime in your 

 5           facilities.  This is inmate-on-staff violence 

 6           increasing at a faster rate than 

 7           inmate-on-inmate violence.  How do you square 

 8           that?  What's responsible for that?

 9                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

10           have an easy answer.  I intend to get 

11           feedback.  

12                  But back to your question on raises, I 

13           can tell you that the collective bargaining 

14           agreement does call for increases, and that's 

15           in our budget presently.  And I think there 

16           is a provision for tuition reimbursement as 

17           well.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  How does your 

19           staff that works in these facilities every 

20           single day, doing a dangerous job, that is 

21           getting assaulted with more frequency, feel 

22           about free college for the individuals under 

23           their care?

24                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I can't 


                                                                   353

 1           speak for them.  They'd have to speak for 

 2           themselves.  But ultimately if they're 

 3           taxpayers and it results in less people 

 4           coming back to prison and more people 

 5           becoming law-abiding citizens and more people 

 6           paying taxes, I think they would be happy as 

 7           taxpayers.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Will the inmates 

 9           receiving free college be screened for drugs?

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  They 

11           won't be separated out.  We have general 

12           random testing of the population, all with 

13           probable cause.  That will be continued.

14                  And if somebody misbehaves while 

15           they're in a college program, as is the case 

16           now, they could forfeit their place in the 

17           program.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I'm glad you 

19           brought that up.  What misconduct would 

20           disqualify them from free college?

21                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

22           any misconduct of a serious nature.  It 

23           doesn't have to be just one particular type.  

24           It could be an assault, it could be 


                                                                   354

 1           destruction of property, it could be 

 2           paraphernalia.  Anything of any serious 

 3           nature could result in your being removed 

 4           from a college program -- or any program, for 

 5           that matter.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I'm out of time.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 8                  Senator Sue Serino.

 9                  SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you, 

10           Chairwoman. 

11                  And thank you, Commissioner.  I have a 

12           couple of questions.  And I just want to say 

13           I also share Senator Ritchie's comments that 

14           she had mentioned earlier.

15                  You know, as you know, I represent the 

16           district where Downstate Correctional 

17           Facility is located, and Downstate employs 

18           more than 600 residents who have made their 

19           homes in and around Dutchess County.  I have 

20           to say I'm deeply disappointed with how we 

21           received news of the proposed closure.  And 

22           in your letter in November, you noted that 

23           you were mindful of the impact the closure 

24           would have on the community.  However, to 


                                                                   355

 1           date, I'm not aware that any stakeholders, 

 2           whether local lawmakers, union 

 3           representatives, the facility employees or 

 4           others, were consulted before the closure was 

 5           announced.

 6                  You claim you also did a detailed 

 7           review, but where are the details and why 

 8           weren't critical stakeholders consulted or a 

 9           public meeting held?

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Senator, 

11           respectfully, if we were to consult in 

12           advance of announcing a closure with any 

13           interested stakeholder anywhere in the state, 

14           we would still have 72 correctional 

15           facilities and a population of 30,000, which 

16           the taxpayers would not tolerate.

17                  I am so sensitive to the impact on 

18           communities.  We look at a whole number of 

19           factors, we look at programs that are 

20           offered, we look at infrastructure, we look 

21           at capital improvements that are needed, we 

22           look at neighboring facilities that are close 

23           by -- there's a whole host of factors that we 

24           look at in determining to close.


                                                                   356

 1                  Once closure is announced, the 

 2           number-one priority I have is to try as hard 

 3           as we can to arrange a soft landing for all 

 4           affected staff.  I want them to have the 

 5           opportunity to continue to be employed in our 

 6           system in as close-as-possible other location 

 7           or at least with the state.

 8                  We've met with the staff.  I send my 

 9           HR directors down there, they explain what 

10           their rights are, they meet with the union 

11           individuals, they go through this, and then 

12           we try and arrange the transfer so that they 

13           can continue in our employ.  Which --

14                  SENATOR SERINO:  With all due respect, 

15           Commissioner, because you were just talking 

16           about employees having continued employment, 

17           so can you tell us, did they have to uproot 

18           their families and move elsewhere?  Do you 

19           know where the employees are being 

20           reassigned?

21                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Oh, yes.  

22           When they're being reassigned, they're given 

23           the option -- we can tell you where they've 

24           gone, to each facility and how much of a 


                                                                   357

 1           distance it is.

 2                  I don't have that at my fingertips, 

 3           but I can give you that information for those 

 4           that are --

 5                  SENATOR SERINO:  I'd like to follow up 

 6           with you with that also.  And there's another 

 7           concern.  

 8                  The Glenham Fire District is located 

 9           like directly adjacent to Downstate and has 

10           been providing fire emergency response there 

11           for over 20 years through a contract with the 

12           state.  And this contract actually provides 

13           fire protection coverage, which includes 

14           mutual aid protection in the event that a 

15           firefighter is injured or equipment is 

16           damaged during a mutual-aid response.

17                  Given that the need for fire and 

18           emergency response will remain for the 

19           facility after its closure, will continue 

20           once the facility is closed, so are -- is 

21           there going to be aid for the fire companies 

22           for the facilities?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I'll 

24           have to look into that, Senator.  I'm not 


                                                                   358

 1           aware that we've ever done that in the past.  

 2           But if there is a legitimate need and there's 

 3           a way to do it, we'll find a way to do it.

 4                  We have a whole process that we follow 

 5           when we're closing a correctional facility, 

 6           in the maintenance that we have to do and 

 7           ensuring that it still is a viable asset for 

 8           potential reuse.  There's a lot of different 

 9           things that we will look at.  

10                  I'll certainly take that under 

11           advisement and see if there's anything that 

12           can be done.

13                  SENATOR SERINO:  I hope that that -- 

14           the contract will just continue and not have 

15           a lapse.

16                  And I just want to say, again, how 

17           disappointed I was in the way this has 

18           unfolded, especially when the Governor 

19           promised to be someone who governs by 

20           listening.  These employees never even got a 

21           chance to make their voice heard -- in a 

22           surprise holiday announcement, and with just 

23           a couple of months' notice.  It's just not 

24           right.  These men and women put their lives 


                                                                   359

 1           on the line every day to do a very dangerous 

 2           job, and the way they were treated here isn't 

 3           right.  

 4                  And I really urge my colleagues to do 

 5           all that they can to prohibit these 90-day 

 6           closures and enact a better process going 

 7           forward.

 8                  Thank you, Commissioner.

 9                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I 

10           respect your position, Senator.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

12                  Assemblymember Weinstein.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

14           Assemblywoman Mitaynes.

15                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Thank you.

16                  Good afternoon.  Are you aware that 

17           the state owes a legal duty to incarcerated 

18           people to prevent their death, including by 

19           suicide?  And how many people died by suicide 

20           in DOCCS custody last year?  And can you 

21           describe what conditions in DOCCS facilities 

22           are causing incarcerated New Yorkers in DOCCS 

23           custody to take their own lives?

24                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So thank 


                                                                   360

 1           you for that question.  And preventing 

 2           suicide is a challenge to every single 

 3           correction commissioner in the country.  And 

 4           I belong to an association, we meet 

 5           periodically.  There's 50 of us in the 

 6           country, and it is something that is very 

 7           challenging and very difficult.  

 8                  I have many different initiatives that 

 9           are related to suicide prevention.  I have 

10           two hours of annual training mandated for 

11           every single employee.  I have every single 

12           employee that works in one of our mental 

13           health treatment units, they receive an 

14           annual amount of training I think of either 

15           six or eight hours.  

16                  We have all kinds of new initiatives 

17           to remind families of individuals that if 

18           they become aware of any indicia that someone 

19           may be thinking of taking their own life, 

20           they should let the officials know in the 

21           facilities.  There's a prompt that is 

22           activated when a phone call is made to the 

23           family.  They hear that.  There's a prompt 

24           that is made when someone sends a secure 


                                                                   361

 1           message.  We have posters.  

 2                  We have downloaded a video on the 

 3           tablet that was made by an incarcerated 

 4           individual at Attica Correctional Facility as 

 5           part of a TEDx talk where he talked about his 

 6           own journey and why he was at one point 

 7           thinking of taking his own life and why he 

 8           sees value in his own life.

 9                  This past Christmas we played, for the 

10           entire population -- donated 100 copies of 

11           the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and a 

12           message to the population by two of the 

13           surviving actors.  The message of that movie 

14           is everybody's life matters, everybody's life 

15           touches another life.

16                  So we are trying so many different 

17           things to make the population understand, 

18           regardless of what they've done in the past, 

19           it's never too late to do good.  Your life 

20           still matters.  You still have value.  We 

21           need to look after each other.

22                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Thank you.

23                  And really quickly, in 2016 the Second 

24           Circuit Court of Appeals found DOCCS 


                                                                   362

 1           grievance procedures were so opaque and 

 2           confusing that they were, practically 

 3           speaking, incapable of use and so confusing 

 4           that no ordinary prisoner can discern or 

 5           navigate them, and recommended that DOCCS 

 6           revise its grievance procedures to make them 

 7           more usable.

 8                  Can you explain what DOCCS has done 

 9           since then to improve its grievance 

10           procedures and whether the filing of 

11           grievances has been added as a function to 

12           the electronic tablets distributed to 

13           incarcerated people?

14                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Yes.  We 

15           have added the grievance process to our 

16           tablets.  I'm not -- well, it's in the 

17           process of being worked on but it's not yet 

18           been done.  But it is certainly an area that 

19           definitely needs improvement, and it is 

20           something that we'll give our attention to 

21           going forward.

22                  The prior question you asked was the 

23           total number of suicides in 2020-'21.  I 

24           think it was 16.


                                                                   363

 1                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Thank you.

 2                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  I -- 

 3           this is Senator Hoylman.  I think Chair 

 4           Krueger --

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, I was 

 6           going to call on you, Senator Hoylman.

 7                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Oh, thank you.  

 8           Thank you.

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  You're next.

10                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, 

11           Madam Chair.

12                  Thank you.  Good to see you, Acting 

13           Commissioner.  First I just wanted to 

14           compliment you for your defense of the use of 

15           TAP for incarcerated individuals.  And I want 

16           to thank you and the Governor for your 

17           support of that and particularly the Bard 

18           Prison Initiative, which we've seen such 

19           success come from.

20                  I wanted to ask you about various 

21           studies from newspapers like the New York 

22           Times and Albany Times Union, NYU Law School, 

23           the Vera Institute for Justice, that have 

24           shown that the Parole Board grants release to 


                                                                   364

 1           white individuals far more frequently than 

 2           Black and Latinx people, even when you 

 3           control for factors such as crime and 

 4           disciplinary record.

 5                  Do you have any comments about that 

 6           disparity?  And what can we do to address it 

 7           in terms of the Parole Board's release rates?

 8                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

 9           first of all, Senator, let me say that the 

10           Parole Board is the most diverse Parole Board 

11           that -- throughout my experience with 

12           Corrections, and I've been here 37 years.

13                  I can give you the breakdown -- I'll 

14           separately send it to you -- are women of 

15           color, men of color and Hispanic and all the 

16           different categories.  So it's the most 

17           diverse it has ever been.

18                  Second of all, these studies I 

19           question significantly, because there's no 

20           way anyone on the outside can actually have 

21           all the information in order to do an 

22           apples-to-apples, oranges-to-oranges 

23           comparison.  You have to even actually do a 

24           further dive.  You have to look at, you know, 


                                                                   365

 1           Empire apples to Empire apples, McIntosh 

 2           apples to McIntosh apples, because there's so 

 3           many different factors in an individual's 

 4           background, starting with his criminal 

 5           history or her criminal history.

 6                  We have a second felony offender law 

 7           that we keep applying, and it could be the 

 8           sixth, seventh or eighth time someone --

 9                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  With my remaining -- 

10           thank you.  With my remaining few seconds, is 

11           that something you would commit to examining 

12           from within, since you do have the data to 

13           make these comparisons?

14                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

15           Senator, that's probably a huge study, 

16           number one.

17                  Number two, the Board of Parole is 

18           independent.  And when we merged, the 

19           Legislature wisely separated them out, and my 

20           responsibility is to give them all the 

21           support -- we have a wonderful partnership.  

22           I give them access to all the records they 

23           need.  But their decision-making is 

24           independent.  And any type of study of the 


                                                                   366

 1           nature you're proposing I think would be 

 2           extremely labor-intensive.

 3                  I am completely confident that with 

 4           their diversity, they are making the 

 5           decisions on the merits, they are completely 

 6           color-blind.

 7                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  With all due 

 8           respect, I don't think you can question 

 9           outside analyses and then say this is beyond 

10           our ability to double-check the numbers, 

11           given the importance of the issue at hand, 

12           racial disparities in the, you know, release 

13           of incarcerated individuals.  

14                  I'd urge you to think about that, sir.  

15           Thank you.

16                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

17           you, Senator.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

19                  We're going to go to Assemblyman 

20           Burgos.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURGOS:  Thank you, 

22           Madam Chair.

23                  Thank you, Commissioner, for being 

24           here today.  


                                                                   367

 1                  I think the State Comptroller released 

 2           reports that one in four incarcerated folks 

 3           are older New Yorkers.  He even went as far 

 4           as making the suggestion that policymakers 

 5           should be decreasing the prison population, 

 6           especially for older New Yorkers, because 

 7           they pose much less risk to our society.

 8                  I wanted to ask you, are you in 

 9           agreement with the State Comptroller on this?

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, I 

11           don't like to comment on potential 

12           legislative matters, and I know it's the 

13           subject of a lot of legislative bills out 

14           there that want to look at the issue.

15                  Generally speaking, people tend to age 

16           out of the criminogenic behaviors as they get 

17           older.  But you also have to look at how they 

18           came to prison.  Are we talking about 

19           somebody that's been in prison a long time, 

20           or are we talking about somebody that at 

21           age 50 was a child molester?  And that's a 

22           whole different paradigm altogether.  

23                  I can tell you that sometimes when we 

24           release somebody to a nursing home -- it took 


                                                                   368

 1           us a long time to find a nursing home for a 

 2           sex offender, then he managed to abuse one of 

 3           the patients there and it really blew up in 

 4           our face.  So it's a complicated issue.  

 5                  There's no question the older 

 6           population requires a lot more attention.  

 7           I'm trying to deliver to them meaningful 

 8           programs.  We have a senior dorm at one 

 9           facility for 50 and older where we've 

10           selected programs that are just right for 

11           them for wellness, for engagement and a 

12           number of other things.  If somebody requires 

13           skilled nursing care, they're placed in 

14           regional medical units.  But --

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURGOS:  And I have a -- 

16           I'm sorry, just because I have a question 

17           that I think you were kind of diving into, so 

18           I wanted to take it in that direction.  

19                  In the same report the Comptroller 

20           reported that older adults, it costs nearly a 

21           quarter million dollars more to incarcerate 

22           them.  So I think you were kind of alluding 

23           to that.  Can you explain why it does cost so 

24           much more to incarcerate an older adult?


                                                                   369

 1                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, in 

 2           general they have a lot more health problems 

 3           at that age.  Once you get to be a senior 

 4           citizen in a correctional facility, your 

 5           conditions, whether it's diabetes or you 

 6           require, you know, heart treatments or you 

 7           may be HIV-positive, you may have 

 8           hepatitis C -- the treatment for that is 

 9           rather expensive -- whatever your medical 

10           problems are, like all of us, as we get older 

11           they seem to come to the forefront.  

12                  And if you have a background where 

13           you've neglected your health a little bit or 

14           you've also taken drugs or you've smoked or 

15           you've abused alcohol and you haven't 

16           exercised and you've eaten poorly, those 

17           problems will manifest themselves in 

18           compromised health conditions as you get 

19           older.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURGOS:  Okay, thank you.

21                  One last question.  I've had 

22           difficulty getting a pretty clear and concise 

23           answer on this.  I guess it can vary 

24           sometimes.  But I'm really focused on the 


                                                                   370

 1           reentry, right, when individuals are released 

 2           from these prisons.  And I wanted to know 

 3           what is the DOCCS policy for individuals that 

 4           are set to be released?  How exactly are we 

 5           releasing individuals?  What are we giving 

 6           them on the day of release, and how are we 

 7           setting them on a path, you know, to a 

 8           fruitful life?

 9                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  It's 

10           going to require a little bit of a detailed 

11           answer.  There's a lot that we do with 

12           reentry.  In fact, that was a big reason why 

13           we merged, so that we can have a smooth 

14           hand-off to community supervision when the 

15           people are being released from our 

16           correctional facilities.

17                  We have transitional accounting plans 

18           and Phase 3 is when we really focus on the 

19           individual who's leaving prisons.  One of the 

20           Governor's priorities is to make sure that we 

21           facilitate the process of giving them 

22           identification so that when they leave, they 

23           have the birth certificate in hand, they have 

24           their Social Security card -- I'm trying to 


                                                                   371

 1           advance the date when we can apply for that 

 2           from four months to six months.  We're 

 3           working with DMV to expand a pilot.  We're 

 4           making them connections in the community.  We 

 5           have reentry managers that we hand off to.

 6                  We're going to focus significantly on 

 7           job retention, so we train our parole 

 8           officers to get them actively engaged in 

 9           employment, because ultimately it has to be a 

10           smooth transition.  We want them to succeed 

11           when they reenter society.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURGOS:  I appreciate your 

13           time, Commissioner.  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

15                  To the Senate.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

17                  Our next questioner is Senator Savino.

18                  Senator Savino, are you there?  I see 

19           you, but you're not listening to us.  Hi, can 

20           you unmute?  Senator Savino.  Apparently not.

21                  Senator Savino, can you hear me? 

22                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Yeah, but I wrote in 

23           the chat to let Senator Akshar go first 

24           because I'm doing something.  I'll come back.


                                                                   372

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, I didn't see 

 2           that, I'm sorry.  

 3                  Okay, we're going to go to Senator 

 4           Akshar first, thank you.

 5                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Madam Chairwoman, 

 6           thank you.  Senator Savino, thank you as 

 7           well. 

 8                  Commissioner, good to be with you.  

 9                  I want to just turn your attention to 

10           HALT, obviously a piece of legislation that 

11           had been dated -- excuse me, debated for 

12           nearly a decade.  We know now that there's no 

13           longer debate, it is now law.  I've been here 

14           for seven years, and you have consistently 

15           stated that you cannot, nor will you, opine 

16           publicly on pending pieces of legislation.  

17                  I'm curious to know, now that this 

18           piece of legislation has been enacted, do you 

19           believe that the HALT Act will make the 

20           prison system safer or more dangerous for 

21           both the incarcerated and those that are 

22           charged with their care and custody?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure.  

24           First let me say when I don't comment on 


                                                                   373

 1           pending legislation, I'm not trying to be 

 2           obstructionist.  I always try to take -- 

 3           whatever the Legislature inquires about, I 

 4           try to be responsive to your questions.  But 

 5           there's a forum to discuss pending 

 6           legislation, and it's not a public forum.  

 7           There may be issues, so we communicate our 

 8           questions to the Governor's counsel's office 

 9           and let them --

10                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Let me just publicly 

11           say I meant no disrespect by that.

12                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure.  

13           Sure.

14                  So HALT is now the law.  And I will be 

15           honest, when it was first passed I had some 

16           concerns.  But I can tell you that we have 

17           marshaled tremendous resources in order for 

18           us to implement this law as the Legislature 

19           intended.  

20                  I created an executive steering 

21           committee, and then I created four 

22           subcommittees, and they have worked extremely 

23           hard to structure an elaborate program to go 

24           forward to implement it, from infrastructure 


                                                                   374

 1           to changing our disciplinary guidelines to 

 2           developing programming for the individuals 

 3           when they come out of their SHUs and their 

 4           RRUs and also for movement of incarcerated 

 5           individuals from the SHUs to the RRUs.

 6                  So it was a very labor-intensive 

 7           process.  I am very comfortable where we are 

 8           that we'll hit the ground running.  I believe 

 9           that we will change behavior for the better, 

10           especially when I heard the program 

11           presentation.  We're not just providing them 

12           out-of-cell time.  Other systems will provide 

13           out-of-cell time, let them play cards.  We 

14           are really trying to focus on the behavior 

15           that got them into segregated confinement to 

16           begin with.  And I'm confident that we'll be 

17           able to make some changes that ultimately 

18           they'll reintegrate into general confinement 

19           and not return.  Or -- oh --

20                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  So do you -- I'm 

21           sorry, Commissioner.  Do you feel comfortable 

22           with its full implementation in the timeline 

23           that's been prescribed?

24                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  It is an 


                                                                   375

 1           aggressive timeline.  But at this point, I 

 2           am.  We worked very, very hard coordinating 

 3           with a lot of different forces within our 

 4           agency, coordinating with OGS to do all the 

 5           infrastructure changes, doing the training 

 6           for the hearing officers, the memos that went 

 7           out to the field.  I feel very confident -- 

 8           it certainly didn't hurt that the population 

 9           also continued to decline as well.  So that 

10           has kind of been the wind at our back 

11           somewhat.  

12                  But we're confident that we can 

13           deliver this.  I have a breakdown of every 

14           facility where the RRUs are taking place, 

15           when they'll be ready, and I'm confident 

16           we'll hit the ground running.

17                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Commissioner, with 

18           respect, with this looming threat of 

19           savagery, as you author in your letter -- I 

20           mean, how can you be so confident that, you 

21           know, its full implementation will in fact 

22           occur, with all of the violence that we've 

23           seen?  Do you feel like you're being -- a 

24           tool is being taken away from you?


                                                                   376

 1                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  No.  

 2           Because at the end of the day, our ability to 

 3           separate is still intact.  The theme going 

 4           forward is separation, not isolation.

 5                  So we'll continue to separate the 

 6           troublemakers, and we even put a memo out to 

 7           the population, who may have been under the 

 8           impression that they can do some act, go into 

 9           SHU for 15 days, and they'd be back into 

10           general population.  If that's what they're 

11           thinking, they're sadly mistaken, and that's 

12           not going to be the case.  

13                  They'll get out-of-cell structured 

14           programming and treatment, but my number-one 

15           priority is when we do this, we're going to 

16           keep everybody safe.  Other incarcerated 

17           individuals, staff, volunteers, whomever, 

18           everybody will remain safe.  That's my 

19           number-one priority.

20                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Commissioner, why 

21           hasn't the department reimplemented the 

22           Secure Vendor Program?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  It is 

24           something I still intend to pursue and to 


                                                                   377

 1           follow.  I'm looking for feedback from my 

 2           task force on violence; that might give me 

 3           some recommendations on that.

 4                  We learned the last time; we've talked 

 5           to the advocates.  We think it's valuable.  

 6           We think it will save lives if it ultimately 

 7           keeps dangerous drugs like fentanyl out of 

 8           the system and ultimately be safer for 

 9           everybody.  

10                  It's a question of timing.  I need to 

11           be able to do this at a time when there is a 

12           lot more steadiness to the system.  We have 

13           implemented so many programs in the last 

14           year.  We are still in a state of change with 

15           closing facilities and new programs that are 

16           coming online.  So it's a question of when 

17           the timing is appropriate, and I fully intend 

18           to pursue that at the appropriate time.

19                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  I would just 

20           respectfully --

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I'm 

22           sorry, I have to cut you off, Senator Akshar.

23                  SENATOR AKSHAR:  Thank you, 

24           chairwoman.  Thank you.


                                                                   378

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You can follow up 

 2           with the commissioner later.

 3                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

 5           Assemblyman Palmesano.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yes, 

 7           Commissioner, over the last two cycles we've 

 8           seen 10 prison closures, Willard and 

 9           Southport included, which I commented which 

10           is a bad idea, given the programs they 

11           provided, given the fact that none of these 

12           facilities are getting any dollars for their 

13           communities for repurposing, and given the 

14           fact that the short-term 90-day prison 

15           closures were disrespectful and an insult to 

16           the correctional facilities.

17                  What's used over and over again is a 

18           decrease in prison population.  But even as 

19           the prison population has decreased, the 

20           alarming results of assaults continue to 

21           rise.  I've said over and over again I 

22           believe these closures, coupled with bad 

23           policy, taking away and not providing tools 

24           and resources for our correction officers and 


                                                                   379

 1           staff, is creating a dangerous powder-keg 

 2           environment.  

 3                  We talked about restricting special 

 4           housing units and now HALT.  There's no 

 5           discipline for these actions.  Your letter 

 6           talked about savagery, but a letter's fine, 

 7           but that's not -- what are you going to do 

 8           about it?  HALT I'll say is a disaster, it's 

 9           going to be a disaster and going to lead to 

10           more violence inside our facilities.

11                  Even your own numbers show you 

12           inmate-on-staff assaults are up 55 percent 

13           over the past six years, to an all-time high 

14           of 1176 this past year.  Yet at the same 

15           time, Commissioner, drugs and contraband 

16           continues to be a great problem in our 

17           facilities -- 3500 last year and 4,000 each 

18           year of the past four years.  

19                  But yet as we mentioned, we're still 

20           here without a Secure Vendor Program.  You 

21           said the time needs to be right.  The time 

22           was right several years ago when it was 

23           canceled.  When we talk about drug dogs in 

24           our correctional facilities, you always say 


                                                                   380

 1           it's a budget issue.  You know, TSA-type 

 2           screening devices to keep the -- we know the 

 3           drugs get in through the mail and through 

 4           visitation.  Adequate staffing for our staff 

 5           so they can be safe and not have mandated 

 6           overtime.  

 7                  You know, all the savings that are 

 8           supposed to be realized through closures, why 

 9           isn't any of it being reinvested back into 

10           the communities to provide tools and 

11           resources to keep them safe?  We talk about 

12           iPads and TAP and free college tuition, but 

13           nothing seems to be going into the 

14           facilities.  

15                  Commissioner, you're a career guy.  

16           You know what's going on in these facilities 

17           isn't working, and you know it's not safe.  

18           You need to be speaking out.  So why not the 

19           Secure Vendor Program now?  It was due 

20           before.  What are we doing about the 

21           assaults?  Are there any charges being 

22           charged for individuals on the assaults since 

23           your memo went out?  What about drug dogs at 

24           each facility?  What about technology 


                                                                   381

 1           screening devices like TSA-type that screen 

 2           individuals when they come in?

 3                  Aren't all these things going to be 

 4           helpful and make things better?  If so, why 

 5           not advocate to the Governor and say we need 

 6           to do these things?  Better staffing and, you 

 7           know, speaking out on all of this, I think.  

 8                  So Secure Vendor, drug dogs, 

 9           technology screening devices, staffing 

10           resources.  What's going on with the assaults 

11           as far as charges?  Where do we stand?  

12           because this is not safe and it's not fair to 

13           these corrections officers who work a 

14           dangerous job, Commissioner.

15                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So first 

16           of all, Assemblyman, we have invested 

17           significantly in K-9 teams.  We are 

18           significantly expanding them.  I think the 

19           number is going to be, when all is said and 

20           done, about 28.  

21                  So we have our own school, we've 

22           been -- we've had our people certified by 

23           DCJS, and we keep the dogs fresh.  And 

24           they've been doing a tremendous job 


                                                                   382

 1           uncovering contraband and leading to the 

 2           arrests of many individuals.  There are 

 3           serious consequences for bringing in 

 4           contraband.  

 5                  With respect to closures, I can tell 

 6           you that the Governor has created or will be 

 7           creating a new commission that's going to 

 8           have private as well as public officials, ESD 

 9           leading the charge so that we can find a use 

10           for these facilities consistent with the job 

11           needs of New York State and what all the 

12           different possibilities are.  So we're paying 

13           a lot of attention to that.

14                  The task force, I look forward to its 

15           first meeting and hearing feedback, whatever 

16           the recommendations are.  We're continuing to 

17           look at technology, all the different devices 

18           that are out there.  We're continuing to 

19           experiment -- from Cellsense to cameras to 

20           you name it, we've invested millions into our 

21           facilities.  The body cameras and the fixed 

22           cameras alone, they show what's happened.  So 

23           if someone is assaulting somebody and we have 

24           it on film, then the district attorney can 


                                                                   383

 1           easily bring a prosecution based on that 

 2           evidence.  

 3                  So there's a lot that we're doing.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Has there been 

 5           any increase in the --

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 7                  (Inaudible overtalk.)

 8                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We're going to 

 9           go to the Senate, but I just want to remind 

10           members to -- and Senators -- to leave enough 

11           time for the answers in the time.

12                  So Senate?

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

14           much, Assemblymember.

15                  Now Senator Diane Savino.

16                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

17           Krueger.

18                  Good to see you again, Commissioner.

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Good to 

20           see you, Senator.

21                  SENATOR SAVINO:  We've been doing this 

22           dance so many years.  At least I'm not 

23           yelling at you about overtime this time.

24                  A lot of the questions I had have been 


                                                                   384

 1           addressed by other members, so I'm not going 

 2           to belabor the point.  I do want to go to the 

 3           issue of the $45 million that's going to be 

 4           utilized to support the implementation of 

 5           HALT -- which I supported.  But I'm curious 

 6           as to -- I heard you describe to I think 

 7           Senator Akshar and others how a lot of time 

 8           and effort has gone into how you're going to 

 9           implement it and the training, et cetera.  

10           That has always a concern of mine, how do we 

11           train the staff.  

12                  So I just -- I'm curious, were they -- 

13           did they participate in the development of 

14           the training that's going to be used when 

15           HALT goes into effect?  That's the first 

16           question.  Because as you pointed out, inmate 

17           assaults against other inmates and against 

18           COs is -- in very limited areas are very 

19           high, and they are very violent, and so 

20           there's a real concern there that they're 

21           prepared to deal with this.  So that's one 

22           question.

23                  And then the second thing is we're all 

24           focused on some of the challenges we're 


                                                                   385

 1           seeing in the city with respect to the 

 2           mentally ill, some of whom have been released 

 3           from prisons to their own communities with no 

 4           support services.  One of the criticisms of 

 5           Kendra's Law, among many, is that there's a 

 6           loophole in it that does not require DOCCS to 

 7           notify local mental health providers when a 

 8           prisoner or inmate who has been receiving 

 9           mental health services while they were 

10           incarcerated -- to notify local mental health 

11           providers in their home community that 

12           they're being released so they can, if 

13           necessary, be connected with a local mental 

14           health provider or be evaluated to determine 

15           whether they have a propensity for violence.

16                  Is there a possibility that, absent a 

17           change in the statute, do you think this is 

18           something that DOCCS can do?  Because people 

19           are being released, sent without -- with no 

20           resources -- I see in your budget the 

21           Governor is putting aside $2.5 million to 

22           support transitional housing for people who 

23           are released with no resources.  But this 

24           seems to be, you know, a glaring loophole 


                                                                   386

 1           that perhaps absent a change in the statute, 

 2           it could just be a change in policy to 

 3           connect people at their home base with the 

 4           necessary services that they need.

 5                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Okay, 

 6           Senator, so addressing that question first, 

 7           there is a statute that does require us to 

 8           provide notice to law enforcement whenever 

 9           anybody's getting released, every single --

10                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Law enforcement, but 

11           not mental health services.  That's 

12           different.  

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Right, 

14           you're right.  Not mental health.  

15                  But there is a unit that we work with 

16           directly with OMH for anybody that is 

17           diagnosed as seriously mentally ill.  We work 

18           together four months prior to their potential 

19           release to line up potential resources in the 

20           community for them so that there is a smooth 

21           hand-off.  Which includes, by the way, us 

22           doing a direct transport to ensure that the 

23           individual arrives at the destination.  We 

24           don't want to just release them and send them 


                                                                   387

 1           on their way to public transportation.  

 2                  Sometimes that's to a residential 

 3           program, sometimes it's directly to community 

 4           supervision, so that there's a hand-off. 

 5                  A lot of times with some of these 

 6           individuals after they're out there, if they 

 7           abscond, if they stop taking their 

 8           medication, there's a problem.  So it's not 

 9           one that's amenable to an easy solution.  

10                  I know that they are protected under 

11           HIPAA.  There's limited information we can 

12           give right now, under current law, about 

13           somebody's mental health status.  I don't 

14           know if, you know, that would help public 

15           safety if they were giving that information 

16           to law enforcement.  

17                  I think, you know, we have to continue 

18           to make sure we coordinate our services.  

19           We're working with OMH.  We make sure that 

20           they get their Medicaid card, they have that 

21           available so that they can continue -- we 

22           give them a 30-day supply of their 

23           psychotropic medications, if they're on that, 

24           when they leave, and they have to continue to 


                                                                   388

 1           take it when they're in the community.  

 2                  So there's a lot of different forces 

 3           at play when these terrible events happen.  

 4           They just shock everybody's conscience. 

 5                  Back to your training question, 

 6           there's a lot of training that's going to go 

 7           out there, especially for hearing officers.  

 8           Most of this is going to come from our 

 9           central office.  I'm going to record a 

10           message in, you know, a few days as part of 

11           that training.  It is an all-encompassing 

12           effort.  A lot has to be done.  And certainly 

13           we want to listen.  It's an ongoing process, 

14           listening to the feedback from the rank and 

15           file as we roll this out.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

17                  SENATOR SAVINO:  My time is up.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sorry, we do have 

19           to cut you off, Senator Savino.

20                  Assemblywoman Weinstein.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we're 

22           going to go to Assemblyman Epstein now.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

24           Chair.  


                                                                   389

 1                  And thank you, Commissioner, for being 

 2           with us today.  

 3                  So I note that the average death of 

 4           folks behind the wall based on natural causes 

 5           is between 56 and 59 years old.  I'm 

 6           wondering how you define natural causes for 

 7           such an -- and how do you -- I mean, it's 

 8           such a low death average compared to what we 

 9           see out in the general public.

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

11           natural causes is something that's basically 

12           a health services determination.  It is not, 

13           you know, an operations determination.  

14                  And every single individual has to 

15           have an autopsy performed, and that will tell 

16           us what the cause of death is.  When death 

17           happens, that generates what's called an 

18           unusual incident report, where we have to put 

19           down what seems to be a cause of death, which 

20           can change once we get the ultimate autopsy 

21           report.  

22                  It also might be listed initially as 

23           "unknown," because we simply -- if we find 

24           somebody who's dead, unfortunately deceased 


                                                                   390

 1           in their cell, we have no idea if it's 

 2           natural causes, we have no idea if it's a 

 3           drug overdose or anything else.  We also will 

 4           have BCI come in and do an investigation.

 5                  But you're right about the average age 

 6           of death for natural causes.  It's the same 

 7           as basically in the general public.  If the 

 8           health services, if the medical examiner 

 9           tells us natural causes and he writes it up 

10           for arterial sclerosis or brain tumor or 

11           cancer or whatever the cause of death may be, 

12           that's what we go by.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I would just 

14           hope that we could explore that a little 

15           more, because it just seems, you know, much 

16           lower than the general public and I believe 

17           there's something we should be doing about 

18           that.

19                  I want to focus on, you know, access 

20           to phone calls.  I know inmates, folks behind 

21           the walls are -- you know, really need to 

22           stay connected to their family and their 

23           community.  And this is an issue that keeps 

24           coming up when we hear from advocates.  And 


                                                                   391

 1           I'm wondering, you know, like expanding 

 2           opportunities for free phone calls -- you 

 3           know, I know there were free phone calls 

 4           that's been available during the pandemic -- 

 5           and looking at extending that.  And what's 

 6           your view on giving them access to more free 

 7           phone calls to stay connected to their 

 8           community?

 9                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

10           let me say I support generally, you know, the 

11           practical means to connect incarcerated 

12           individuals with their families.  That's why 

13           I continue to have a family reunion program 

14           so that they can have an intimate visit and 

15           be a family again, and I put a lot of time 

16           and effort into upgrading them so they look 

17           like family environments.

18                  Staying connected to family is 

19           critical.  We have among the lowest phone 

20           rates right now because by statute we are not 

21           allowed to take any commissions.  Other 

22           jurisdictions, around the state and local, 

23           they use commissions from phone calls and 

24           they'll apply it to subsidize their 


                                                                   392

 1           operations.  We do not do any of that at all.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So, 

 3           Commissioner, I'm almost out of time.  I'd 

 4           love to, you know, talk to you more about 

 5           that.

 6                  And I just have one last question, 

 7           because I do think free phone calls is 

 8           important.  I'm wondering if there's any 

 9           formerly incarcerated people on the Parole 

10           Board right now.  And what's your thought 

11           about having a formerly incarcerated person 

12           on the board?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

14           believe anyone who's formerly incarcerated is 

15           on the board.  

16                  I won't speak for the board, but I'll 

17           tell you that we hire a lot of formerly 

18           incarcerated, they're volunteers in our 

19           system.  I think they're the most credible 

20           people to deliver messages about what their 

21           experience has been and get other people to 

22           turn their lives around.  So I strongly 

23           support hiring formerly incarcerated 

24           individuals.


                                                                   393

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 2           Chair.  Thank you, Commissioner.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate?

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 5           much.

 6                  We're actually up to me.  Thank you, 

 7           Commissioner.

 8                  So following up I believe on Senator 

 9           Savino's last point, a real concern to me -- 

10           even though I am very pleased that the 

11           agencies have been merged with the intent of 

12           far more focus on what happens when people 

13           are released from prison and go back to 

14           community and the importance of rethinking 

15           all of that -- I am still not clear even who 

16           is eligible, say, for these housing services.  

17           I am very worried that when we release 

18           elderly prisoners and/or mentally ill 

19           prisoners to New York City, we are releasing 

20           them to the streets right in front of the 

21           Bellevue Men's Shelter, and then no one ever 

22           knows what happened other than I'm pretty 

23           sure it's a less humane model than whatever 

24           was happening in our prisons.


                                                                   394

 1                  And so I feel that it is imperative 

 2           that there be a mechanism to ensure not just 

 3           notification of criminal justice people -- I 

 4           mean, with all due respect to NYPD, they're 

 5           not going to go out there and get mental care 

 6           health services or housing or senior services 

 7           for returning prisoners -- that we need a 

 8           very specific construct of how people are 

 9           going to be coming back to the city and being 

10           placed in a residential site that actually 

11           can deal with their needs.

12                  So I'm particularly, again, concerned 

13           about seniors and about people with mental 

14           health issues.  And I'm curious, do we have 

15           any pilots that we know anything about that 

16           are working or not, or are we -- are we 

17           changing the policy that -- I think the last 

18           time I checked, you were releasing about 

19           2,000 people from buses to the entrance of 

20           the men's shelters in my city and my 

21           district.

22                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Okay, 

23           Senator, let me take it one step at a time.

24                  First of all, the Governor's new 


                                                                   395

 1           initiative is a bold new initiative with a 

 2           residential treatment facility where 

 3           voluntarily, they'll be able to stay for 

 4           90 days.  It will be without many of the 

 5           restrictions that we usually have with a 

 6           correctional facility.  They'll be able to 

 7           have cellphones, they'll come and go.

 8                  And then that -- the purpose of that 

 9           is so that they're otherwise homeless, they 

10           can have the right to stay at Edgecombe for 

11           up to 90 days.  And to help them gain houses, 

12           we're going to pay a stipend to the head of 

13           the household that agrees to take them for 

14           12 weeks, $100. So -- and if that works like 

15           we think it might work to help people get a 

16           toehold, we think we'll start to move the 

17           needle with respect to homelessness. 

18                  I think the average stay, for those 

19           arriving at Bellevue now, is I think 37 days.  

20           So they end starting there, many of them, but 

21           then they are -- they do end up finding 

22           housing after that.

23                  So you're right, this is a big 

24           challenge.  I mean, we are not in the 


                                                                   396

 1           business of finding, you know, housing for 

 2           people that are otherwise homeless.  We do 

 3           provide notifications, under the law, like 

 4           we're required, to all social service 

 5           districts when someone who appears to require 

 6           homeless housing is going to be released to 

 7           that jurisdiction.

 8                  So we do that throughout the state.  

 9           It is a challenge, and I think this is one 

10           initiative that will help.

11                  There's many programs out there that 

12           are coming online.  Right now, if you call -- 

13           Fulton Correctional Facility was given to the 

14           Osborne Association.  That is almost ready, 

15           from my understanding, to start accepting 

16           people from DOCCS who might otherwise be 

17           homeless.  There are all kinds of 

18           not-for-profits, especially that deal with 

19           releasing elderly individuals that may have 

20           lost their connections to families.  

21                  I know one initiative that's out there 

22           in the Ossining area where Hudson Link, the 

23           executive director has purchased housing, 

24           he's rehabbed them, and he's allowing them to 


                                                                   397

 1           be used for otherwise people that have no 

 2           place to go when they're released from 

 3           Sing Sing.  

 4                  So there's a well of goodwill out 

 5           there with a lot of not-for-profits and 

 6           people that want to help returning citizens 

 7           get homes, get adjusted.  And I can help that 

 8           in one way by maintaining the family 

 9           connections while they're still with us.  

10           There's a lot that can be done there, a lot 

11           that is being done to reestablish family 

12           connections while they're with us.  So it's a 

13           multifaceted approach to a very complex 

14           problem.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And you described 

16           a stipend for this new program beyond the 

17           90 days.  So that's $100 a week that you're 

18           offering?

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Yes.  To 

20           the head of the -- if they find -- if they 

21           can find someone that can say, look, my 

22           brother-in-law will take me in and he'll let 

23           me live with him, finances are tight, but 

24           he'll let me in if you agree to pay him $100 


                                                                   398

 1           a week for the 12 weeks.

 2                  So we hope that that's enough to give 

 3           them a toehold, get them on their feet, get a 

 4           job and then either stay there or find 

 5           permanent housing after that.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And do you have 

 7           any data that shows that elderly people and 

 8           mentally ill people coming out of prisons 

 9           have any success with getting employment?

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I know 

11           that a lot of the not-for-profits do work 

12           with them and they're able at some point to 

13           get employment, but it's a big adjustment for 

14           somebody that's been incarcerated for many, 

15           many years.  It's a complex problem.  

16                  I don't have any statistics on who 

17           gets employed, who doesn't.  I mean, the 

18           number-one concern is immediate housing, 

19           where they're going to live as soon as 

20           they're released from the correctional 

21           facility.  And employment is right on its 

22           heels as well.  Coupled with sobriety 

23           thereafter.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  And you're 


                                                                   399

 1           not going to be using halfway houses as the 

 2           model?  Which I don't think have been very 

 3           successful.

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  There 

 5           are people that can avail themselves of 

 6           halfway houses.  There's a lot of resources 

 7           out there.  

 8                  But this is going to be different.  

 9           This is going to be not unlike a halfway 

10           house, but it's going to have structure.  

11           There's going -- you're going to have to 

12           agree to abide by certain conditions.  And 

13           the punishment is if you don't, then you 

14           can't participate anymore.  You're going to 

15           have to, you know, go elsewhere.  Most people 

16           probably don't want to go to a homeless 

17           shelter if they can avoid it.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  That is 

19           absolutely true.

20                  And again, my particular focus here is 

21           the discussion around the most vulnerable 

22           people leaving prisons, which I do believe 

23           are the elderly and the mentally ill, and 

24           they are the least likely to have had an 


                                                                   400

 1           ongoing relationship with family, you know, 

 2           either because they've been in the prison 

 3           system so long or because they, with mental 

 4           illness, had burned bridges with their family 

 5           even before they went to prison.

 6                  So I'm particularly interested in 

 7           seeing what we can do that are models that 

 8           actually work for these populations.  Because 

 9           I know everyone in the world is calling for 

10           us to, you know, pass legislation that says 

11           just release these people.  And my 

12           perspective is I certainly don't want anyone 

13           to spend a day more in prison than they need 

14           to.  But I also feel very strongly that 

15           releasing them to the streets of New York 

16           City with no supports and no future is 

17           actually a worse storyline than in many of 

18           the situations they find themselves.

19                  So I appreciate your response.  I 

20           congratulate you on becoming the actual 

21           commissioner.  I feel like my whole life 

22           you've been the acting commissioner.  I'm not 

23           sure -- that's not really true, but I feel 

24           like that.  


                                                                   401

 1                  And I'm going to not use my last two 

 2           minutes and pass it back to Chair Weinstein.

 3                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Thank 

 4           you, Senator.  

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 6           We'll go to Assemblyman Burdick.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you.

 8                  And Senator Krueger, you touched upon 

 9           the very topic that I wanted to discuss as 

10           well, and thank you for those questions. 

11                  And Commissioner Annucci, thank you 

12           for your responses on it.  

13                  And I wish to first commend you for 

14           embracing Clean Slate and other recent 

15           reforms to ensure that they're implemented 

16           well.  And we do hope that the Governor will 

17           be supporting further reforms such as Fair 

18           and Timely and Elderly Parole.

19                  And I noticed your reply to the 

20           question about what constitutes elderly, and 

21           I think you mentioned that there is no 

22           definition, but generally thought of as 55 or 

23           more.  I share the Senator's views that we 

24           need to be sure that there is sufficient 


                                                                   402

 1           supports in the community for those who are 

 2           released.  

 3                  And along those lines, and further to 

 4           the question about those that are released to 

 5           homeless shelters, I recall in the budget 

 6           hearings last year there was a question -- 

 7           not mine, but whether you happened to know, 

 8           you know, what percentage or what number of 

 9           those that are released go to homeless 

10           shelters.  And I'm not looking for an answer 

11           now, but if we could try to get that, that 

12           would be helpful.  

13                  But my question actually goes to what 

14           work DOCCS does in coordination with the 

15           Division of Housing and Community Renewal, 

16           which as I'm sure you're aware, the Governor 

17           has provided a great deal of funds for 

18           addressing homelessness.

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Off the 

20           top of my head, Assemblyman, I'm going to 

21           have to check on that.  

22                  I do know that our reentry managers 

23           are working very diligently with individuals 

24           when they get released to find them housing.  


                                                                   403

 1           And I'm sure that they have connections with 

 2           every entity that's out there that could 

 3           offer housing.

 4                  I know that we've worked with MOCJ, 

 5           which is the Mayor's Office of Criminal 

 6           Justice.  They're making funding available 

 7           for us that will help with the placement of 

 8           those with serious mental illness as well as 

 9           other individuals that are homeless.  There 

10           is a lot more resources that are available in 

11           the city versus in the rural areas of the 

12           state, so we are taking advantage of that.  

13                  There are, you know, a lot of 

14           not-for-profits that --

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you.  And 

16           I don't mean to interrupt, but I think that 

17           it would be very helpful if there's more of a 

18           connection directly with HCR on this.  And 

19           those community organizations are terrific 

20           that you mentioned, and working with the 

21           Mayor's programs I think are terrific too.  

22                  But I think this needs to be an 

23           interagency approach.  And it would be 

24           terrific if something could be developed 


                                                                   404

 1           there.  This is something that became 

 2           apparent to me since I serve on both the 

 3           Housing Committee and Correction Committee, 

 4           and I would love to pursue that further with 

 5           you.

 6                  And my time is out, but if we could 

 7           try to set something up where I can discuss 

 8           it further with you, I would greatly 

 9           appreciate it.

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Happy to 

11           do it, Assemblyman.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you so 

13           much.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate?

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

16           much.

17                  And now we have Senator O'Mara.

18                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you.

19                  Good evening, Commissioner.  It's a 

20           long day.  You're No. 5 on a list of 30-some.  

21           So thanks for your time; thanks for being 

22           with us.

23                  I had a couple of questions on the 

24           prison closures that came about this year.  


                                                                   405

 1           In prior years there has been local economic 

 2           development money attached to the prisons 

 3           that have been closed.  Can you outline for 

 4           me what's being put in place for these 

 5           localities for the prisons that are slated to 

 6           be closed this year?

 7                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  The 

 8           prior appropriation has been reappropriated 

 9           for this year, so that money will be 

10           available going forward.  That's my 

11           understanding.

12                  SENATOR O'MARA:  And how much is that?

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

14           know off the top of my head, but I'll get 

15           that for you, Senator.

16                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Okay.  And in regards 

17           to the prior prison closures over the last 

18           decade or so, how many of those facilities 

19           have been reused, repurposed for something 

20           else?  And how much of that local economic 

21           development money for those facilities was 

22           used, and how much remains for those?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I know 

24           that of the closures we've done -- including 


                                                                   406

 1           these, will total 27 -- that six have been 

 2           either purchased or repurposed for public use 

 3           or local use or private use.  One was turned 

 4           over for a not-for-profit in New York City, 

 5           Fulton, to the Osborne Association.  The 

 6           Buffalo work release facility was converted 

 7           for use by us.  And a number of others are 

 8           still potentially there for reuse.

 9                  Again, I will refocus on what the 

10           Governor's initiative -- the proposal going 

11           forward to create this commission to have a 

12           lot of different perspectives, private 

13           individuals who can bring to the table their 

14           perspective of how to reuse a closed 

15           correctional facility going forward, taking 

16           into account the needs, what's best for the 

17           community, what the job needs are for the 

18           state.

19                  SENATOR O'MARA:  In regards to the 

20           economic development money available, is that 

21           money -- is there a certain amount for each 

22           facility, or is there a lump sum to be used 

23           across the state?  

24                  And do those dollars have to be used 


                                                                   407

 1           on a site-specific economic development 

 2           project -- in other words, the actual 

 3           repurposing of the facility -- or can they go 

 4           to another economic development project in 

 5           the community?

 6                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I 

 7           believe the entity to answer those specific 

 8           questions, Senator, is ESD.  They would 

 9           control the money and the flow, and they can 

10           answer your questions as to what is a 

11           permissible use and would not be a 

12           permissible use.

13                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Okay.  I will follow 

14           up with them.  Thank you for that.

15                  And if you could, you know, get me the 

16           current dollars that are -- were appropriated 

17           last year and will be reappropriated this 

18           year for these current closures underway.  

19                  Another follow-up question in regards 

20           to the free college for inmates.  You know, 

21           we've in recent years enacted the Excelsior 

22           Scholarship Program for SUNY students with 

23           some pretty rigorous requirements of 

24           full-time attendance, certain GPA levels, or 


                                                                   408

 1           you risk losing that free tuition and 

 2           actually have to pay that back.

 3                  Are there any of those types of 

 4           requirements being proposed with this free 

 5           college tuition for inmates at this point?

 6                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Senator, 

 7           I think those details will have to be worked 

 8           out.  

 9                  But the other thing I'll tell you is 

10           this.  The students that participate in 

11           college behind the walls, they work very 

12           hard.  I just -- this is anecdotal, I just 

13           got the notice from all the recent graduates 

14           I think at Washington Correctional Facility.  

15           And out of 21 graduates, something like 20 

16           made the Dean's List, and one made the 

17           President's List or something along those 

18           lines.

19                  They work very hard.  They don't take 

20           it for granted.  They're not there to pass 

21           the time away.  They really want to get a 

22           degree because they know what it means.  And 

23           the multiplier effect is very often members 

24           of their family then follow suit and also are 


                                                                   409

 1           incentivized to get their college degree as 

 2           well.

 3                  So those kinds of details are still 

 4           what consequences there would be for not 

 5           attending class or not following through.  I 

 6           think those things can be worked out.  And, 

 7           you know, they make sense.

 8                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you, 

 9           Commissioner.  Thanks for being here.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                  Assembly.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

13           Assemblyman Carroll.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Thank you, 

15           Chair Weinstein.  And thank you, 

16           Commissioner Annucci, for your testimony.

17                  During this current administration, 

18           only one incarcerated person -- who was 

19           actually physically incarcerated -- has been 

20           granted clemency.  Of the thousands of people 

21           who currently have requested clemency, do you 

22           think that only one is worthy of clemency?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I'm not 

24           sure if your numbers are accurate.  


                                                                   410

 1                  I do know that clemency wisely, by the 

 2           Constitution of our state, is reserved to the 

 3           Governor for her to decide, or him to decide.

 4                  I know that since the start of the 

 5           pandemic, the population has decreased by 

 6           13,000-some-odd, many of them by the 

 7           Governor's direction to implement now the 

 8           spirit of Less is More.  I can give you those 

 9           numbers; it's either 600 or 700 that have 

10           been released from our correctional 

11           facilities.

12                  I know that we do have a --

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  But clemency 

14           specifically, sir, I do believe that this 

15           current Governor has only granted clemency to 

16           one person who was actually physically 

17           incarcerated.  I think she has granted it to 

18           10 people, but they otherwise were not in 

19           custody when she granted that.

20                  But the reason I ask you is not to say 

21           if it was one or 10, but you have spoken 

22           passionately previously about individuals who 

23           are committing suicide behind bars and what 

24           you've done to stop suicide rates in our 


                                                                   411

 1           jails.  And my question really is as our jail 

 2           population ages -- now one-quarter of our 

 3           jail population is considered elderly -- 

 4           don't we think that we are going to see more 

 5           suicides, we are going to see more extreme 

 6           outcomes if we do not figure out a way to 

 7           make sure that more people who are aging in 

 8           prison are released?

 9                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I can 

10           tell you that my big focus is to give every 

11           individual in my system a reason to hope.  

12           And hope is something that can come in many 

13           ways.

14                  Now, this Governor had to take the 

15           reins of state government at a quick time, 

16           she had to wrestle with the State of the 

17           State, the budget, appointments, a number of 

18           things.  At some point she will probably have 

19           more time to devote to clemency.  I'm not 

20           going to speak to her --

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Commissioner -- 

22           Commissioner, I believe you believe in hope, 

23           and I'm sure you believe in grace.  But if 

24           somebody is facing down an indeterminate 


                                                                   412

 1           sentence or a sentence that is so long it 

 2           might as well be indeterminate, why should 

 3           they have hope?  Why wouldn't they start to 

 4           believe that they have no hope and that the 

 5           policy of the State of New York is for them 

 6           to die behind bars, and thus why not make it 

 7           quicker and kill themselves?

 8                  Aren't we going to see more people 

 9           kill themselves if we keep having 

10           indeterminate sentences where there is no 

11           hope?

12                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Senator 

13           {sic}, I can only say that people that have 

14           long sentences, when I meet and speak with 

15           them, a lot of them have turned their lives 

16           around, a lot of them believe in giving 

17           something back to society, and they find 

18           purpose where they are.

19                  Whether or not they will someday have 

20           the ability to get out and that's what 

21           they're hoping for, that is a personal, 

22           individual decision for them.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN CARROLL:  Thank you, 

24           Commissioner.


                                                                   413

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 2                  I think our final Senator is Senator 

 3           Salazar, who's the chair, and she gets a 

 4           three-minute follow-up question or questions, 

 5           plural.

 6                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you, Chair. 

 7                  I just want to quickly note, because 

 8           Assemblyman Walczyk asked about it, all DOCCS 

 9           staff actually are eligible for tuition 

10           reimbursement, but it's administered through 

11           GOER rather than through DOCCS.

12                  I wanted to ask you, Commissioner, 

13           about the work release program.  My 

14           understanding is that currently individuals 

15           at maximum-security facilities are 

16           categorically excluded from eligibility for 

17           work release.  Is that correct?

18                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

19           you have to be eligible under the rules and 

20           regulations.  There's nothing that says you 

21           can't apply for work release if you are 

22           confined in a maximum-security prison.

23                  There are very detailed regulations.  

24           You have to be within two years of your 


                                                                   414

 1           earliest release date.  So if you're still in 

 2           a max, you're probably not within two years 

 3           of your earliest release, or you're there 

 4           because of some complicated reason like your 

 5           mental health or medical reasons.

 6                  The statutes are extremely complex 

 7           that deal with work release, and there are 

 8           crimes of restriction that are involved.  And 

 9           at some point maybe before I die or -- I'll 

10           try and straighten out those statutes and 

11           make them a little more understandable.

12                  But for example, if you're convicted 

13           of any homicide offense, you're ineligible 

14           for work release.  And maybe that needs to be 

15           reexamined.  Sex offenders, for good reason, 

16           are barred as well, and other types.

17                  But work release is a very important 

18           program.  It is a way of transitioning back 

19           into society where you're given some degree 

20           of liberty.  You, to participate, are 

21           transferred to a facility designated as a 

22           work release facility, and then you gradually 

23           furlough and get an approved residence and 

24           reintegrate with your family and earn real 


                                                                   415

 1           money like John Q. Public does as well, and 

 2           pay taxes.

 3                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you.  Yeah, I 

 4           agree with you, it's a very good program, and 

 5           would also like to see eligibility expanded 

 6           to include people even if they have been 

 7           convicted of certain crimes that currently 

 8           render them ineligible.

 9                  Wanted to ask quickly about the 

10           Executive proposal to waive fees for 

11           non-driver IDs for formerly incarcerated 

12           people.  Under the current law, when do 

13           incarcerated individuals apply for a 

14           non-driver ID?  Can they begin the process 

15           while they're incarcerated, for example, or 

16           is it only after? 

17                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  We 

18           intend to allow that to happen under the 

19           pilot that we're going to work on with DMV.

20                  Right now what we do have is a program 

21           that's operated out of a community 

22           supervision in New York that is funded by 

23           outside money where they can get their 

24           non-driver ID when they report there.  So -- 


                                                                   416

 1           and that's for parolees in the entire five 

 2           boroughs.  And they have the physical 

 3           machinery there at the office, so we make it 

 4           easier for them to apply.

 5                  Now, what we're going to do -- and we 

 6           have to work out the details, and we're 

 7           currently in intensive discussions with DMV, 

 8           an excellent partner on this -- we're going 

 9           to pilot it at least at a couple of sites.  

10           There's a lot of logistics that have to be 

11           worked out, and what equipment is needed and 

12           technology, et cetera.  But the idea is to 

13           give them, for this pilot, non-driver ID when 

14           they leave the correctional facility.

15                  So if that works the way we think it 

16           can -- and there's a lot of details that 

17           we'll work out, but we're working together, 

18           it's an excellent partnership --- it will 

19           give us a leg up on that.

20                  SENATOR SALAZAR:  Thank you.  

21           Appreciate it.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                  I am now playing Chair Weinstein for a 

24           little while.  The next Assemblymember is 


                                                                   417

 1           Linda Rosenthal.

 2                  There you are.  There you are, yes.

 3                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  Yes.  Thank 

 4           you, Senator.

 5                  Hello, Mr. Commissioner.  I have a 

 6           couple of questions for you.  DOCCS has 

 7           suspended programs and limited visits because 

 8           of COVID-19.  Is the COVID release policy 

 9           still in place?

10                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  The 

11           COVID release policy?

12                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  Yeah.

13                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  We have 

14           not had to do that recently.  So -- but we 

15           are implementing the Less is More, we're 

16           still continuing to do that and release 

17           people that are under -- the spirit of 

18           Less is More.  Totally, I think it's about 

19           573 that have been released.

20                  Right now we are on program pause.  We 

21           reevaluate that every two weeks because of 

22           the recent spike.  But I'm hopeful of 

23           reinstating that in the not-too-distant 

24           future.  


                                                                   418

 1                  But visits are not suspended, by the 

 2           way.  We're still allowing visits.  A visitor 

 3           comes, they get the test, if it's negative, 

 4           then they can visit with their loved one.

 5                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  So the move 

 6           from delta to omicron, how has that affected 

 7           this policy?

 8                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Because 

 9           of the spike in numbers, we basically just 

10           look at who's positive.  And it causes us 

11           to -- when we're seeing the spike, and it 

12           happened pretty significantly.  We think 

13           we're on the downswing now.  

14                  But we've decided, in the best 

15           interests of everybody, just put a program 

16           pause on so that that is on hold -- and it's 

17           been on since December of whatever date, not 

18           too terribly long.  And we're watching the 

19           numbers, and I'm hopeful of reinstating that 

20           in a couple of weeks.  

21                  But still delivering program related 

22           things with our outside colleges, through the 

23           tablets and other means of getting them the 

24           materials they need.  And then hopefully 


                                                                   419

 1           bringing the volunteers back as well.

 2                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  So what 

 3           determinants -- do you have like a list of 

 4           determinants that will guide you in terms of 

 5           when you --

 6                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  We look 

 7           at the raw number of positives at every 

 8           correctional facility, we look at the number 

 9           of staff that are out, we look at who's 

10           positive, pending tests, who's quarantined, 

11           who is in an outside hospital.  There's no 

12           magic number, but it's just when we sit 

13           down we'll meet with our deputy commissioner 

14           and chief medical officer, who works hand in 

15           glove with DOH.  And when there's a consensus 

16           that we may need to do this now to stay ahead 

17           of it before it overwhelms things, we act it. 

18                  We want to avoid what happened in 

19           2020, and we're pushing as many things as we 

20           can.  We just now crossed 53 percent for the 

21           number of population that have been 

22           vaccinated.  It's a lot of cajoling and 

23           incentivizing that we're trying to do.  I 

24           wish I could get that number up higher, but 


                                                                   420

 1           we'll continue to show them educational 

 2           materials and anything else that can get them 

 3           to change their mind and accept the vaccine.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 5                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  Is it that 

 6           many people who don't want a vaccine, or for 

 7           what reasons?

 8                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  People 

 9           make their own decisions.  Just like people 

10           in the outside world, they'll decide that 

11           they want the vaccine or don't want the 

12           vaccine.

13                  We've made the vaccine available going 

14           way back, and we keep making it available.  

15           And the best we can do is just keep giving 

16           them the educational materials, but you can't 

17           compel someone to accept the vaccination if 

18           they don't want one.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

20                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  Okay, thank 

21           you.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I have to cut you 

23           off, Assemblywoman.  Thank you.  

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN ROSENTHAL:  Thank you.


                                                                   421

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 2                  Next is Assemblymember Ra, who's the 

 3           ranker and gets five minutes.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.

 5                  Commissioner, thanks for being with us 

 6           again.

 7                  So just a couple of questions relative 

 8           to the staff there.  And, you know, a lot of 

 9           people have brought up the situation.  And 

10           I'm sure you're familiar that last fall 

11           Governor Hochul made an agreement for 

12           two-and-a-half-times overtime for nurses and 

13           other healthcare professionals, which I 

14           believe includes healthcare workers that work 

15           in DOCCS facilities.

16                  Do you think that perhaps the 

17           corrections officers should get a similar 

18           overtime rate?

19                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I could 

20           tell you, Assemblyman, that that's an issue 

21           that we're looking at.  I've received an 

22           official letter from the president of the 

23           union.

24                  Our initial approach was to be very 


                                                                   422

 1           surgical and try to deal with those positions 

 2           that really were -- we were losing to other 

 3           agencies.  So it was an immediate response to 

 4           put us on par with other agencies and not 

 5           have our nurses -- and we already have very 

 6           high vacancy rates with our nurses and 

 7           similar healthcare titles leaving.  So this 

 8           was an immediate surgical step.

 9                  From Day 1, both myself as well as the 

10           Governor has recognized that our staff, all 

11           of our staff who have come to work in our 

12           correctional facilities during COVID are 

13           heroes and heroines, and they deserve our 

14           appreciation.  And she has come to our medals 

15           event, and she personally conveyed the 

16           appreciation to the entire audience, which 

17           was a cross-section of superintendents and 

18           representatives of the union and medal 

19           recipients as well.

20                  So I'll tell you that it's something 

21           we're studying right now.  There's a big 

22           fiscal to it, a huge fiscal to that.  I'm not 

23           sure if we can balance that.  But I 

24           understand why the request was made, and 


                                                                   423

 1           we'll give it careful consideration.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:   Sure.  And I -- you 

 3           know, well, fiscal things are what we're here 

 4           to talk about today, so just wanted to get 

 5           your thoughts on that.

 6                  A few different -- you know, of my 

 7           colleagues have talked about violence.  

 8           Obviously there's been a huge uptick.  You 

 9           did talk about, you know, the relationship 

10           with the DAs.  Do you have any data you can 

11           share in terms of how many cases the last 

12           couple of years have been referred to DAs for 

13           criminal charges for inmate-on-inmate or 

14           inmate-on-staff violence?

15                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  I don't 

16           have that number at my fingertips, but it's 

17           something I believe we do track and I'll see 

18           if I can get that for you.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, yeah.  And 

20           likewise, if you could, you know, any that 

21           have resulted in convictions with, you know, 

22           additional concurrent or consecutive 

23           sentences.

24                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Sure.


                                                                   424

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  And then, you 

 2           know, really along the same lines, I know you 

 3           mentioned -- you know, I and the rest of the 

 4           Legislature I think are well aware of this, 

 5           that there are tons and tons of programs that 

 6           you have been -- initiatives that you've been 

 7           asked to implement after the last few years.  

 8           And my colleagues from the Senate have talked 

 9           a little bit about HALT.

10                  And, you know, when we look at the 

11           fact that over the last few years the inmate 

12           population, you know, is half yet, you know, 

13           I saw a chart, and it's almost like the 

14           violence is going up, you know, in the 

15           opposite direction of the number of inmates, 

16           which is very alarming.

17                  So, I mean, do you think that 

18           implementing something like HALT while the 

19           situation seems to be the way it is in the 

20           facilities is a problem?  Is it something 

21           that perhaps needs to be looked at to slow 

22           the implementation of that?

23                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Well, 

24           first let me say one of the potential drivers 


                                                                   425

 1           of what we're seeing is how the percentage of 

 2           the population, the numbers that are 

 3           convicted of violent felony offenses, it's 

 4           about 76 percent.  So the reduction in the 

 5           population has been disproportionately 

 6           nonviolent.  It wasn't that long ago it was 

 7           at 66 percent; now it's 76 percent.  So that 

 8           may be one of the drivers of it.  I don't 

 9           know.  I hope that the task force will give 

10           us better ideas.

11                  I will repeat what I said earlier:  We 

12           are still going to be able to separate, which 

13           is the number-one thing you need to do when 

14           you have violence.  Whether it's an 

15           incarcerated individual against another one, 

16           or against staff, they need to be removed 

17           physically from where they are, they can't 

18           remain in general confinement.  

19                  The conditions of SHU, traditional 

20           SHU, are going to change.  RRUs are going to 

21           change.  But they will still be managed 

22           safely.  We're going to deliver out-of-cell 

23           programming and treatment safely so that 

24           everybody can still feel safe.  If anybody 


                                                                   426

 1           thinks they can commit serious crimes or, you 

 2           know, be involved in gangs and they'll still 

 3           be able to run their game in the yard or 

 4           whatever -- not going to happen.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

 6           Commissioner.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 8                  We go to Assemblywoman Kelles now.

 9                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Wonderful, 

10           thank you so much.

11                  Hello, Commissioner.

12                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Hello.

13                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Good afternoon, 

14           not morning. 

15                  Just a couple of comments, a few 

16           questions.  One of the things that has been 

17           brought up before is programming, 

18           specifically for rehabilitation. 

19                  I just want to mention -- I know I've 

20           spoken to your staff about this, others have 

21           as well.  But I would love to see the Roots 

22           of Success program initiated and expanded 

23           within the prison system, the program that is 

24           a 10-module program to teach about 


                                                                   427

 1           sustainability and work development in 

 2           housing, electrification, water resources.  

 3           It's an amazing program in 34 states, 

 4           20 years of experience, two countries.  It 

 5           has shown to reduce costs of waste and water 

 6           usage and energy usage, reduction in 

 7           recidivism rates, reduction in violence to 

 8           corrections officers -- you name it, this 

 9           program has been really {unintelligible}.

10                  I'd love to see that put in place in 

11           our system.  I know Ohio has been doing this 

12           for 10, 20 years and they have seen huge 

13           turnarounds in their system.

14                  Another thing I wanted to mention from 

15           my conversations -- I think I asked you a 

16           similar question last year and in talks with 

17           some of the prisons that I've visited -- the 

18           people who are released from prison, between 

19           40 and 50 percent of them go directly into 

20           shelters.  So I think relying specifically on 

21           the goodwill of nonprofits is not going to be 

22           enough to absorb that level.  I think putting 

23           in state funding and supports specifically 

24           into transition housing is going to be 


                                                                   428

 1           necessary.  So just wanted to add that.

 2                  And you had mentioned -- a quote-ish 

 3           from you:  Whatever you've done in the past, 

 4           there's still a chance to turn your life 

 5           around, and your life matters.  I believe in 

 6           this.  I agree with you deeply.  And wanted 

 7           to just add, then, if the way that people can 

 8           build a sense of meaning and self-value in an 

 9           incarceration system is to actively 

10           participate in college courses that build a 

11           sense of self-worth and provide valuable life 

12           skills that could be used in the community 

13           once they're released as well as reduce their 

14           likelihood of recidivism, would it not be 

15           logical, then, to maximize access to these 

16           merit-time programs? 

17                  And a previous questioner specifically 

18           asked what disqualifies someone from 

19           participating in college courses and other 

20           programs, alluding to a mindset of punishment 

21           in a system that's supposed to be about 

22           corrections.  

23                  Do you not believe that giving a 

24           person hope and a sense of self-worth through 


                                                                   429

 1           these types of programs could actually be 

 2           seen as a way to reduce crime in a prison and 

 3           protect corrections officers?

 4                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So very 

 5           good points.  First of all, we'll always look 

 6           at any new programs.  The one you just 

 7           described -- I meet with my corrections 

 8           commissioners from across the country 

 9           regularly.  We stay in touch with each other.  

10           When I go there I look at their programs, 

11           whatever's being showcased.  There's a lot of 

12           good stuff out there.  So we'll certainly be 

13           happy to look at that.

14                  The shelter issue number is a 

15           challenge.  I think I mentioned that a lot do 

16           go to shelter, but at least they don't stay 

17           too terribly long.  The average stay in the 

18           New York City shelter system for those being 

19           released to it is about 37 days.  I'd like it 

20           to be zero days, but it's 37 days.

21                  Back to who is eligible to participate 

22           in college, we don't put up any barriers for 

23           anybody to participate in college.  We 

24           welcome them.  I continually showcase the 


                                                                   430

 1           success stories.  When I was out in Phoenix 

 2           recently there was a presentation by an 

 3           individual, he gave me his book.  I'm going 

 4           to distribute it in my library.  He was a 

 5           significant drug dealer.  His book is From 

 6           Prison Cells to Ph.D.  He got his Ph.D.,  

 7           he's an endocrinologist at John Hopkins.  I'm 

 8           going to put his book in our library so he 

 9           can further incentivize other individuals.

10                  And his point is we should be as open 

11           as we can to everybody to participate in 

12           college.  It's not just get them a vocational 

13           job -- which is very important, but people 

14           can go beyond college.  They can get master's 

15           degrees, they can get Ph.D.s.  And if it was 

16           possible for him, it could be possible for 

17           just about anybody.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

19           Thank you, Commissioner.  

20                  We're now going to go to our final 

21           questioner, Assemblyman Weprin, chair of 

22           Corrections, for a second round of three 

23           minutes.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 


                                                                   431

 1           Madam Chair.

 2                  Commissioner, thank you for the long 

 3           day of participation.

 4                  The racial diversity study that 

 5           Senator Hoylman referred to was a little 

 6           disturbing, based on the statistics that they 

 7           cited.  I think the answer is the 

 8           diversification of the Parole Board, which 

 9           has happened since I'm chair.  We've filled a 

10           number of spots, and they've been a much more 

11           diverse board, as you pointed out earlier 

12           today.

13                  I believe there are still even three 

14           or four vacancies.  I think we passed 

15           legislation to allow up to 19 members, and I 

16           think it's either 15 or 16.  I think your 

17           website says 15; I've heard 16.  So there are 

18           either three or four vacancies on the Parole.  

19           Can you recommend to the Governor that they 

20           be filled as soon as possible?  And I would 

21           hope that, you know, video interviews not be 

22           a substitute for in-person post-COVID.  

23           because I know they've been emphasizing video 

24           visits because of COVID, but I would like to 


                                                                   432

 1           see more in-person, especially if we can get 

 2           more parole commissioners up to speed, up to 

 3           19, and then they can travel all over the 

 4           state.  And I think that is certainly the 

 5           best way to give people a fair chance at, you 

 6           know, being released and being welcomed back 

 7           into society.

 8                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  So, 

 9           Assemblyman, the Governor has already done 

10           that.  She's announced in her State of the 

11           State and it's in the budget that she wants 

12           to have all 19 positions filled.  There's 

13           also a provision in there that they can't do 

14           any outside employment so that they can 

15           devote their full time and attention to the 

16           job at hand, which is making informed 

17           decisions following parole release 

18           interviews, setting conditions, et cetera, 

19           and doing all related work.

20                  So that's her intention.  I fully 

21           support that.  I think it makes sense.  And 

22           I'm sure they'll come up with continuing 

23           diversity to represent all New Yorkers on the 

24           Parole Board.


                                                                   433

 1                  I'll convey your sentiments on the 

 2           second point to the chairwoman, and it will 

 3           be her decision what to do with that.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Okay, thank you.

 5                  Again, I will also emphasize to the 

 6           Governor the importance of filling these, 

 7           because as you know, since I've been chair 

 8           since 2017, we had about six or seven 

 9           vacancies, and I urge filling them and have 

10           made recommendations of various diverse 

11           members.  

12                  So, you know, I do think that the 

13           newer members are much more diverse than the 

14           older members, and certainly more reflective 

15           of the population of New York State.  So, you 

16           know, I strongly would emphasize that as 

17           well.

18                  ACTING COMMISSIONER ANNUCCI:  Very 

19           good, Assemblyman.  Thank you.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

21           Commissioner.  I'm going to turn -- thank you 

22           for being here with us this year as well as 

23           so many other years.  

24                  I'm going to turn this back to 


                                                                   434

 1           Senator Krueger.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 3           much.  And indeed, Commissioner, thank you 

 4           for spending much of your afternoon with us.  

 5           We will now allow you to go back to the rest 

 6           of your day.  

 7                  And we will be calling up, from the 

 8           New York State division of State Police, 

 9           Kevin Bruen, the acting superintendent.

10                  Are you with us, Superintendent?

11                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I am.

12                  And I'm no longer acting, which is 

13           good.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  Well, 

15           welcome, Superintendent.

16                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And you know the 

18           drill around here.

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I do.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We have your 

21           testimony, but try to summarize your key 

22           points in 10 minutes or under, and then we 

23           will start to ask you questions, those of us 

24           who are still standing ourselves.  Thank you.


                                                                   435

 1                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I will.  Thank 

 2           you, Chairs Krueger and Weinstein and 

 3           distinguished members of the joint committee, 

 4           for the opportunity to discuss Governor 

 5           Hochul's Executive Budget for the Division of 

 6           State Police.  

 7                  I'm Kevin Bruen, superintendent of the 

 8           New York State Police.  

 9                  I want to thank the Legislature for 

10           its continued support of the New York State 

11           Police.  Because of your support, Troopers 

12           continue to uphold this agency's reputation 

13           as one of the finest law enforcement agencies 

14           in the country.  

15                  For more than 100 years, the New York 

16           State Police has consistently provided a high 

17           level of professional public service.  We 

18           learn and adapt to the needs of a constantly 

19           changing society, and we strive for 

20           continuous improvement in every aspect of our 

21           work.  Our mission priorities remain the 

22           same:  Highway safety, professional police 

23           services, investigative support, detecting 

24           and preventing terrorism, preparing for and 


                                                                   436

 1           responding to emergencies and disasters. 

 2                  As you are aware, the majority of the 

 3           appropriations for the State Police 

 4           operations are in support of personnel 

 5           service obligations.  Most non-personnel 

 6           service appropriations are non-discretionary 

 7           expenditures for things like vehicles, 

 8           equipment, facilities, and communications.  

 9           These expenditures are essential for 

10           providing the tools necessary for the men and 

11           women of the State Police to fulfill their 

12           law enforcement missions.  

13                  Getting the State Police back to an 

14           adequate staffing level is a top priority.  

15           To that end, we currently have an Academy 

16           class, and we are expecting a second, and 

17           potentially a third later this year.  

18                  In addition, we are currently offering 

19           our Trooper Entrance Exam, and we continue to 

20           seek the highest-quality candidates.  We want 

21           to hire and retain the most diverse group of 

22           individuals that reflect our communities and 

23           the communities we serve.  To that end, we 

24           have made our exam more accessible by moving 


                                                                   437

 1           to a computer-based platform, making the exam 

 2           available at testing centers across the 

 3           state, upwards of 50, 250 nationwide, and 

 4           across the military installations around the 

 5           world.  

 6                  We have also enhanced our recruiting 

 7           efforts and implemented a marketing plan to 

 8           expand our reach into minority communities.  

 9           I know that many of you reached out to your 

10           constituents on our behalf to help build 

11           awareness of the exam, and we appreciate any 

12           continued assistance you can provide.  

13                  Another top priority is addressing gun 

14           violence.  The Governor has included in the 

15           proposed budget expenditures that would help 

16           expand our efforts to reduce the threat of 

17           gun violence across the state.  

18                  One such proposal is funding expanded 

19           Community Stabilization Units, where we 

20           partner with local law enforcement to 

21           proactively address gun violence with an 

22           intelligence-based approach that identifies 

23           and concentrates on the greatest threats of 

24           gun violence.  We have had success since this 


                                                                   438

 1           initiative was started last year, and these 

 2           additional resources will allow us to assist 

 3           more communities.  

 4                  We also seek to improve our crime 

 5           tracing abilities so that we can identify and 

 6           break up illegal firearms trafficking 

 7           operations.  We are already working closely 

 8           with our federal, state and local partners, 

 9           including the NYPD and the ATF, and have had 

10           success in taking illegally possessed guns 

11           off the streets. 

12                  Governor Hochul's proposal to fund a 

13           team of analysts at the New York State 

14           Intelligence Center will provide much-needed 

15           additional support that would help the State 

16           Police and our partners identify, disrupt, 

17           and shut down such gun trafficking 

18           operations.  Our focus on gun trafficking is 

19           already paying off -- our gun seizures, as an 

20           agency, are up over 200 percent from last 

21           year.  

22                  Another pressing concern relates to 

23           the analysis of smartphones and other digital 

24           devices by our Computer Forensic Laboratory. 


                                                                   439

 1           There has been an exponential increase in the 

 2           lab's caseload and the complexity of the 

 3           devices being used to commit crimes has 

 4           highlighted the need for additional 

 5           resources.  The Governor's proposed budget 

 6           includes funding for new equipment and 

 7           software to expand our Computer Crime Unit to 

 8           combat the proliferation of crimes being 

 9           committed using highly technological means.  

10                  In addition, highway safety remains 

11           one of our core missions.  I would like to 

12           update you on our ongoing efforts to ensure 

13           highway safety following the legalization of 

14           adult-use cannabis.  One part of our safety 

15           strategy includes training all Troopers in 

16           something known as ARIDE, Advanced Roadside 

17           Impaired Driving Enforcement.  

18                  This is a federally developed program 

19           that allows Troopers with additional training 

20           to help identify drug- and alcohol-impaired 

21           drivers, and it fills the gap between the 

22           standard field sobriety tests and something 

23           known as the highly specialized Drug 

24           Recognition Expert training.  


                                                                   440

 1                  So far, nearly 80 percent of our 

 2           Troopers on the road have received ARIDE 

 3           training, and all new Academy recruits are 

 4           instructed and trained in ARIDE.  

 5                  Our highest priority continues to be 

 6           public safety and the safety of our members. 

 7           With your support, the Executive Budget 

 8           continues to provide Troopers with the 

 9           necessary equipment, training, and other 

10           valuable resources to ensure their safety as 

11           they carry out their duties in serving and 

12           protecting the public.  

13                  Again, I am honored and privileged to 

14           represent the nearly 6,000 dedicated men and 

15           women of the State Police who serve and 

16           protect the people of this great state.  They 

17           do so selflessly, with tremendous pride, and 

18           at sometimes great personal risk.  

19                  Thank you very much for your support 

20           for the State Police and for the opportunity 

21           to address you all.  I welcome any questions 

22           you may have.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

24           much, Superintendent Bruen.


                                                                   441

 1                  I believe our first questioner will be 

 2           the chair of our Codes Committee, Senator 

 3           Jamaal Bailey.

 4                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, Madam 

 5           Chair.  

 6                  And Superintendent, good to see you 

 7           again.  We briefly -- we were able to 

 8           converse last year during your confirmation 

 9           when you went from "acting" to 

10           "superintendent."  So I just wanted to 

11           congratulate you and thank you for your 

12           testimony today.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thanks, 

14           Senator.  Good to see you.

15                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Yes, sir.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Jamaal, one 

17           second.  Whoever's on clock, please end the 

18           superintendent's 10 minutes.  Oh, there you 

19           do.  Perfect.  Thank you, Jamaal.

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  No problem.  

21                  So you mentioned the -- obviously the 

22           issue of gun violence is something that has 

23           permeated a lot of the conversation today in 

24           the Public Protection hearing, regardless of 


                                                                   442

 1           who's been testifying.  And you mentioned 

 2           there was an effort by the Governor in the 

 3           Executive Budget, speaking about, you know, 

 4           local law enforcement and the State Police.  

 5           What does that look like in practice?

 6                  Like, for example, how does the State 

 7           Police -- like how does a certain troop, 

 8           Troop A or Troop B or whatever the troop 

 9           number is, how would that troop partner with 

10           local law enforcement in order to be able to 

11           assist with gun violence prevention?

12                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  It looks 

13           different depending on the community and on 

14           the problem.  When they reach out to us, we 

15           assign the right number of supervisors and 

16           investigative support.  They gather 

17           intelligence, they come up with a plan.  And 

18           it could be, for example, problems on 

19           weekends in particular areas, so we may 

20           deploy both uniformed Troopers or 

21           investigators, and we may do follow-up, 

22           depending on arrests or intelligence 

23           developed around gang violence. 

24                  A lot of this -- unfortunately, a lot 


                                                                   443

 1           of this gun violence is associated with gang 

 2           activity, which may mean things like local 

 3           disputes and if you have enough intelligence 

 4           you might be able to get ahead of that and 

 5           disrupt that violent event.

 6                  So it will look different at different 

 7           places.

 8                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  Because again, 

 9           there's been conversation about the Troopers 

10           and their presence in the City of New York 

11           in -- I also represent Westchester County as 

12           well, and so I'm just always curious as to 

13           how the interagency I guess synergy, for lack 

14           of a better term, would work.

15                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Great question.  

16           And quite frankly, the way it works when it's 

17           the City of New York or other communities, I 

18           may speak initially with the police 

19           commissioner of the City of New York, we'll 

20           talk about things to develop new plans or 

21           things that -- ways that we're not already 

22           cooperating.

23                  But we're already cooperating with 

24           NYPD on guns.  Their intel units and their 


                                                                   444

 1           people are right up -- the Troopers who 

 2           develop some of these cases may not in fact 

 3           be in New York.  They may be somewhere else 

 4           and -- but the destination of these illegal 

 5           guns, let's say is Westchester or is New York 

 6           City, and in that case we'll reach out and 

 7           develop a strategy with them on any 

 8           particular case.

 9                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you.

10                  So my understanding is that there's 

11           roughly $6.1 million allocated towards 

12           recruitment efforts.  You mentioned in terms 

13           of recruitment that there were efforts afoot 

14           to attempt to reach out to communities of 

15           color and to engage communities of color in 

16           relation to the tests.  I know it's a 

17           conversation that you and I have had before 

18           about the diversity within the ranks of that.

19                  How does that money get spent in 

20           actuality?  And also I'd like to ask a 

21           follow-up question in terms of diversity 

22           within the leadership structure of the State 

23           Police.

24                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Right.  Let me 


                                                                   445

 1           answer the first one.  

 2                  I don't think I have that much money 

 3           dedicated to recruiting.  I would love if I 

 4           could go into the couch and pull out $6 

 5           million for that.  We have used asset 

 6           forfeiture money and are approaching a 

 7           million dollars in terms of it, but I don't 

 8           think we're approaching 6 million.

 9                  I would say, more importantly, is what 

10           we've done is -- I've told you that we've 

11           changed that test.  And that was a great 

12           idea, internally driven.  When I looked at 

13           our diversity numbers, I said:  "You've got a 

14           great idea here, we need to now exploit it."  

15           And so I created a dedicated recruiting unit 

16           that is a full-time recruitment and 

17           development unit that has developed 

18           recruiting teams and these community outreach 

19           programs, and also revamped our advertising, 

20           which -- where we spend significant money 

21           there, and internet-based advertising, and 

22           our own kind of social media presence.

23                  The other thing we've done is we've 

24           reached out to community partners across the 


                                                                   446

 1           state -- Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, the 

 2           Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie, we've got 

 3           meetings in New York City -- where we'll meet 

 4           a range of community leaders -- youth group 

 5           leaders, church folks, elected officials -- 

 6           and we'll have sort of a meeting with 

 7           influencers, community influencers, pitch 

 8           that idea, and then use those contacts and 

 9           connections to then get in and do active 

10           recruiting.

11                  So -- and I have something to tell you 

12           which is -- I don't want to lose the good 

13           news for all the details -- we have a testing 

14           period right now, people have signed up to 

15           take the test, people have actually taken the 

16           test.  And our numbers, in terms of the 

17           minority sign-ups, are double, triple what 

18           they were the last cycle.  So we're over 

19           20 percent African-American signed up, four 

20           times Asian-Americans, increase in Hispanics.  

21                  It's early days yet, but this effort, 

22           this targeted effort -- and I sometimes like 

23           to say it's a targeted effort to someone who 

24           doesn't necessarily see themselves as a 


                                                                   447

 1           Trooper.  But you do the social media, and 

 2           then you do the one-on-one kind of recruiting 

 3           saying to this person, hey, we see qualities 

 4           in you that would make you an excellent 

 5           State Trooper, and here's why.

 6                  So the effort has paid off so far.

 7                  SENATOR BAILEY:  That certainly does 

 8           bode well for the efforts of improving 

 9           overall diversity within the ranks of the 

10           department.

11                  The second question I guess dovetails 

12           off of that in relation to leadership 

13           positions within the State Police.  You know, 

14           and we would hope that the leadership would 

15           also be reflective of the great diversity of 

16           the state.  How is that effort going?  How is 

17           that taking place in practice?  How are we 

18           diversifying the ranks of leadership within 

19           the organization of the State Police?

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  So the second 

21           mission of that group I created that's headed 

22           up by a commissioned officer -- a captain, 

23           which is a significant rank inside the State 

24           Police -- the second part of that mission 


                                                                   448

 1           is -- the first is get people in the door 

 2           right now.  The second part of it is I want 

 3           you to look at the whole process, 

 4           holistically.  Are there barriers, are there 

 5           barriers to promotion coming on the job or 

 6           promotions through the ranks?

 7                  The good news is that there doesn't 

 8           appear -- at first blush, there does not 

 9           appear to be barriers, that the number of 

10           commissioned officers, which is our highest 

11           group of supervisors, reflects the number of 

12           the overall ranks.  So just sticking with 

13           African-Americans, I have 4 percent 

14           African-American Troopers, I have 4 percent 

15           African-American commissioned officers.

16                  But we still have to look at those, 

17           are there -- and beyond barriers, is there 

18           support we could provide?  You know, hey, 

19           there's -- to develop leaders, to retain 

20           leaders longer into their career to reach the 

21           higher level commissioned officer and 

22           supervisor ranks.

23                  I still go back to my initial problem, 

24           which is I do not have a diverse enough 


                                                                   449

 1           workforce.  We need to put maximum effort 

 2           into that.  I do believe, although it's 

 3           longer term, that once we get those numbers 

 4           up, the promotion and supervisory thing will 

 5           work out, we'll benefit from that.  But 

 6           again, the direction is look at every piece 

 7           of it, defend every piece of what we're 

 8           doing, and expand our efforts for minority 

 9           and women in terms of the higher-ranking 

10           officers.

11                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Superintendent, so I 

12           guess my last couple of minutes will be 

13           utilized in terms of speaking about the body 

14           cameras, the recent body cameras, I guess.  

15           In sum and substance, how many body cameras 

16           have you purchased and how many will be 

17           purchased this year, and how is the program 

18           going thus far in its implementation?

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We have rolled 

20           out the body cameras to the vast majority of 

21           the Troopers.  The number of body cameras 

22           will be roughly 3,000.  The last troop that's 

23           being rolled out is A Troop.  That's the 

24           Buffalo area.  I expect that that rollout 


                                                                   450

 1           will be completed by the end of next month, 

 2           and that will be -- and Troopers will have 

 3           that fully done.

 4                  The experience has been very good.  

 5           The Troopers have accepted it and in fact 

 6           embraced it.  It's been very useful so far, 

 7           and I think it's a great program.

 8                  You know, I've got a concern, which is 

 9           we've got to make sure that we're able to 

10           reproduce and get the video out the door, so 

11           that's an effort.  It takes a fair amount of 

12           time to redact the video and make -- get it 

13           ready to be disclosed in a public -- under 

14           our FOIL system.  But I really wish people 

15           could watch the videos I've watched, just 

16           randomly.  You'd see Troopers helping people 

17           and being professional and great all the 

18           time.

19                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Without a doubt.  

20                  And I would imagine -- so I guess the 

21           final -- I guess the final question is let's 

22           say that there is a violation.  What happens 

23           if an officer is found not have turned on the 

24           body camera?  What are the rules and 


                                                                   451

 1           regulations of the State Police if it's not 

 2           being recorded during their time of duty?

 3                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, it's a 

 4           requirement.  You are supposed to use it.  

 5           You are supposed to utilize it, engage it 

 6           when appropriate and required.

 7                  If you don't, you're going to be 

 8           subject to discipline.  If you've done it 

 9           accidentally, if there's a minor inattention 

10           to detail, you'll get one set of punishments; 

11           if you're really doing it on a routine basis, 

12           your job is in jeopardy.  You know, there's a 

13           wide range of ways that you could create 

14           this.  So far we have not run into that 

15           problem.

16                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  Thank you, 

17           Superintendent.  Madam Chair, I may have a 

18           second round.  But for now, thank you so 

19           much.

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you, sir.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

22                  We go to chair of the Assembly Codes 

23           Committee, Assemblyman Dinowitz, 10 minutes.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Thank you.


                                                                   452

 1                  Superintendent, good afternoon.  It's 

 2           still afternoon, right, it's not evening yet?  

 3           Oh, it is evening.  Sorry about that.

 4                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We're getting 

 5           closer.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  We are.

 7                  Well, listen, we've made progress.  

 8           You are the sixth of 26 witnesses, and we 

 9           have managed to do that in just a little -- 

10           about six and a half hours.  So pretty good.

11                  So several years ago when we passed 

12           the SAFE Act, New York extended -- wrongly, 

13           in my opinion -- I should say ended wrongly 

14           its own attempt at creating a database to 

15           collect and submit all ballistics evidence of 

16           weapons sold in New York.  

17                  And as I'm sure you know, the Assembly 

18           Codes Committee, which I chair, held a 

19           hearing that examined in part this database.  

20           Now, your agency, for whatever reason, chose 

21           not to appear at that hearing, which was 

22           unfortunate because I thought it could have 

23           been very helpful to try to get to the bottom 

24           of why it's taken so long to get this done.


                                                                   453

 1                  So my question is, when will the state 

 2           create its ammunition database to track sales 

 3           to residents who may be assembling deadly 

 4           stores of ammunition, as mandated by the SAFE 

 5           Act?  Because too much time has passed 

 6           already.

 7                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  The -- if I 

 8           understand the -- I think you're talking 

 9           about the ammunition check as opposed to the 

10           CoBIS database that was shut down years ago, 

11           which was the storage of expended shell 

12           casings.  So I think we're talking about the 

13           SAFE Act, which is the ammunition check.

14                  There are significant problems and 

15           challenges with creating that system.  The 

16           most significant and the biggest problem we 

17           face is that federal law prohibits the use of 

18           the NICS system to check the eligibility or 

19           suitability of someone purchasing ammunition.  

20           So the only database that we could check is 

21           New York's criminal records system.

22                  The next problem is the problem of 

23           infrastructure.  We do not have an existing 

24           infrastructure or a technology infrastructure 


                                                                   454

 1           to create the check of the suitability for 

 2           sale.  However, I've spoken to Director 

 3           Riddick, and he and I both have agreed that 

 4           he and I need to start meeting on this again 

 5           and re-look at it from our team's point of 

 6           view, to see if there are things that we can 

 7           advance the ball here on.  Because I agree 

 8           with you, it's gone too long and we need to 

 9           move this further down the road.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  I mean, 

11           nine years.  I think the state built the 

12           Tappan Zee Bridge, or the Cuomo Bridge, in 

13           just a few years, so I'm pretty sure we have 

14           the capability of getting this done if we 

15           really wanted to.

16                  So about three years ago the 

17           Legislature enacted a law that allows law 

18           enforcement to remove firearms from people 

19           charged with domestic violence offenses and 

20           the courts to revoke or suspend their 

21           firearms licenses.  And this info is then 

22           reported to the State Police and DCJS, 

23           presumably for inclusion in the statewide 

24           license and record database established in 


                                                                   455

 1           the SAFE Act.

 2                  However, as far as I know -- and tell 

 3           me if I'm wrong -- this -- it's my 

 4           understanding this license and record 

 5           database, like the ammunition sales database, 

 6           is not operational, and it's been -- it's 

 7           been quite some time.

 8                  So I just want to first find out, is 

 9           that correct, what I just said?

10                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I don't think 

11           so.  I mean, the -- there -- a couple of 

12           years ago there was something called the ERPO 

13           law that was passed, and that's one thing.  

14           The -- if you have your license revoked by a 

15           county -- or suspended -- based on domestic 

16           violence, that county licensing officer would 

17           communicate to the State Police that that's 

18           occurred, and we'd make a record of it.

19                  The license database years ago was 

20           very crowded, had multiple platforms -- in 

21           other words, when -- a license that was just 

22           issued in the '30s was on paper and, you 

23           know, it was done in very different ways 

24           around the state.  That's been cleaned up 


                                                                   456

 1           through the recertification process.  I think 

 2           we're now into the second round of pistol 

 3           permit recertification.  

 4                  So a lot of that has been cleaned up, 

 5           and we have a pistol permit database and we 

 6           also have a -- it obviously mirrors the 

 7           county records, licensing.  The State Police 

 8           does not issue pistol permits.  And we have a 

 9           registry of assault weapons, which we're in 

10           the second round of recertification of that 

11           as well.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  

13           Regarding the first one that I talked about, 

14           the ammunition, what is your sense in terms 

15           of being able to adhere to the -- what we 

16           decided to do so many years ago?  Like how 

17           soon?

18                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I don't have an 

19           estimate on it right now.  I'm telling you 

20           that my -- my read and understanding of this 

21           is the challenges are very significant.  The 

22           biggest challenge is that we could only -- 

23           due to the federal law, only check records 

24           generated in New York.  So if you come in 


                                                                   457

 1           from Iowa, there's no check.  So we have that 

 2           initial problem that's built in.

 3                  The next problem is similar to -- you 

 4           know, is a technological one, which is in the 

 5           middle of Hamilton County when there's not a 

 6           lot of connectivity, how do you check that 

 7           system against the database -- and these 

 8           databases are in place and owned by DCJS and 

 9           OMH -- against that?

10                  What I'm telling you is that we're 

11           going to -- the director of ITS and myself 

12           are going to sit down and grab people and 

13           really examine what it is we're doing, what 

14           can we do, and what recommendations we can 

15           make based on this.  I get the frustration.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  Well, 

17           obviously I would encourage that to happen 

18           expeditiously.  Thank you very much.

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you, sir.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  To the Senate.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

22                  Senator Pete Harckham.

23                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you, Madam 

24           Chair.


                                                                   458

 1                  Superintendent, thank you for your 

 2           testimony thus far.  Good evening.  And 

 3           please accept my thanks to all the women and 

 4           men of the State Police for everything you do 

 5           to keep us safe.

 6                  In my brief time I want to discuss the 

 7           opioid crisis and overdose.  As we know, very 

 8           often it's law enforcement who are the first 

 9           to arrive on the scene of an overdose.  And 

10           we have a spectrum of responses to that.  We 

11           have some local police that treat an overdose 

12           scene like a crime scene, and other 

13           departments treat it like a behavioral health 

14           crisis and actually will bring peers and 

15           social workers to connect those people, if 

16           they survive the overdose, with services and 

17           treatment.

18                  Where does the New York State Police 

19           fall in that spectrum?

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, I would 

21           say we do both.  For one thing, we understand 

22           that an individual who's overdosed has a 

23           certain set of problems.  And I don't think 

24           there's anybody in the State Police -- 


                                                                   459

 1           members of the State Police family are not 

 2           excluded from being aware of people who have 

 3           had real tragedies with the opioid crisis.

 4                  But we also are a police agency and we 

 5           want to know where they got -- who provided 

 6           this to them, who's profiting off of this.  

 7           And so we have a -- I won't get into the 

 8           details, but a robust effort put on by the 

 9           Bureau of Criminal Investigation to 

10           backward-track how that person got the 

11           opioid, how was it dealt, and who was the 

12           person profiting from this outrage.

13                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  What are you doing 

14           at the scene to hook that individual up with 

15           services, whether it be a peer, a warm 

16           handoff to treatment?  What is the State 

17           Police's role, what do you view your role as 

18           in that interaction?

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We have crime 

20           victim specialists and other people that we 

21           make that referral to, but we would also -- 

22           it would vary from county to county and place 

23           to place depending on the services available.  

24                  It's sometimes hard in that very 


                                                                   460

 1           particular situation, as much as I would like 

 2           to control and have the response be the same 

 3           in every community, depending on available 

 4           services we would do it differently in 

 5           different places.

 6                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Are all of your 

 7           Troopers trained in the use of naloxone, and 

 8           are they required to carry it with them at 

 9           all times?

10                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  The answer is 

11           they are all trained and they all have it in 

12           the vehicles, troop cars.

13                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  All right, 

14           terrific, thank you.  I would like to offline 

15           discuss with you, when we have some time, 

16           some of the innovative programs that are 

17           being done in some of the counties across the 

18           state.

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Outstanding.  

20           Thank you, sir.

21                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

23           much, Pete.

24                  Next, Assembly?  


                                                                   461

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 2           Assemblyman Lawler.

 3                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you, 

 4           Madam Chair.  

 5                  Thank you, Superintendent, for joining 

 6           us.  I know it's been a long day of waiting 

 7           around.

 8                  So on the issue of bail reform, the 

 9           mayor of the City of New York put out 

10           yesterday, as part of his plan to combat gun 

11           violence, the need for judicial discretion 

12           and the ability of judges to look at the 

13           dangerousness of the individual, look at the 

14           evidence, look at their prior history.

15                  Do you support what the mayor has said 

16           on this as a means of reforming the bail law 

17           that was passed?

18                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  You know, we 

19           make it a point of sticking to our lane, and 

20           decisions about bail reform or changes or 

21           tweaks to the bail, you know, I would leave 

22           to all of you and the courts.

23                  You know, we follow and implement the 

24           rules as they are.  You know, I understand 


                                                                   462

 1           the general concept that it was difficult to 

 2           see someone stay in jail when there was -- 

 3           you know, for failure to be able to post a 

 4           small amount of bail for a minor offense, and 

 5           I understand the other end of the spectrum, 

 6           which is what status do we give to a person 

 7           when police officers have made an arrest in 

 8           what's an armed felony offense and the 

 9           person's armed with a gun?  I understand 

10           that.

11                  But, you know, we pretty much stick to 

12           what my job is, and that whatever you 

13           implement, we live with.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Okay.  And 

15           further along those lines, the mayor also 

16           indicated that he would be bringing back the 

17           anti-crime unit, which has focused primarily, 

18           in the past, getting illegal guns off the 

19           streets.  Obviously the Governor has made it 

20           a priority of hers to address the scourge of 

21           illegal guns coming into the state.  She has 

22           also talked about the State Police going down 

23           to New York City and working cooperatively 

24           with the NYPD on this effort.


                                                                   463

 1                  Do you support or do you think it 

 2           necessary for the anti-crime unit to be 

 3           brought back?  And would you support using 

 4           the State Police to help in that effort?

 5                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I wouldn't 

 6           presume to tell the NYPD what units to stand 

 7           up or not stand up.  We don't have a similar 

 8           unit.  We have a different approach, and 

 9           that's the Community Stabilization Unit.  

10                  I have been in conversations with the 

11           police commissioner, the new police 

12           commissioner, and we have discussed a range 

13           of options.  We want to do something on gun 

14           violence.  We're already doing it together.

15                  We -- as I told Senator Bailey, 

16           we'll -- we, the State Police, can develop 

17           intelligence that guns are coming -- heading 

18           to a particular area in New York City, open 

19           that case up, gather information, do 

20           surveillance and other things.  And we work 

21           directly with the New York City Police 

22           Department, and those cases have led to 

23           arrests within the last few days.  We're 

24           doing that constantly.


                                                                   464

 1                  The Troopers are already there.  They 

 2           may not be wearing the Stetson and the full 

 3           uniform, these may be investigators who are 

 4           developing intelligence and listening to 

 5           phone calls and doing surveillance and that 

 6           sort of thing.  So we're doing it, we're 

 7           expanding it.  The Governor has made it a 

 8           priority and, in essence, told me, you know, 

 9           get going.  And the new police commissioner 

10           and I have had very productive conversations 

11           and are really looking forward to continuing 

12           to work together and even work together more 

13           collaboratively and in sort of a more free 

14           police agency-to-police agency way.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  I appreciate 

16           that.

17                  And the last thing, you know, I think 

18           there certainly can be bipartisan support for 

19           increased training for law enforcement, and 

20           especially with some of the reforms that have 

21           been put in place in recent years, ensuring 

22           that our police officers have the resources 

23           they need to implement many of these laws.

24                  And so I've introduced a bill that 


                                                                   465

 1           would create a $250 million fund for training 

 2           for law enforcement as well as other first 

 3           responders.  And so I would just encourage 

 4           you to talk with the Governor, certainly, and 

 5           certainly I will talk with my colleagues.  

 6           But I think creating a designated fund to 

 7           support training for law enforcement -- and 

 8           truly ensuring they have the resources they 

 9           need -- is critical.  And so I would 

10           certainly encourage you to support that 

11           effort.

12                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We certainly 

13           would.  

14                  But, Assemblyman, we spend a great 

15           deal of time and effort training New York 

16           State Troopers.  It takes a very long time to 

17           become a State Trooper, more than six 

18           months -- it's almost a year to become a 

19           fully functioning State Trooper, and they get 

20           thousands of hours of training and then 

21           continued training.  So -- and that's due to 

22           your support.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  My cousin is one, 

24           and they do a great job.  So thank you very 


                                                                   466

 1           much for your service.

 2                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you, sir.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 4                  Senate?

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6                  Next is Senator Andrew Gounardes.

 7                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Thank you, 

 8           Senator Krueger.

 9                  Good -- I guess it's almost evening 

10           now, Superintendent.  

11                  I want to talk a little bit about the 

12           executive order that former Governor Cuomo 

13           issued in 2019 that basically gave your 

14           department operational control of the 

15           New York State Park Police.  And my first 

16           question to you is in the last two years, I 

17           would like to get your assessment as to how 

18           you think that transfer of operational 

19           control has been thus far.

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yeah, the State 

21           Police has had operational control of the 

22           Park Police for about two years.  

23                  The relationship between the State 

24           Police and the Park Police, in my judgment, 


                                                                   467

 1           has been excellent for years.  The 

 2           cooperation between the Troopers and the Park 

 3           Policemen and Park Policewomen has been 

 4           fantastic.  They were tremendous partners 

 5           during COVID.  They have, like us, not had 

 6           new recruits for some time, so they've got 

 7           falling numbers.  And my Troopers have had to 

 8           fill the gaps and provide some services 

 9           there.

10                  You know, I've met with the Park 

11           Police union upwards of half a dozen times, 

12           particularly early on.  So we're making it 

13           work.  

14                  We're going to provide the support to 

15           the Office of Parks and Historic Preservation 

16           going forward in terms of looking at areas 

17           that the Park Police -- where they need to 

18           be, what's the right size of them, where they 

19           should be physically present all the time, 

20           what parks can operate as response parks.  

21           The parks downstate --

22                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  I'm sorry, 

23           superintendent, I want to piggyback -- I 

24           appreciate that answer.  I only have a little 


                                                                   468

 1           bit more than a minute left.

 2                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Sorry.

 3                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  I do appreciate 

 4           your answer.

 5                  I know over the last two years the 

 6           Park Police has lost about a hundred members 

 7           and I think they're under 200 officers right 

 8           now for the entire State of New York, which 

 9           is shocking in many ways.

10                  They've had no -- like you said, no 

11           new academies, but they've also not been 

12           eligible for any transfers or promotions 

13           every since this effective merger or 

14           operational control was made.  And so while 

15           it's great, I'm glad to see that the 

16           Governor's proposing a new class specifically 

17           for the Park Police to graduate in a few 

18           years, I really wonder whether or not it 

19           makes sense to continue to have the 

20           Park Police operate under the State Police 

21           control and whether or not you would agree or 

22           you would support rescinding that executive 

23           order from December of 2019 to allow the 

24           Park Police to operate the way that they used 


                                                                   469

 1           to, with fuller resources, under the Office 

 2           of Parks and Historic Preservation.

 3                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  So I'm also 

 4           at -- I've lost nearly 600 Troopers during 

 5           that same period due to retirements and what 

 6           have you.  We're at staffing lows.

 7                  The good news for the State Police and 

 8           the Governor is if the Governor asks us to do 

 9           something, we'll do it.  So we'll either 

10           administer and work with our brothers and 

11           sisters in the Park Police and serve and 

12           protect the patrons of the parks just like we 

13           do the citizens of the state, or not.  

14                  But in any case, whether we're 

15           operating -- using operational control or 

16           we're not, I have to say that the working 

17           people, Troopers and Park Police officers, 

18           work fantastically well together and the 

19           relationship is great.

20                  SENATOR GOUNARDES:  I appreciate that.  

21           Thank you.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                  Chair Weinstein.

24                  You're on mute.


                                                                   470

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I want to just 

 2           actually go to myself to -- since my question 

 3           was a follow-up to Senator Gounardes' 

 4           question about the Park Police.

 5                  Are the Troopers going to be 

 6           responsible for conducting the next Park 

 7           Police Academy?

 8                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  The Park Police 

 9           has run their own academy.  And to the extent 

10           they needed discrete help from us, we would 

11           certainly provide it.  We've done that in the 

12           past and would continue to do it.

13                  They have capabilities in training 

14           that we've taken advantage of from time to 

15           time.  So the Park Police have the capability 

16           of running their own academy.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And as you said 

18           to Senator Gounardes, so for the time being 

19           you're continuing with the operational 

20           control of the Park Police?  There's not an 

21           end date set for that?

22                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I've not been 

23           told of one.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, great.


                                                                   471

 1                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  So we're trying 

 2           to -- yeah, trying to right-size it, trying 

 3           to make sure that they're in the right places 

 4           and where they're not able to do things, 

 5           we're going to follow up and support.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Great, thank 

 7           you, Superintendent.

 8                  I'm going to send it back to the 

 9           Senate.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you, 

11           Assemblywoman.

12                  Our next Senator is Senator Savino.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I think Senator 

14           Savino has left the hearing.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh.  Well, thank 

16           you.  I guess -- you're right, I'm looking 

17           for her box and I don't see her.

18                  All right, so then I'm going to jump 

19           in with my questions, Superintendent.  

20                  Let's start with under the Cuomo 

21           administration he had a policy of taking I 

22           believe up to 250 State Troopers and moving 

23           them into New York City at a time.  And I'm 

24           in New York City, so I'm certainly not 


                                                                   472

 1           unhappy to see State Troopers, but I never 

 2           saw any real demand for them from NYPD or 

 3           other city government agencies, while I've 

 4           heard from many of my colleagues from upstate 

 5           that they desperately are looking to find 

 6           more State Troopers.

 7                  So I'm curious whether there might be 

 8           a change of policy with the new Governor.

 9                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  The Governor 

10           has instructed me to make sure that what 

11           we're doing in New York City is not 

12           duplicative of the NYPD.  And we're not doing 

13           that.

14                  And that's part of the discussions 

15           I've had with the police commissioner, that 

16           we're going to do things that support them, 

17           add value to public safety, and are different 

18           than what they would normally do.  And we've 

19           had plenty of great conversations with the 

20           NYPD, and you will be seeing some things that 

21           I think really add to the public safety 

22           picture of the city.

23                  But there's no doubt, we are not a 

24           replacement to the NYPD, nor would we dream 


                                                                   473

 1           to be.  We're the State Police, and we have 

 2           capabilities and talents that are different 

 3           and can mesh well with the NYPD.  

 4                  And the relationship and existence of 

 5           the State Police in New York City has been 

 6           there for a long time.  I know there was much 

 7           made of it recently, and there were more 

 8           uniformed Troopers then, but there have been 

 9           State Police in the city for over 50 years.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And I don't have 

11           a conflict with there being a good 

12           relationship between the State Police and 

13           NYPD, obviously.  But 250 is a significant 

14           head count.  And given that I hear from 

15           colleagues in other parts of the state how 

16           worried they are that they don't have an 

17           adequate supply of State Troopers, I just 

18           wondered whether it was a discussion worthy 

19           of changing the formula or the number of 

20           people on New York City duty --

21                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  There's no 

22           doubt -- there's no doubt that we're looking 

23           to make sure that we have the right size for 

24           the mission that we have in there.  There's 


                                                                   474

 1           no doubt.  And that we can support the 

 2           mission in New York City -- I said this 

 3           before.  That gun task force or gun operation 

 4           that we're doing, and gun interdiction, the 

 5           Troopers may in fact -- may not be anywhere 

 6           near New York City.  But the guns they're 

 7           investigating, the destination is New York 

 8           City.

 9                  So that's a lot of -- a fair piece of 

10           what we're doing as well.  But we --

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  That's a 

12           perfect -- yes, go ahead, sorry.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yes, there are 

14           things we've done in the city in a uniformed 

15           basis, but I can't tell you -- I can't stress 

16           enough the Governor has said not to duplicate 

17           efforts.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.

19                  So on a very similar topic, what role 

20           is your department taking in investigating 

21           and following up on a growing trend in human 

22           trafficking that appears to be going up and 

23           down the Thruway from different parts of the 

24           state, movement of people brought into the 


                                                                   475

 1           country at Kennedy and then human trafficked 

 2           through Long Island, through upstate 

 3           New York.  I am told by my colleague in 

 4           Syracuse, Pam Hunter, that Syracuse is a 

 5           center of sort of human trafficking 

 6           intersections going north, south, east, west.

 7                  There were definitely reports of 

 8           growth in this serious problem during the 

 9           pandemic.  Is there a role that the 

10           State Troopers have been playing to try to 

11           capture the people involved in human 

12           trafficking?

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yes.  Those 

14           cases develop either from, you know, local 

15           intelligence, one-off arrests where the 

16           Troopers or the local police interview the 

17           people involved.  

18                  And they can lead to very significant 

19           cases.  That's one of the resources that the 

20           NYSIC is involved with, and some of the 

21           commitments that we've talked about in terms 

22           of additional tools -- cryptocurrency 

23           detection and the cellphone capabilities of 

24           analyzing that.  


                                                                   476

 1                  Cryptocurrency and cellphones go with 

 2           every major crime, organized crime function 

 3           that currently exists, from drugs, gun 

 4           trafficking and human trafficking.  So that 

 5           capability is going to explode and ramp up.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

 7           look forward to learning more about that.  

 8                  At the time the state passed its 

 9           "Enough Is Enough" legislation to try to 

10           address the growth in campus sexual assaults, 

11           there was supposedly the creation of a campus 

12           sexual assault victims unit within 

13           State Police, with a funding allocation of 

14           $4 million for that unit. 

15                  Does that unit exist?  And are we 

16           spending $4 million, and how is that going?

17                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yes, that unit 

18           exists and was at one time fully staffed.  

19           But like every aspect of my agency, it's been 

20           impacted by my dramatic drop in Troopers.  

21           I'm at 10-year staffing lows, or close to it.

22                  I do think these next three classes -- 

23           the one that's in there in the academy right 

24           now, and the two that are proposed in the 


                                                                   477

 1           budget -- will start to allow us to get back 

 2           up to being fully staffed.  

 3                  But that is one place the BCI -- 

 4           that's a BCI function, and that's a place 

 5           that I've had to slow the fill.  Because if 

 6           you take -- you get BCI members by promoting 

 7           uniformed Troopers.  And then if you've taken 

 8           the uniformed Troopers off the road, there's 

 9           nobody to respond to radio, you know, calls 

10           and 911 calls.

11                  So we're in that delicate spot of I've 

12           got a lot of great Troopers who are ready to 

13           be promoted to investigator and take on some 

14           of those roles and work in what we call a 

15           backroom, which is like a precinct detective 

16           unit.  They're ready to go, but I need people 

17           out the door.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

19           much.

20                  I'm going to not need my -- the rest 

21           of my time, Assemblywoman Weinstein.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, so we'll 

23           go to Assemblyman Reilly, three minutes.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, 


                                                                   478

 1           Madam Chair.

 2                  Hi, Superintendent.  Thank you for 

 3           joining us.

 4                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  I wanted to talk 

 6           to you on what we spoke about last year 

 7           during the budget season -- and I was happy 

 8           to hear that you mentioned it earlier, of 

 9           course, the ARIDE and the DREs.  And I'm glad 

10           that you're going forward, everybody -- all 

11           the Troopers are being trained for ARIDE, 

12           which is an enormous task, and I thank you 

13           for that.

14                  Being that in last year's budget we 

15           allocated an additional $10 million for DRE 

16           training, have we seen any turnkey with that 

17           in the State Police?

18                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We are up over 

19           100 DREs, which is significant.  

20                  You know, the real drag -- and I think 

21           we talked about this last time -- is there's 

22           only so much training capacity in the nation 

23           for DRE training, due to the complexity of it 

24           and the nature of it, and how advanced that 


                                                                   479

 1           Trooper or police officer has to be in order 

 2           to get into the training.  

 3                  But we're increasing it, and we're 

 4           over 100.  And I think we're shooting for a 

 5           number that's over 110.  And I would like to 

 6           get there.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Awesome.  Thank 

 8           you.  And I thank my colleagues for actually 

 9           pushing for that in the budget and making it 

10           happen.  So thank you.

11                  One thing I want to touch on with the 

12           gun violence, with the shootings, especially 

13           in New York City.  Raise the Age seems to be 

14           a point of contention with the 16- and 

15           17-year-olds that are armed with a loaded 

16           firearm.  Currently that case would go to 

17           Family Court because it wouldn't fit under 

18           the exception where it could stay in Youth 

19           Part Criminal.  

20                  So right now we're trying to push for 

21           getting that part of the Raise the Age 

22           changed to allow loaded firearms to proceed 

23           in youth part.  Do you know how many firearms 

24           the New York State Police have recovered from 


                                                                   480

 1           those under 18 years old?

 2                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I do not.  I do 

 3           not have that number.  We can get it.

 4                  I would say that it is probably 

 5           significantly lower than NYPD's number.  They 

 6           have a different operating environment than 

 7           we do.

 8                  But I can have someone provide that 

 9           number to you.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Yeah, if we can 

11           get the state one.  I have --

12                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, remember, 

13           there would be two different numbers.  One 

14           would be a statewide number outside of the 

15           City of New York, and one would be our 

16           internal number, how many have we done.  So 

17           there would be two different numbers.  

18                  DCJS would probably have the -- well, 

19           we could -- we'll find both numbers for you.  

20           But I want to emphasize that, you know, the 

21           State Police would have one number and that 

22           that would be subsumed into the greater 

23           number, which is how many outside the City of 

24           New York.


                                                                   481

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Yeah, for all 

 2           jurisdictions besides the State Police.  I 

 3           get it, yeah.

 4                  So like in New York City we had -- in 

 5           2020 there were 411 arrests for under 18, and 

 6           in 2021, 536.  So I want to see what that 

 7           comparison is, and I think that's a tool that 

 8           really needs to be used.

 9                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  No doubt that 

10           gun arrests and the numbers have been 

11           skyrocketing.

12                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, 

13           Mr. Superintendent, I appreciate it.

14                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you, sir.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

16                  I think now we're back to Senator 

17           Diane Savino, who's returned.

18                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  Sorry, I 

19           was on a phone call, I didn't hear you guys 

20           calling me.

21                  Good to see you, Superintendent.

22                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Good to see 

23           you.

24                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I'm not going to 


                                                                   482

 1           touch on some of the issues that have already 

 2           been raised.  I'm happy to hear you guys are 

 3           focusing on computer crimes and cyber crimes.  

 4           They are certainly becoming a much more 

 5           complicated problem.

 6                  I do want to ask you about the issue 

 7           of cannabis.  As you know, we legalized 

 8           cannabis for adult use, we expanded medical, 

 9           we have a thriving hemp program that's 

10           operational.  But there seems to be, out 

11           there in the general public, this idea that 

12           because we decriminalized marijuana for 

13           personal use, that you could have up to 

14           3 ounces for personal use, that you could 

15           pretty much do whatever you want.  

16                  And no one seems to be enforcing this 

17           statute that you're not allowed to sell 

18           marijuana in the state yet.  Anybody that 

19           doesn't have a license to sell is operating 

20           outside of the law.  And yet and still, we 

21           have people flouting the law all over the 

22           place.  They're setting up cannabis shops, 

23           they're operating stores, they have mobile 

24           vans, they're driving around Manhattan, and 


                                                                   483

 1           nobody seems to be enforcing the law.

 2                  So -- and it upsets me only because if 

 3           we're going to set up a legal regulated 

 4           system where we're going to have licenses 

 5           issued and we're going to expect people that 

 6           we regulate to play by the rules, how is that 

 7           going to work if people are openly, you know, 

 8           violating the law and nobody's doing anything 

 9           to stop it?  Not the State Police, not the 

10           NYPD, no local government.  Nobody's doing 

11           anything to stop this, and I'm just baffled 

12           as to why.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, we 

14           continue to enforce marijuana penal laws as 

15           they exist, and continue to make arrests 

16           related to marijuana trafficking.

17                  To the extent that something was 

18           regulatory in nature, unlike the NYPD, I 

19           don't have the authority to enforce 

20           non-criminal regulatory laws.  I must --

21                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I understand that.

22                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  -- only 

23           criminal laws.  And we continue to do it, 

24           obviously, though, we're not arresting for, 


                                                                   484

 1           you know, small amounts of marijuana because 

 2           it's no longer a crime.

 3                  SENATOR SAVINO:  So not to interrupt 

 4           you -- because I only have a few seconds 

 5           left -- so the other day the Albany Times 

 6           Union wrote a restaurant review of a local 

 7           restaurant that is getting into the cannabis 

 8           business now.  

 9                  And instead of charging people for the 

10           cannabis products, they're giving them away: 

11           Come into our restaurant, pay a fee and we'll 

12           serve you food and then we'll give you 

13           cannabis products.  And they don't seem to 

14           have any concern about having this widely 

15           advertised.  

16                  Now, would you say that that's 

17           something your office or the State Police 

18           should notify this restaurant, that they are 

19           in violation of existing law because you 

20           can't give or sell marijuana yet legally in 

21           the State of New York without a license?  Or 

22           should the Albany police do it?  Or what role 

23           do you think you should play in enforcing 

24           this law so that we don't have a system where 


                                                                   485

 1           people are just doing what they want?  

 2                  Because otherwise it doesn't make any 

 3           sense for us to create a regulatory structure 

 4           if we're just going to let people do whatever 

 5           the hell they want.

 6                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I have to fall 

 7           back on the fact that I can't enforce civil 

 8           regulations.  

 9                  So to the extent they violate the 

10           Penal Law, and to the extent that was a 

11           violation, a crime, to set up your own shop 

12           and that was a violation -- I mean a 

13           misdemeanor or a crime, you know, we would be 

14           able to enforce it.

15                  But to the extent that it's a 

16           violation of regulations and it's civil in 

17           nature, I don't have that power, based on the 

18           way the Executive Law is written and about 

19           the jurisdiction of the State Police.

20                  Local town, villages, the NYPD can 

21           enforce their city codes and enforce other 

22           kind of regulatory schemes, and I don't have 

23           that ability.

24                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I would just suggest 


                                                                   486

 1           we might want to rethink that.

 2                  I don't have any more time.  I'm happy 

 3           to talk about it offline with you at some 

 4           point.

 5                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Sure.

 6                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And just for the 

 8           record, as the I guess lead sponsor of the 

 9           marijuana legalization bill, I completely 

10           agree with Senator Savino.  

11                  This is not legal.  They were never 

12           intended to be allowed to give away cannabis 

13           as a freebie with very expensive food or in 

14           some places very expensive T-shirts that come 

15           with free cannabis.

16                  And I know that the Office of Cannabis 

17           Management has told me that they are 

18           exploring also how they insert themselves to 

19           stop this from happening.  So hopefully they 

20           will reach out to you, Superintendent, and 

21           somehow we all can coordinate.  Because yes, 

22           we wanted cannabis use to be out of the 

23           criminal justice system as much as possible, 

24           but it's the same issue.  We have liquor 


                                                                   487

 1           laws, and you can't sell liquor illegally.  

 2           And we want to have the same approach with 

 3           cannabis.  So thank you.

 4                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And now back to 

 6           Assemblymember Weinstein.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We next have 

 8           Assemblywoman Rajkumar up, for three minutes.  

 9           Thank you.

10                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Thank you, 

11           Madam Chair Weinstein.  

12                  Good evening, Superintendent.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Good evening.

14                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Our state and 

15           our entire country has seen an uptick in hate 

16           crimes recently, particularly directed 

17           towards the Asian-American community.  The 

18           NYPD reported that New York City actually had 

19           a 100 percent increase in hate crimes in one 

20           year.  This included a 361 percent increase 

21           in anti-Asian hate crimes.  And last summer, 

22           one individual in Queens was arrested for 

23           four separate hate crimes against people of 

24           Asian descent.  This included assaulting a 


                                                                   488

 1           75-year-old woman with a hammer.  

 2                  Last summer in my South Queens 

 3           District there was a string of crimes 

 4           targeted at Muslim Americans.  And just a few 

 5           weeks ago, on January 3rd, there was an 

 6           attack on a Sikh American taxi driver at JFK 

 7           Airport, one of many completely unacceptable 

 8           hate crimes against the Sikh American 

 9           community.

10                  In her State of the State address the 

11           Governor included a proposal to combat hate 

12           crimes through a new hate and bias prevention 

13           unit.  The State Police runs the Hate Crimes 

14           Task Force, so I wanted to ask you what your 

15           division will do to stem this tide of hate 

16           crimes and what resources you may need, and 

17           how can we help?

18                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I think you're 

19           already helping by getting my staffing back 

20           up to acceptable levels.  A lot of these 

21           things require people.

22                  Even without the increase in staffing, 

23           I've doubled our commitment to the NYPD's 

24           hate crime unit, which we're part of, and 


                                                                   489

 1           we've also got our hate crime unit up and 

 2           running.  That provides active support to 

 3           incidents that occur upstate, mainly upstate.  

 4           We'll either take the case over or work 

 5           discrete leads.

 6                  We also have -- a big part of that is 

 7           an education and support training program for 

 8           other -- for local agencies.  While COVID did 

 9           not disrupt most police operations, it did 

10           put a crimp in in-person training, which this 

11           hate crimes training is in-person training.  

12           But we're ramping that back up and hope to be 

13           looking at that -- be expanding that back up.

14                  The increase in anti-Asian hate crime 

15           in the city is extremely concerning.

16                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  What have 

17           been some of the greatest challenges that 

18           you've seen in stemming the tide of hate 

19           crimes against this community?

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  That's --

21                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I'm sorry?

22                  (Off-camera interruption.)

23                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  I'm saying 

24           what are some of the greatest challenges --


                                                                   490

 1                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, some of 

 2           the challenges are what they are, which is, 

 3           you know, policing in this age is difficult, 

 4           getting cooperation from communities that may 

 5           or may not, you know, trust the police.

 6                  We have not seen a huge barrier 

 7           upstate to that.  By and large we've had very 

 8           good relationships with -- the State Police 

 9           have, with Muslim communities and Asian 

10           communities upstate.  So we're continuing to 

11           work hard and do what we can in terms of 

12           training support and apprehension of these 

13           folks.

14                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN RAJKUMAR:  Thank you.  

15           Please let me know what I can do to help 

16           bridge any cultural sensitivity gaps with the 

17           communities.  And thank you for all of your 

18           work.

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

21                  Senator Brad Hoylman.

22                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, 

23           Madam Chair.

24                  Good evening, Superintendent.  I just 


                                                                   491

 1           had a couple of quick questions about the 

 2           budget and gun tracing.

 3                  I see that there's $6.2 million to 

 4           support expansion of the gun tracing teams, 

 5           and there is a Gun Tracing Task Force that 

 6           the Governor is convening.  Are you and your 

 7           organization going to have a role in that?

 8                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  That is -- yes, 

 9           the Governor's directed that we do that.  A 

10           meeting is occurring tomorrow and is with 

11           State Police and state fusion center folks 

12           from around the Northeast, as far away as 

13           Ohio.  

14                  That's an interstate group to look at 

15           trafficking, leveraging some new techniques, 

16           and leveraging -- I have to compliment the 

17           ATF and the person who runs the ATF in 

18           New York State.  They have been, in my mind, 

19           a game-changer in terms of providing 

20           information, support and data for us to 

21           exploit and analyze.  And a lot of that money 

22           that we're -- that's coming to the State 

23           Police is going to come with folks to analyze 

24           information that's been provided by the ATF, 


                                                                   492

 1           raw information, and then lead to, you know, 

 2           the criminal-side cases that we're going to 

 3           be doing.

 4                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.

 5                  I just wanted to bring your attention 

 6           to -- and I'm sure you're familiar with -- 

 7           microstamping technology such as the case in 

 8           California where guns are required to have a 

 9           stamp on the firing pin that leaves like a 

10           serial number on the spent shell casings so 

11           you can connect the shells you recover at a 

12           crime scene to a particular gun.

13                  We carry -- I carry legislation with 

14           Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal in connection 

15           with that.

16                  Do you have any thoughts on gun 

17           tracing technology and how it might be useful 

18           for this task force?

19                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, there are 

20           kind of two different concepts.  There's the 

21           serial number tracing, which is point of 

22           sale, and then there's identification of two 

23           bits of evidence, either the shell casing or 

24           the lead, and tying that back to the gun.


                                                                   493

 1                  That technology is fairly robust.  

 2           Experts can generally identify, due to 

 3           machine marks on the expended casing, that a 

 4           particular casing has come from a gun.

 5                  The thing we're looking to develop is 

 6           more on the lines of the flow -- what we're 

 7           doing now is more this flow of guns through 

 8           interstate trafficking and also tying them to 

 9           prior crimes by what you're talking about, 

10           expended or recovered shell casings and tying 

11           that back to the gun.

12                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you very much.

13                  One final quick question.  What do you 

14           think about the feasibility of Mayor 

15           Adams' idea of doing spot-checks for people 

16           bringing guns into New York City?

17                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  You know, I 

18           don't wish to express too many opinions.  But 

19           searches that the State Police conduct have 

20           to always be in full harmony with the Fourth 

21           Amendment.  And if you're coming into 

22           transportation infrastructure or getting on 

23           an airplane or getting on a train or coming 

24           into a public building, you may be subject to 


                                                                   494

 1           searches or magnetometers.  

 2                  If you're out on the street or driving 

 3           your car, the rules are much more stringent 

 4           in terms of what amounts to probable cause to 

 5           stop and search somebody.

 6                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you for that.

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 8                  I believe the Senate is now done.  

 9           We're handing it over to the Assembly.  

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We have 

11           Assemblyman Burdick, then Assemblyman 

12           Walczyk, and then Assemblyman Palmesano, if 

13           no one else raises.  

14                  So Chris, you're up.

15                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you, Chair 

16           Weinstein.  I appreciate it.  

17                  And Superintendent, thank you very 

18           much for the work that you do and the women 

19           and men who every day do such an outstanding 

20           job in their duties.

21                  I represent eight towns in 

22           Westchester County, each of course with their 

23           own local law enforcement agencies.  And 

24           could you describe the relationship between 


                                                                   495

 1           the State Police and local law enforcement, 

 2           meaning what shared services are there, what 

 3           programs, training, and so forth?  Can you 

 4           delve into that a little bit?

 5                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, we have a 

 6           relationship with all the police agencies in 

 7           Westchester County.  And it varies 

 8           depending -- and in other parts of the state.  

 9           And it varies based on the department.  

10                  Some departments upstate are -- 

11           contain two or three part-time police 

12           officers, so our relationship with them would 

13           be very different.  We would come in and 

14           handle all their investigative work and all 

15           their major crimes.  

16                  In the case of Westchester County 

17           towns, who have a fully functioning, 

18           full-staffed department, it may be that we're 

19           working cases jointly, we're working a 

20           particular problem area together.  

21                  In some areas that are heavily 

22           policed, we -- our relationship would be 

23           different in terms of providing investigative 

24           support.  We may be more on the highway in 


                                                                   496

 1           certain spots of Westchester County, doing 

 2           commercial vehicle enforcement or other 

 3           things.

 4                  But frequently what happens in 

 5           Westchester County is something happens and 

 6           multiple agencies respond.  And we've 

 7           assisted all those departments, and they've 

 8           assisted us in apprehending bad actors.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  And can you tell 

10           me, do you feel -- and obviously I think 

11           we're all concerned about staffing levels and 

12           we're delighted to see that we're on our way 

13           to trying to rectify that in terms of 

14           appropriations.  

15                  But have there been instances in which 

16           it's been difficult for you to have the 

17           personnel in order to respond to requests for 

18           assistance?  And I'm not speaking so much 

19           about an emergency situation, which you'd 

20           find the resources to do it, but in 

21           situations which were less dire.

22                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  There's no 

23           doubt about it.  It's happening every day.

24                  I'm concerned about burnout on 


                                                                   497

 1           Troopers who are in on overtime.  The COVID 

 2           response was a massive undertaking by this 

 3           agency -- staffing locations, testing 

 4           locations, the Javits Center, upstate 

 5           locations, in addition to doing our ordinary 

 6           jobs.  

 7                  I've already indicated the CSAVU unit, 

 8           you know, is suffering from people -- 

 9           there -- our backrooms are -- my main-line 

10           detective units are understaffed right now 

11           but still have the same number of cases.  You 

12           know, it's hurting.

13                  And you have done what you can do, 

14           which is allocate money in the budget -- or 

15           hopefully will allocate money in the budget 

16           for two new classes.  

17                  The one thing I can say about State 

18           Troopers is they can't be made in two months.  

19           It's a long process, and so -- it's a long 

20           process and a process that has to be planned 

21           out, you know, years in advance.  They just 

22           don't -- I just can't hire them right off the 

23           street.  It takes a long time to train them.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you very 


                                                                   498

 1           much.  Appreciate it.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 3                  We now go to Assemblyman Walczyk.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thank you, 

 5           Chairwoman.  

 6                  Superintendent Bruen, thank you for 

 7           joining us today.  You spent time in the 

 8           district attorney's office, lots of time with 

 9           the Troopers, spent some time over at the 

10           Department of Corrections.  Welcome.  I think 

11           that is very relevant experience that is 

12           going to do great things, I hope, for the 

13           New York State Police.

14                  Earlier one of the members brought up 

15           the old CoBIS program, which required us to 

16           fire projectiles out of every single weapon 

17           that got sold in the State of New York.  It 

18           was ongoing for a while -- I think it was the 

19           Pataki administration that originally had put 

20           it in.  That this was going to be the, you 

21           know, gun DNA that would be such a great 

22           solver of crimes for New York.  And that ran 

23           for a while, I think until after 2010, maybe 

24           '11 or '12, and was shut down.


                                                                   499

 1                  Do you remember how many crimes that 

 2           CoBIS program, the gun DNA solved in the 

 3           State of New York?

 4                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yes, I do.  It 

 5           was quite expensive, and the answer is it 

 6           solved no crimes.  

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I'm sorry, it 

 8           was very expensive and not a single crime?

 9                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Not a single 

10           crime was solved with it.  

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Not even one 

12           crime in the State of New York.  

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  No.

14                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  All right.  

15           Well, thank you very much, Superintendent.  

16                  Now that you're out of the Department 

17           of Corrections, what do you think about the 

18           Secure Vendor Program over there?  Can we get 

19           it done?

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I will say 

21           this, that I think it's wonderful that Tony's 

22           getting the commissioner -- is going to be 

23           the full-time commissioner and confirmed.  I 

24           think that's spectacular.  And I will keep my 


                                                                   500

 1           opinions to myself.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  (Laughing.)  Is 

 3           it the lawsuits that are the main deterrent 

 4           over there, is why we don't get the Secure 

 5           Vendor Program done?  Or what do you think it 

 6           is?  

 7                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I -- like I 

 8           say, I keep my opinions to myself.

 9                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  That's fair.  I 

10           will --

11                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  I will say 

12           this, that it's my honor to be superintendent 

13           and the State Police have done way for me for 

14           me than I will ever do for the State Police, 

15           I can tell you that.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Well, good deal.  

17           It's exciting to have you.  Thank you for the 

18           time.  

19                  And I will yield back the rest of it, 

20           Madam Chairwoman.

21                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, I see 

23           that Senator O'Mara has raised -- 

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, I see 


                                                                   501

 1           Senator O'Mara snuck in there very --

 2                  (Overtalk.)

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I'll send it 

 4           back to the Senate.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  All right, thank 

 6           you.  

 7                  So Ranking Member Senator Tom O'Mara.

 8                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Yes, thank you.  I 

 9           snuck in at the end.  

10                  Sorry, Superintendent, to prolong this 

11           any more.  But a few questions about the hate 

12           crimes, which is, you know, obviously a very 

13           growing concern -- my -- my video was stopped 

14           by -- I don't know, the host?  Okay.  There 

15           it goes.  I'm back on.  I don't know why they 

16           cut me off.  I think I'm dressed 

17           appropriately.

18                  But on the hate crimes and the 

19           reporting of hate crimes, there has been an 

20           effort in my district to encourage the 

21           reporting of hate crimes.  And there was an 

22           entity, a large business in my district that 

23           was interested in promoting this, and they 

24           did some investigating, some research on 


                                                                   502

 1           their own and asked my office to look into 

 2           it, and kind of hit a brick wall on what 

 3           exactly is being done with the reporting of 

 4           hate crimes.  And there really didn't seem to 

 5           be any kind of funnel, so to speak, on what 

 6           either local law enforcement entities did 

 7           with that or how people could go directly to 

 8           the State Police too, because there is 

 9           something for the State Police on a hate 

10           crimes reporting system.

11                  So where does that stand?  And are we 

12           making use of that?  Because, you know, we 

13           certainly have these crimes -- I'm a very 

14           rural upstate New York district.  These are 

15           not just New York City or larger-city issues.  

16           Where we have individuals that want to be 

17           more proactive on this, to highlight this, 

18           you know, where do I send them?  Or how do we 

19           better coordinate this?

20                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, I'm not 

21           exactly sure what the issue is.  If somebody 

22           is reporting a crime, they should call 911.  

23           If they want to come to the State Police 

24           barracks in their communities, whether it's 


                                                                   503

 1           --

 2                  SENATOR O'MARA:  It's not about 

 3           reporting crimes in progress, it's about 

 4           incidents that were likely hate-related, 

 5           after the fact.  Maybe nobody made a report 

 6           about it.

 7                  You know, how does that -- how can 

 8           that kind of thing be followed up on?

 9                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Well, I would 

10           say that that's the same -- it's not 

11           necessarily a crime in progress, but you go 

12           and report it to a State Trooper and we'll do 

13           follow-up investigation on it.  

14                  If we can't develop suspects, which 

15           sometimes happens in these things -- for 

16           example, you know, graffiti left on a park 

17           bench or on a road sign, that -- you know, a 

18           swastika -- it can be very hard to figure 

19           that out.  We've managed to figure out, in 

20           some cases, when someone finally told us who 

21           it was, you know, when they've done it on a 

22           number of occasions.

23                  But for the most part, that's the way 

24           it should operate, are the Elmira Police 


                                                                   504

 1           Department, in your case, the sheriff's 

 2           department, or my Troop E folks should pick 

 3           up that case, run it down, and investigate 

 4           it.  And then do the reporting that's 

 5           necessary up through DCJS for a hate crime.

 6                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Well, I can tell you 

 7           that we kind of ran down those lines a little 

 8           bit and there was no real coordination, it 

 9           seemed.  And even reaching out to the 

10           State Police and to DCJS on where this whole 

11           hate crimes reporting system stood, we were 

12           just unable to get a clear answer.  

13                  So I don't know, maybe I should touch 

14           base with you further on getting an actual --

15                  (Overtalk.)

16                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Yeah, I'd be 

17           willing to look into that and discuss that 

18           with the commissioner of DCJS.  Generally 

19           speaking, I don't produce those sorts of 

20           reports, but I would be a submitting agency 

21           to DCJS.

22                  I can certainly also refer to my major 

23           in Troop E, Major Staniszewski, and have him 

24           follow up on what's going on in that area 


                                                                   505

 1           vis-a-vis hate crimes, do we feel that it's a 

 2           sufficiently coordinated response.  I know 

 3           the sheriff and the chief out there I'm sure 

 4           would be willing to look into it as well.  

 5           And I'm sure there are other village police 

 6           departments beyond Elmira and Horseheads and 

 7           what have you.

 8                  SENATOR O'MARA:  Yes.  Yeah, 

 9           absolutely.  So thank you, I appreciate that.  

10                  I look forward to working further with 

11           the coordination of these agencies.  So thank 

12           you.

13                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Any time.  

14           Thank you.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  All right.  Do 

16           you have any more, Assemblywoman?  

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we still 

18           have Assemblyman Palmesano, with our final 

19           three minutes, our final questioner.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  First, 

21           Superintendent, I just wanted to say thank 

22           you to you and the brave men and women of the 

23           State Police for the dangerous job they all 

24           do each and every day to keep us safe in our 


                                                                   506

 1           communities, especially in light of the 

 2           rising and dangerous crimes and violence 

 3           we're seeing in our cities and communities 

 4           all across New York State.  

 5                  So first and foremost, I wanted to say 

 6           thank you to you and, again, the brave men 

 7           and women of the State Police for what they 

 8           do for us.  So thank you.

 9                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  I just have 

11           one question, and it really stems around the 

12           issue of the legalization of marijuana.  

13                  I was opposed to the recreational use 

14           of marijuana and passing that.  I had spoken 

15           to local law enforcement before this, spoken 

16           to local social services agencies and 

17           substance abuse agencies, and some of the 

18           things they brought up over and over again 

19           was the increased -- concerns regarding 

20           increased drug use associated with other 

21           drugs.  Certainly point out the fact that it 

22           certainly could lead to more increased 

23           illegal and black market sales of marijuana 

24           and also lead to other crimes, the cost to 


                                                                   507

 1           our communities, but particularly the issue 

 2           of safety.

 3                  And I was wondering, do you have any 

 4           statistics relative to the percentage of guns 

 5           and victims and crimes that are associated 

 6           with the illegal or illicit sale of marijuana 

 7           and how that might be -- is there any 

 8           association with that that you could share 

 9           with us on how those crimes might be 

10           associated with that relative to guns and 

11           violence and victims?

12                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  We -- we 

13           certainly have made arrests in the past year 

14           where large amounts of marijuana were present 

15           with other drugs and guns.  I don't know as 

16           my -- the Division of State Police numbers on 

17           that issue would be dispositive, since we 

18           don't track arrest numbers apart from our own 

19           agency.  

20                  So I can certainly make -- you know, 

21           have our analysts look and see, you know, 

22           what we could find for the last year in terms 

23           of that, but I don't have that specifically 

24           broken down right in front of me.


                                                                   508

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  I'd certainly 

 2           like that information, because I really just 

 3           think the point I'm trying to get at is, you 

 4           know, not everyone thinks, you know, this is 

 5           a positive -- many people think that this is 

 6           a positive thing, the recreational use of 

 7           marijuana.  But, you know, the concerns that 

 8           were brought up before we passed this and 

 9           made this the law of New York, which I 

10           understand the ramifications of that that 

11           were brought up by law enforcement and others 

12           about -- with the passage of this and are we 

13           seeing that increase in percentage of guns 

14           being involved in crimes, more victims, and 

15           more dangerous crimes taking place relative 

16           to this, you know, black market, illegal sale 

17           of marijuana.  

18                  So yeah, it would be good to have, 

19           because I think that's something we should be 

20           paying attention to.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

22                  And I'm going to throw it back to -- 

23           Senator Krueger, I believe we have exhausted 

24           all of the questioners for the 


                                                                   509

 1           superintendent.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Perhaps we've 

 3           literally exhausted them, but I don't know 

 4           about that.  

 5                  So I want to thank you very much, 

 6           Superintendent.  And we also, all of us, 

 7           appreciate the hard work of the men and women 

 8           of the State Police.  So we just pass our 

 9           appreciation back, and excuse you for the 

10           rest of the day.  Thank you.

11                  SUPERINTENDENT BRUEN:  Thank you.  And 

12           I will definitely pass on all your good 

13           wishes to the Troopers.  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And I 

15           am going to -- just for a little variation in 

16           topic, I will now be calling up, from the New 

17           York State Office of Information Technology 

18           Services, the interim CIO and director, 

19           Angelo Riddick.  

20                  Angelo, are you here with us?

21                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  I certainly am.  

22           Good afternoon.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think it's 

24           evening by now.  Good evening.


                                                                   510

 1                  (Laughter.)

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  All right, so I 

 3           think you know the rhythm of these hearings.  

 4           We have your written testimony, as does the 

 5           public.  We'd like you to summarize in 

 6           10 minutes or less the major themes of your 

 7           testimony.

 8                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Absolutely.  

 9           Thank you, Chairs Krueger and Weinstein and 

10           distinguished members of the State 

11           Legislature.  It is the honor of a lifetime 

12           to partner with you during this pivotal 

13           moment in history.  

14                  I am Angelo "Tony" Riddick, New York's 

15           chief information officer and director of the 

16           state's Office of Information Technology 

17           Services.  

18                  For the last 22 months, ITS has been 

19           at the forefront of the state's COVID 

20           response.  I've had the honor and challenge 

21           of being on the job for 14 of those 

22           22 months.

23                  We enabled fully remote and then 

24           hybrid work for tens of thousands of state 


                                                                   511

 1           employees, rapidly built applications and 

 2           revamped state websites, and provided the 

 3           tools that allowed New York to ensure 

 4           uninterrupted services during a pandemic.  

 5                  ITS created the vaccine scheduling 

 6           system and the state's return-to-work portal 

 7           to safely bring workers back to their 

 8           offices.  

 9                  We offered 24/7 support for the mass 

10           testing and vaxx sites, and provided the 

11           necessary upgrades to support online meetings 

12           and virtual government.  

13                  And we worked with our partners in the 

14           public and private sectors to build the 

15           Excelsior Pass platform, becoming the first 

16           state in the nation to offer digital proof of 

17           a COVID vaccine.  

18                  In fact, we recently partnered with 

19           the federal government and our friends at the 

20           Division of Veterans Services and the 

21           Department of Health to extend the Excelsior 

22           Pass to veterans who received their COVID 

23           shots at a VA facility.  This information was 

24           once outside the state's jurisdiction and 


                                                                   512

 1           could not be included in our immunization 

 2           databases.  Now, hundreds of thousands of 

 3           New York veterans are able to access the 

 4           Excelsior Pass so they can share proof of 

 5           immunization and be easily welcomed into 

 6           businesses and venues across the state.

 7                  As a 30-year active-duty veteran who 

 8           was vaccinated at the VA, I cannot thank 

 9           Governor Hochul enough for her leadership and 

10           commitment to getting this done.  

11                  So often in the last two years, when 

12           New York was challenged in new and varied 

13           ways, ITS was there with the solution.  And 

14           while a number of long-term modernization 

15           projects were already underway in March 2020, 

16           the pandemic forced our state government to 

17           continuously pivot and adapt.  

18                  Now that we've entered a new phase, we 

19           are leaning forward and working to cement the 

20           progress that has already been made.  The 

21           truth is there are countless opportunities to 

22           be smarter, better and more agile.  

23                  We are focused on accelerating 

24           modernization projects at multiple state 


                                                                   513

 1           agencies, and understanding which solutions 

 2           can help bridge the gap while we move to 

 3           retire legacy technology.  

 4                  We have enhanced our support model to 

 5           give more state employees the ability to work 

 6           remotely, so they can better support their 

 7           agencies and more quickly and confidently 

 8           respond to the next crisis.  

 9                  As a state, we should be embracing 

10           technology as a solution -- not only in times 

11           of crisis, but also in times of calm.  We 

12           know technology can support processes and 

13           help government operate more efficiently, and 

14           it can provide greater access to many more 

15           New Yorkers.  Digital enhancements are 

16           ongoing and will continue to improve citizen 

17           interactions with their state government.  

18                  New tools are helping state agencies 

19           and their hardworking employees deliver 

20           faster results for all New Yorkers.  

21                  And right now our agency is 

22           implementing the technology to support a new 

23           law, which originated right here in the 

24           Legislature, that will require state agency 


                                                                   514

 1           websites to be accessible in each of the 

 2           12 most commonly spoken non-English 

 3           languages.  We have procured the necessary 

 4           language translation tools and, following 

 5           additional testing and configuration work, 

 6           expect to deploy this new technology on time 

 7           and to the benefit of many more New Yorkers.  

 8                  We know technology can provide a 

 9           lifeline to families in difficult times.  

10           During the height of the pandemic, ITS 

11           utilized technology to assist the Department 

12           of Labor in clearing their unemployment 

13           insurance backlog and delivering benefits to 

14           families in need.  

15                  We know technology can even help 

16           provide enhanced cyber-protection for the 

17           state's network and its data.  And that 

18           brings me to cybersecurity, which is fast 

19           becoming the defining IT issue of our time.  

20                  No agency is better prepared or better 

21           positioned than ITS to tackle this diverse 

22           set of cyber challenges.  We start by taking 

23           every threat seriously.  We have endpoint 

24           detection tools already in place which 


                                                                   515

 1           provide an extra layer of protection against 

 2           intrusion, and in the coming year we will 

 3           work with our partners at the local level to 

 4           extend these protections.  

 5                  We have top-notch security 

 6           professionals who monitor the state's network 

 7           and global threat landscape all day, every 

 8           day.  Prior to coming to New York I had 

 9           extensive experience with the Army's Cyber 

10           Command and taught cybersecurity courses at 

11           the National Defense University, and yet I 

12           have never seen more attempted attacks than 

13           we are seeing today.  

14                  I urge you to join us in making this a 

15           priority now.  To fight this new cyber war, 

16           we need more resources, we need more people 

17           and new recruiting techniques, and we need 

18           better intelligence-sharing at all levels of 

19           government.  I am pleased to say Governor 

20           Hochul's budget achieves all of this and 

21           more.  

22                  The Executive Budget funds Year 1 of a 

23           multiyear investment that will allow the 

24           state to establish a strong "Zero Trust" 


                                                                   516

 1           framework.  "Zero Trust" means everything we 

 2           do is secure and there are checks and 

 3           balances on every device, every transaction, 

 4           and every request for access.  This will 

 5           better protect the state's data from 

 6           intrusion or attack.  

 7                  If this budget is approved, we will 

 8           use a portion of the new funding to enhance 

 9           our Red Team, a group that tests security 

10           across executive agencies by identifying and 

11           launching attacks in a controlled 

12           environment.  They are critical to the 

13           state's readiness to respond to a real 

14           threat.  

15                  The Executive Budget also recommends 

16           new cyber resources to provide local 

17           governments with expert strategic assistance 

18           and security solutions to mitigate ransomware 

19           attacks so they can better protect their own 

20           assets.  I thank Governor Hochul for her 

21           leadership on this important issue and know 

22           it will allow us to make a strong statement 

23           to the world that New York State takes 

24           cybersecurity very seriously.  


                                                                   517

 1                  Thank you for your service, leadership 

 2           and commitment to the State of New York.  I 

 3           am happy to take any questions you may have.

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 5           much, Commissioner.  

 6                  And I believe that the first 

 7           questioner will be Senator Diane Savino, our 

 8           chair of Technology and all those topics that 

 9           committee is covering.

10                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Internet and 

11           technology.  Thank you, Senator Krueger.  

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

13           much, Diane.

14                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Commissioner, it's 

15           good to see you again.  I think the last time 

16           we saw each other was in early 2020, at the 

17           budget hearing then.

18                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Absolutely.

19                  SENATOR SAVINO:  You were just barely 

20           days on the job, not really -- I remember we 

21           met in my office and we talked about your 

22           extensive history and how you would be an 

23           amazing asset, not really understanding just 

24           how important your experience would be as the 


                                                                   518

 1           state was about to shut down and go 

 2           completely virtual.  

 3                  Thank God you were part of the team; 

 4           otherwise, I'm not really sure we would have 

 5           been able to transition to a virtual 

 6           workforce either on the state side or with 

 7           local governments.

 8                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Thank you very 

 9           much.

10                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I want to talk a bit 

11           about, though, the area that you and I spoke 

12           about that day and you are an absolute expert 

13           on, and that of course is the issue of 

14           cybersecurity and the threats, which as you 

15           point out is really the threat of our 

16           lifetime right now.

17                  We confirmed earlier today Jackie Bray 

18           as the new DHSES commissioner, and we talked 

19           with her yesterday about the role that 

20           homeland security plays with it.  We also 

21           spoke to the State Police and the role that 

22           they play.  

23                  But we've had somewhat of a haphazard 

24           approach in this state of who's really 


                                                                   519

 1           responsible.  And I'm happy to see you're 

 2           playing a bigger role certainly with the 

 3           state agencies.  The threats that we're 

 4           seeing during the pandemic -- school 

 5           districts being hacked on a regular basis, 

 6           small local governments under attack 

 7           constantly.  And I know that there are 

 8           limited resources and there have been up 

 9           until now.  

10                  So I just want to ask a bit about what 

11           the Governor's proposing in her budget where 

12           she's talking about the hiring of an 

13           additional 248 people on your Red Team.  And 

14           also in the infrastructure bill that was 

15           passed in Washington, there was $2 billion 

16           set aside for states to apply for 

17           cybersecurity grants to enhance their 

18           protection.  

19                  So I'm wondering, are we going to use 

20           this -- are these 248 people, are they going 

21           to be part of the team to help local 

22           governments and school districts, et cetera, 

23           become more responsive and protect themselves 

24           better?  And were we able to apply for any of 


                                                                   520

 1           that infrastructure money?  

 2                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  As I understand 

 3           it, we're working on applying for that 

 4           infrastructure money.  Unfortunately, I don't 

 5           have visibility on that process.  But I can 

 6           assure you -- and thanks for meeting with me 

 7           last year -- that absolutely cybersecurity is 

 8           a priority.  

 9                  As a matter of fact, after we met, I 

10           worked with my team to develop our strategic 

11           plan, and the number-one priority was and 

12           remains cybersecurity.  

13                  The increase in the budget will allow 

14           us to hire a number of technicians, some of 

15           which will be working specifically cyber, as 

16           we look to a whole-of-state approach outside 

17           of just the state's infrastructure.  But as 

18           we look to work with local governments, we 

19           have to help with ensuring that that 

20           infrastructure is also secure.  

21                  There are a number of methods that we 

22           can use, and my team is looking very deeply 

23           at the methodology that we have to use to get 

24           these people on board quickly.  And yes, 


                                                                   521

 1           personnel are a priority and cyber will be 

 2           inside of that priority stack.  Thank you.  I 

 3           think that's a great question.

 4                  SENATOR SAVINO:  So also because we're 

 5           a home-rule state and we allow localities and 

 6           school districts and, you know, villages to 

 7           make their own decisions and purchase their 

 8           own equipment, there seems to not necessarily 

 9           be a cohesive approach to this.

10                  Do you have any recommendations, as a 

11           person who's an expert in this, about the way 

12           we currently handle issues like technology 

13           purchases and software purchases?  Should we 

14           allow that type of, I guess, autonomy because 

15           of the inherent risks of cyber leaks?  

16                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  I support that 

17           autonomy, and I think that's a great 

18           question, thank you.  

19                  I support the autonomy, but we need to 

20           partner with these local governments to make 

21           sure that they have the resources that they 

22           need, including tools and the sophistication 

23           to delivering cyber solutions to their own 

24           internal infrastructure.


                                                                   522

 1                  SENATOR SAVINO:  And finally, because 

 2           I know there's a lot of people that have 

 3           questions, the State of Pennsylvania two days 

 4           ago passed a bill -- I'm not sure if the 

 5           governor is going to sign it, though -- that 

 6           would ban the payment of ransomware attacks 

 7           from government funds.  

 8                  I introduced a bill last year that 

 9           would essentially do the same thing.  It was 

10           a little controversial, but it's reflecting 

11           how challenging it is for us to deal with 

12           ransomware attacks.  You know, when we reach 

13           out to either, you know, the FBI or the 

14           Justice Department, their response to 

15           policymakers is not to pay them.  Because 

16           ransomware -- first of all, you're never 

17           going to get your data back anyway.  It's 

18           just costing taxpayers an extraordinary 

19           amount of money.  And you're contributing -- 

20           my discussion with the FBI was you're 

21           contributing to a criminal enterprise, you're 

22           aiding and abetting, you know, international 

23           criminals.  So you shouldn't pay it.  

24                  But at the same time, what do we say 


                                                                   523

 1           to, you know, school districts, what do we 

 2           say to healthcare facilities who have been 

 3           hacked and whose data has been encrypted and 

 4           they can't get access to it?  So, you know, 

 5           we're going to move the bill through the 

 6           Senate's Internet and Technology Committee, 

 7           and I'm sure I'll get a million phone calls 

 8           from people who say that this is not the way 

 9           to go about it.

10                  But there has to be a way for, you 

11           know, states to develop policies that kind of 

12           send a message that we are not going to 

13           continue to be victims of cybercriminals.  

14           The answer, of course, would come from 

15           Washington.  They're not doing anything on 

16           this issue, in spite of, you know, their 

17           rhetoric.  They actually have not passed any 

18           meaningful legislation or adopted any 

19           policies.

20                  So what would you suggest we say with 

21           respect to ransomware payments?

22                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  First, Senator 

23           Savino, I absolutely respect your position on 

24           not paying ransomware.  I don't want to tilt 


                                                                   524

 1           my professional hand and talk about the 

 2           strategies that we're discussing in ITS to 

 3           mitigate these vulnerabilities, to make sure 

 4           that we have resources available to help our 

 5           localities and our agencies within the 

 6           infrastructure recover from a ransomware 

 7           attack.  

 8                  Unfortunately, the best we can be in 

 9           cybersecurity, and I've said this for years, 

10           is one town ahead of the posse.  So being 

11           actively involved in establishing a 

12           relationship with localities, and 

13           establishing a solid relationship with the 

14           agencies that we support, is the first step, 

15           so that they understand what our strategy is.  

16           And hopefully one day we'll be able to 

17           totally defeat the ransomware attack.  But 

18           until then, my team discusses this daily, and 

19           we have a plan.

20                  SENATOR SAVINO:  And then finally, do 

21           you find that local governments are notifying 

22           you when there are ransomware attacks?

23                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  They certainly 

24           are.  We get the notification from our 


                                                                   525

 1           resource as well as the call from local 

 2           governments at times.  But we usually know 

 3           just as they know, and we reach out to them, 

 4           we provide ourselves -- we provide them the 

 5           availability to discuss mitigation 24/7.

 6                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  I look 

 7           forward to working with you more on these 

 8           very complicated issues.  Good luck.

 9                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Thank you so 

10           much.  Look forward to talking to you again.

11                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thanks.  I yield my 

12           time back, Senator Krueger.  

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Assemblywoman 

14           Weinstein.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We do not have 

16           any Assemblymembers as of yet looking to ask 

17           questions of Mr. Riddick.  So I will send it 

18           back to you, and you can go through the 

19           Senators that have questions.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  All 

21           right.  

22                  Next up is Senator Zellnor Myrie.

23                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you, 

24           Madam Chair.  


                                                                   526

 1                  And thank you, Director Riddick, for 

 2           your patience and endurance in bearing with 

 3           us and testifying now.

 4                  I just had a question around -- you 

 5           know, you mentioned some of the great work 

 6           the state has had to do during this pandemic 

 7           to stand up programs and applications.  You 

 8           know, there was just a news article about 

 9           Guidehouse and the ERAP program and 

10           application.  And I understand that that is 

11           somewhat breaking news, and so you don't 

12           really have the opportunity to think and 

13           respond to that.

14                  But I wanted to ask, in a somewhat 

15           relevant way, what the implications are for 

16           the Homeowners Assistance Fund application, 

17           which I think is largely being utilized 

18           online and that has a short window -- that we 

19           are approaching in about a week -- for people 

20           to apply.  

21                  One, I wanted to see if there were any 

22           concerns with what you're seeing as far as 

23           those applications and people utilizing it 

24           online.  And, two, whether the Legislature or 


                                                                   527

 1           the public is going to get any breakdown on 

 2           where those applications are coming from and 

 3           sort of whether they're being highly 

 4           utilized, underutilized, or whether we need 

 5           to do some more promotion.

 6                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Well, Senator, I 

 7           can assure you that the applications are 

 8           being utilized, that the system is working to 

 9           date, that we work with the agency to ensure 

10           that we provide the support that they need.  

11           I make myself available.  The nuances, of 

12           course, always involve privacy and 

13           cybersecurity.  Our team is actively involved 

14           with that.

15                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

17                  Senator Brad Hoylman.

18                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, 

19           Madam Chair.  

20                  Good evening, sir.  Thank you for 

21           being with us, Mr. Riddick.  And thank you 

22           for your acknowledgment of the legislation 

23           that Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and I 

24           passed to require the translation of websites 


                                                                   528

 1           into the 12 most widely spoken languages in 

 2           New York State, and for your assistance in 

 3           getting this bill signed.  It's greatly 

 4           appreciated.

 5                  Given concerns around COVID, and you 

 6           just heard my colleague Senator Myrie around 

 7           ERAP and other applications for homeowner 

 8           assistance, do you have any sense of whether 

 9           perhaps pushing the bill a little farther 

10           than it currently stands -- the statute, 

11           which says you have to translate within 

12           60 days for COVID-related websites of the 

13           State of New York, six months for everything 

14           else -- do you think with some of the more 

15           important websites like around ERAP, like 

16           around COVID, like around hate crimes, at 

17           NY.gov you could maybe get it done sooner 

18           than 60 days?  

19                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  I've made sure 

20           that my priority has always been the 

21           customer's priority.  We understand the 

22           prioritization of COVID-facing websites, 

23           those agencies that have interaction with 

24           COVID business, if you will, for lack of a 


                                                                   529

 1           better term, are prioritized.  

 2                  Can we get that done in 60 days?  

 3           Absolutely, with that prioritization.

 4                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  

 5                  And what's your perspective, looking 

 6           back, on the Department of Labor and their -- 

 7           the websites that had crashed repeatedly 

 8           during the height of the pandemic and the 

 9           applications for unemployment insurance?  Do 

10           you have any lessons learned from that?

11                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  You know, the 

12           biggest lesson I learned is working 

13           personally with the commissioners and the 

14           senators who have questions, and making sure 

15           that I meet with them so that we can 

16           prioritize as a unit what their concerns are.  

17                  I don't have any future concerns with 

18           working with DOL and the infrastructure 

19           that's in place.  We work continuously to 

20           improve not only relationships but the 

21           operation itself.  

22                  Again, as I stated last year, I'm a 

23           people person first, a process person.  We've 

24           got to look at the products to make sure that 


                                                                   530

 1           we have the right products in place to 

 2           deliver the services that residents need, and 

 3           we also look at policy to make sure we stay 

 4           and guide them.

 5                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  And finally, are we 

 6           investing enough in your department?  Do you 

 7           have any staff to -- I mean, it's an enormous 

 8           task that you have before you.

 9                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  That's a tricky 

10           question, Senator.  

11                  I will tell you I did relate to my 

12           staff just recently that this is the first 

13           time that we received more money in any 

14           operation that I've ever had the honor of 

15           working with as a leader.  I compliment and I 

16           commend Governor Hochul on her effort to make 

17           sure that resources are available.

18                  Can we use more?  Absolutely.  But do 

19           we have enough to operate?  I assure you we 

20           do.

21                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you very much.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                  And if the Assembly still doesn't 

24           have --


                                                                   531

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We do not have 

 2           anyone.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Then I have one 

 4           more question for the commissioner.  Also 

 5           recognizing that we met, and suddenly you 

 6           were in the middle of COVID and all the 

 7           complications therein.  I think I asked you 

 8           this question then, but I'm asking you again.

 9                  The state has a system called WMS, 

10           Welfare Management System, that OTDA and 

11           Office of Children and Family Services 

12           operate on and parts of the Medicaid program 

13           operated on and our local governments' 

14           departments of social services all interact 

15           with.  It was outdated in 1989 when we first 

16           turned it on.  

17                  Even yesterday I was in a conversation 

18           with a state commissioner who said, "We 

19           really want to do this, but WMS is never 

20           going to be able to do the simple thing that 

21           would really help."  

22                  So do you imagine in your tenure with 

23           the state we might finally get a system to 

24           replace the, again, beyond antiquated, beyond 


                                                                   532

 1           not working correctly WMS system? 

 2                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Thank you so 

 3           much for that question.  And thank you for 

 4           last year's education as well.  I did a lot 

 5           of homework to find out exactly what the 

 6           impact of upgrading WMS would be.  

 7                  Number one, I found out that most of 

 8           the infrastructure itself resides on a 

 9           mainframe.  Now, the challenge with 

10           mainframes and moving to newer technologies 

11           is to keep life in that mainframe while you 

12           build a new solution.  Therefore, I asked my 

13           technology team to look at mainframe as a 

14           service so that we can literally fix the car 

15           with the tires rolling.  

16                  As we do that, I found out -- thanks 

17           to you -- about the new instantiation that 

18           we're evolving to, and that's the Integrated 

19           Eligibility System.  We've hired a new 

20           director in IES, a very, very skilled 

21           employee who's been with ITS for a number of 

22           years.  She's taken on that monster, if you 

23           will.  She's developed a program.  We have a 

24           now deputy secretary who oversees the 


                                                                   533

 1           agencies that that particular solution will 

 2           provide for our residents.  

 3                  We've had several meetings.  I'm very 

 4           confident that with the collaborative efforts 

 5           that we've taken thus far, understanding what 

 6           the mission is, that we can be on track to 

 7           deliver this IES system in a reasonable 

 8           amount of time.  And we will not be slowed 

 9           down by an antiquated system because we're 

10           breathing life at the same time.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

12           take that as very encouraging, and I look 

13           forward to living long enough to, I don't 

14           know, turn off WMS for the State of New York 

15           at some point.  So thank you very much.

16                  And I think, with that, we're going to 

17           excuse you for the evening and thank you for 

18           your hard work and urge you to move forth to 

19           do so many things, because we're in a world 

20           of everything being driven by technology and 

21           we just need to get better and better at it.  

22                  So thank you very much for joining us.

23                  INTERIM CIO RIDDICK:  Absolutely.  

24           It's definitely an honor.  Have a good 


                                                                   534

 1           evening.

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 3                  And now I'm going to be calling up our 

 4           last government representative for this 

 5           hearing.  You thought it would never end.  

 6           That's only part one of the hearing, folks.

 7                  The New York State Office of Indigent 

 8           Legal Services, Patricia Warth.  

 9                  Are you with us, Patricia?

10                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  I am here.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  Welcome.

12                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Thank you.  

13                  Good evening, everybody.  

14                  So as Senator Krueger said, I am 

15           Patricia Warth.  I was nominated by the 

16           Indigent Legal Services Board earlier this 

17           year to replace Bill Leahy in June of 2021 

18           when he stepped down as director.  So I'm 

19           happy to be here.  This is my first time 

20           testifying on behalf of ILS.  

21                  And I want to thank you on behalf of 

22           the ILS board and the ILS office for the 

23           support that this Legislature has shown our 

24           office in the 11 years of our existence.  And 


                                                                   535

 1           of course I also want to thank you for this 

 2           opportunity to talk to you about the 

 3           Executive Budget as it pertains to indigent 

 4           legal services.  

 5                  And, you know, the Executive Budget 

 6           for ILS is a story of good news and 

 7           not-so-good news.  So I'm going to start with 

 8           the good news.

 9                  And the good news is that once again 

10           the Executive has included in the budget full 

11           funding for ILS to work towards one part of 

12           our mission, and that is improving the 

13           quality of mandated criminal defense.  And 

14           this takes the form of, you know, 

15           $23.8 million to fully fund implementation of 

16           the Hurrell-Harring settlement in five 

17           counties -- but, just as importantly, an 

18           additional $50 million over last year's Aid 

19           to Localities budget to fully fund extension 

20           of the Hurrell-Harring settlement to the 

21           entire state, so all of the 

22           non-Hurrell-Harring counties and New York 

23           City.  And so this year that will be a total 

24           of $250 million in our Aid to Localities 


                                                                   536

 1           Budget for that endeavor.

 2                  And so that's the fifth year of the 

 3           five-year phase-in for full implementation of 

 4           the Hurrell-Harring settlement extension to 

 5           the entire state.

 6                  And I know that this funding, both the 

 7           settlement funding and the funding to extend 

 8           it statewide, would not be possible without 

 9           this Legislature's support for the work that 

10           we do, and we very much appreciate it.  We 

11           work diligently to ensure that the funding is 

12           being spent responsibly and in accordance 

13           with the goals of the settlement and its 

14           implementation statewide.  And, you know, 

15           when I'm done I'm happy to answer questions 

16           about our progress in statewide 

17           implementation and progress with the 

18           settlement.  

19                  So that's the good news.  But then 

20           there's the not-so-good news.  The 

21           not-so-good news has to do with that part of 

22           our mission regarding improving the quality 

23           of mandated parental representation for 

24           parents in Family Court proceedings.


                                                                   537

 1                  And, you know, this is just as legally 

 2           mandated, constitutionally mandated and 

 3           statutorily mandated as criminal defense, and 

 4           yet once again, you know, the Executive 

 5           Budget, at $2.5 million in Aid to Localities 

 6           for improved-quality Family Court 

 7           representation is insufficient for the work 

 8           that we need to do.

 9                  And, you know, I feel confident that 

10           based on last year's enacted budget, I don't 

11           need to convince you of how important it is 

12           to fully fund this initiative for ILS, to 

13           fully fund our request of $9 million in Aid 

14           to Localities for this.  And I think I don't 

15           need to fully convince you because it's 

16           because of you that last year's enacted 

17           budget included $2.5 million for 

18           improved-quality Family Court representation.  

19           This was a legislative add in last year's 

20           budget, and we were gratified to see that the 

21           Executive in this year's budget honored what 

22           you did last year and included it in her 

23           proposed budget.

24                  But the 2.5 million in this year's 


                                                                   538

 1           Executive proposed budget is 6.5 million less 

 2           than our request of 9 million and just a 

 3           fraction of what is needed to address the 

 4           lack of resources under which public defense 

 5           attorneys currently work in the Family Court 

 6           part of their practice.

 7                  And we recognize that the Legislature 

 8           alone cannot fix this problem.  The right to 

 9           counsel in Family Court matters is a 

10           foundational constitutional and statutory 

11           right.  It's no different from the right to 

12           counsel in criminal proceedings.  And so it 

13           deserves a commitment by both the Executive 

14           and the Legislature to fully fund the quality 

15           improvements for mandated parental 

16           representation.

17                  And I think that you appreciate the 

18           consequences of failure to address the crisis 

19           in Family Court representation.  I think you 

20           understand that currently our public defense 

21           providers in their Family Court part of their 

22           practice work under crushing caseloads, that 

23           they don't have the resources that they need 

24           to fully investigate and litigate their cases 


                                                                   539

 1           or to connect their clients with the supports 

 2           that can prevent, you know, children from 

 3           being removed from their parents.  And I 

 4           think that, you know, you understand what the 

 5           model is that we're looking for in the 

 6           funding.

 7                  In my written testimony I talk about 

 8           sort of the various lenses through which one 

 9           can view the importance of adequate funding 

10           for Family Court representation.  I talk 

11           about the importance of family integrity and 

12           how fully funding this will not only honor, 

13           you know, the constitutional rights that 

14           parents have to legal representation, but it 

15           will also guard against children from being 

16           needlessly removed from their parents.  

17           Because currently, under our current system, 

18           public defense attorneys don't have the time 

19           and resources that they need to get courts 

20           the full information courts need in making 

21           decisions that are in the best interests of 

22           the children about these cases.

23                  I also talk about the racial justice 

24           implications of this.  I mean, we know that 


                                                                   540

 1           currently our system is biased towards 

 2           families of color and that bias plays out 

 3           every day in our Family Courts.  And, you 

 4           know, the antidote to that is sufficient 

 5           funding for attorneys who represent parents 

 6           in Family Court issues.

 7                  And I also talk about the problems 

 8           inherent in fixing one part of the mandated 

 9           public defense system -- you know, the 

10           criminal part of it -- but not fixing the 

11           other part of it, which is the Family Court 

12           part of it.

13                  So, you know, I encourage you to read 

14           my written testimony and to ask any questions 

15           that you have about it.

16                  But my ask to you today is that over 

17           the next several weeks you make it a priority 

18           to include the additional $6.5 million for 

19           Family Court defense in the final enacted 

20           budget.  And like I said, I recognize that it 

21           can't just be a legislative add, that this 

22           has got to be an Executive and Legislature 

23           joint commitment.  

24                  And in asking you to do this, I want 


                                                                   541

 1           to emphasize that this funding does not need 

 2           to come from the General Fund.  There is a 

 3           special fund available, the Indigent Legal 

 4           Services Fund, which has adequate funding 

 5           right now to pay both for mandated criminal 

 6           defense and to fully fund our request for the 

 7           9 million for parental representation.  And 

 8           so I'm happy to answer any questions you have 

 9           about that.

10                  But before I finish I just want to 

11           touch very quickly on two additional issues 

12           that, though not in the ILS budget, are 

13           directly within our statutory mission.  

14                  And the first, of course, is the dire 

15           need to increase the Assigned Counsel Program 

16           rates.  And I don't think I can explain the 

17           need for increased rates any better than 

18           Senator Bailey did in his editorial for the 

19           Daily News, so I'm not going to, you know, go 

20           on about it.  But I will say that his 

21           editorial echoed a 2019 letter that 

22           Chief Judge DiFiore sent to the Legislature 

23           about the need to increase assigned counsel 

24           rates.  And of course Judge Marks talked 


                                                                   542

 1           about it earlier today in his testimony.  So 

 2           I think we can all agree that this is very 

 3           important and now is the time to do it.

 4                  I would also just add, you know, from 

 5           ILS's perspective we're starting to see that 

 6           the failure to address this issue is starting 

 7           to have an impact on our ability to fully 

 8           implement the Hurrell-Harring settlement and 

 9           to extend it statewide.  Because as you know, 

10           an important component of that is caseload 

11           relief.  But if the Assigned Counsel Program 

12           rates are not increased, we will continue to 

13           see attorneys just abandon the assigned 

14           counsel panels.  And as Judge Marks told you 

15           earlier today, when attorneys leave the 

16           panels, there's not enough attorneys for 

17           which courts can assign cases, and the 

18           attorneys that are left have overwhelming 

19           caseloads.  

20                  So that's the perspective that we 

21           have.  And, you know, I would encourage you 

22           to also address this issue as an ongoing 

23           discussion with the Executive about the final 

24           enacted budget.


                                                                   543

 1                  And then finally, as we do every 

 2           year -- and we do this every year because 

 3           it's important -- we do request full funding 

 4           for our partner, you know, the New York State 

 5           Defender Association.  NYSDA's work is 

 6           incredibly important to the work that ILS 

 7           does.  I describe it in a little more detail 

 8           in the written testimony.  

 9                  But we see the work of NYSDA as, you 

10           know, critical to the ongoing work of 

11           improving the quality of both criminal 

12           defense and mandated parental defense.  So 

13           again, I ask you -- you know, reiterate that 

14           request, as we do every year, that NYSDA 

15           receive full funding.  

16                  And so with that, I'm a little bit 

17           short of my 10 minutes, and I will pause and 

18           entertain questions.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

20                  All right.  So first up out of the box 

21           is chairman of Codes, Jamaal Bailey.

22                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank 

23           you, Madam Chair.  

24                  And thank you, Patricia, for being so 


                                                                   544

 1           patient with today's testimony.  It has been, 

 2           as Chairwoman Krueger mentioned, it's been 

 3           quite an extended hearing.

 4                  I want to thank you, and you've 

 5           already said a lot of what I was going to 

 6           already ask you about, the 18-B and the 

 7           necessity for a raise for assigned counsel.  

 8                  Just to put it in context, the last 

 9           raise was in 2004.  And in 2004 I, you know, 

10           was a few pounds -- a lot lighter and I was 

11           only an intern in the State Legislature.  

12           That tells you how long it's been since there 

13           has been a raise for assigned counsel.  

14                  But in all seriousness, could you -- 

15           if you could flesh out what that means to the 

16           average indigent person, to that family who 

17           can ill afford not to have representation, 

18           especially in a Family Court proceeding.  

19           Could you give me an example of what an 

20           overburdened attorney pool or what 

21           overburdened assigned counsel means for the 

22           folks that you advocate for?

23                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Sure.  I mean, I 

24           think it means two really critical things.  


                                                                   545

 1           First, there's often a significant delay in 

 2           the assignment of counsel, as the ACP 

 3           administrator or the judge, you know, calls 

 4           around trying to find somebody who will take 

 5           the case.  And so what it means is that 

 6           somebody's not represented at their first 

 7           court appearance.  And that's true for both 

 8           criminal cases and Family Court cases.

 9                  And, you know, that undermines the 

10           goals, of course, of the settlement and its 

11           expansion statewide.

12                  But then the second thing that it 

13           means is that you're not -- you don't have 

14           time to -- your attorney doesn't have time to 

15           fully investigate or litigate the case or to 

16           meet with you.  So practically speaking, as a 

17           litigant, you're seeing your attorney for 

18           five minutes at the beginning of a court 

19           appearance and at the end of a court 

20           appearance, and that's pretty much it.  You 

21           do not have the time to talk to your attorney 

22           about the situation, about your life 

23           circumstances, to really sort of flesh out 

24           the situation.


                                                                   546

 1                  And so as a result, you don't fully 

 2           understand the proceeding against you.  

 3           You're confused, you're anxious and you're 

 4           upset.  But more importantly, you're not able 

 5           to convey to your attorney really critical 

 6           information that the attorney can use to 

 7           fully investigate the case, whether it's a 

 8           Family Court case or a criminal case.  And so 

 9           what that means is that critical information 

10           is left uninvestigated and not presented to a 

11           court in whatever type of proceeding it would 

12           be key.

13                  And so, you know, from a person's 

14           point of view, you know, you walk away from 

15           the situation feeling like the system didn't 

16           work for you.  And often -- you know, I see 

17           this a lot in criminal cases, but people give 

18           up.  And often they take a plea even if 

19           they're not guilty, but because they're 

20           just -- they know the system isn't working, 

21           they know it's not fair for them, and so they 

22           just throw in the towel and they just, you 

23           know, take whatever plea is recommended to 

24           them by the attorney.


                                                                   547

 1                  And the same thing happens in 

 2           Family Court proceedings as well.  And so 

 3           sometimes people lose their children, when 

 4           they really shouldn't have to, because of the 

 5           lack of resources that their attorney had.

 6                  SENATOR BAILEY:  So it's fair to say 

 7           that the raise is not simply just about 

 8           compensating individuals more, it is about 

 9           providing families throughout the State of 

10           New York with greater support systems via the 

11           legal system and the surrounding system.  I 

12           think that would be a fair assessment to 

13           make.

14                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  You know, and I'm 

15           glad you said that, because what that goes to 

16           is that, you know, we're asking for two 

17           things.  Right?  We're asking for the 

18           $9 million in Aid to Localities for parental 

19           representation, improved parental 

20           representation.  And we're asking for this 

21           Legislature to, you know, work hard on 

22           increasing the ACP rates.  

23                  And I know you and I talked about that 

24           earlier as parallel asks, and I really see 


                                                                   548

 1           them as intertwined asks, because they both 

 2           achieve the same thing:  Ensuring that 

 3           there's justice for our families and ensuring 

 4           that children are not needlessly taken from 

 5           their parents.  And they're both needed to do 

 6           that.

 7                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Absolutely.  Look, I 

 8           think that -- you know, I think that we need 

 9           to fund defense, we need to fund prosecution, 

10           we need to fund family attorneys, we need to 

11           fund everybody.  If we're not funding 

12           attorneys or offices or agencies that 

13           dispense the representation of the people, 

14           then I think that, you know, we're not -- I 

15           think we're doing ourselves a major 

16           disservice.

17                  My final question before I yield the 

18           rest of my time.  Is there any -- you 

19           mentioned that -- and I think it's something 

20           that, if you're paying attention, that these 

21           unfortunate circumstances affect people and 

22           children of color more adversely.  Is there a 

23           geographical bent to this in this state?  Do 

24           you find that this is happening more 


                                                                   549

 1           downstate or upstate?  Or is it something 

 2           that happens throughout our great state?  

 3                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  It's -- 

 4           unfortunately, it's something that happens 

 5           throughout our great state.

 6                  People are discriminated against 

 7           because they're Black or brown and sometimes 

 8           just because they're poor.  You know, I see 

 9           it every day in our courts, playing out, the 

10           moral judgments against people who are poor.  

11           And, you know, the sort of implicit biases 

12           that play out because of those judgments.

13                  It's unfortunate, but again, you know, 

14           I can tell you -- you know, I was a lucky 

15           attorney.  My first gig as a criminal defense 

16           attorney was working for the Capital Defender 

17           Office here in New York, and we were 

18           adequately funded.  And so I had the time to 

19           meet with my clients, to meet with their 

20           family members, to learn about their life 

21           circumstances.  And I truly believe that that 

22           armed me -- the information I learned from 

23           them armed me with the tools that I needed to 

24           be able to fend off that type of implicit 


                                                                   550

 1           bias.  

 2                  Because it's that ability to humanize 

 3           our clients, to tell their stories, that -- 

 4           that's the best anecdote that I can think of 

 5           to the implicit bias in decision-making that 

 6           is natural that we see play out every day in 

 7           our court system.

 8                  SENATOR BAILEY:  So it's fair to say 

 9           that whether it's the Bronx County or 

10           Broome County, that we need to do this 

11           throughout the state.  I think that would be 

12           a fair assessment.  

13                  This is my actual last question, 

14           because I just thought of another one.  

15           Obviously we have seen the -- based upon the 

16           Hurrell-Harring settlement, we have seen 

17           increased strength in representation along 

18           with a decline in caseload.  

19                  Would you venture to say that if the 

20           caseloads decline on the parental side, on 

21           the family side, that we would see that same 

22           quality of representation go up?

23                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Absolutely.  I 

24           mean, they go hand in hand.  And that's not 


                                                                   551

 1           to say that it happens automatically.  And 

 2           that's -- you know, that's the value of 

 3           having a state agency like ILS work with the 

 4           counties on the plan for using the funding 

 5           effectively to not only reduce caseloads but 

 6           increase quality.  

 7                  You know, it's that plan that's 

 8           effectuated through contracts that we issue 

 9           to the counties that I think is 

10           accountability for everybody involved.  And 

11           we've seen that it's working very effectively 

12           in the Hurrell-Harring counties.  We're 

13           starting to see it work effectively with, you 

14           know, extending Hurrell-Harring across the 

15           state.  And we have an opportunity to see it 

16           work just as effectively with the 2.5 million 

17           that was part of ILS's Aid to Localities 

18           budget this year, and this week we are 

19           sending out the contracts to the five 

20           counties that were awarded $500,000 each over 

21           three years for that 2.5 million.  And we're 

22           already starting to meet with the counties to 

23           talk about how do we measure the improvement 

24           in representation that we're going to realize 


                                                                   552

 1           through even that small amount of funding.

 2                  But yes, you know, the -- reduce the 

 3           caseloads, monitor what is happening, and you 

 4           will see improved quality.

 5                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you.  I just 

 6           want to say thank you for all the work that 

 7           you do at ILS.  I just want to say that the 

 8           agency remains in excellent hands.  Thank you 

 9           for the work that you do in the agency, 

10           Patricia.  It's a pleasure to work with you.  

11                  Madam Chair, I yield the rest of my 

12           time.

13                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Thank you.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

15                  Chair Weinstein.  We'll roll it to you 

16           for dueling chairs.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  And we'll 

18           go to Assemblyman Dinowitz, chair of the 

19           Codes Committee first, for 10 minutes. 

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Thank you.  

21                  Well, first let me just say thank you 

22           to you, Patricia, and to ILS for the work 

23           that you do and for the impact that you've 

24           had on so many people, so many families in 


                                                                   553

 1           New York.  It makes a difference.

 2                  I just have a couple of questions.  

 3           One is kind of a very general question and 

 4           then the other is a little more specific.

 5                  So your office, your goal is to be 

 6           able to represent people who need 

 7           representation.  My question is in terms of 

 8           people who should be eligible for 

 9           representation, like how many are actually 

10           getting representation assigned to them?

11                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  That's a really 

12           good question.  

13                  As part of that, we -- and as part of 

14           the settlement, we were required to develop 

15           standards for determining financial 

16           eligibility for assignment of counsel in 

17           criminal cases for the Hurrell-Harring 

18           settlement.  And those standards are -- our 

19           authorizing statute, our implementing statute 

20           authorizes us to do those as well.  So the 

21           settlement, you know, inspired us to do that. 

22                  And we have done those standards.  We 

23           did a very extensive training program in 

24           partnership with NYSDA statewide to implement 


                                                                   554

 1           these standards.  I should also say OCA 

 2           worked with us and the Office of Justice 

 3           Court Supports on training judges, so we had 

 4           training of providers and judges.

 5                  And what we've been hearing, and 

 6           particularly in Hurrell-Harring counties, is 

 7           that they've been very effective at ensuring 

 8           that people who cannot afford to retain 

 9           counsel in criminal cases are getting 

10           counsel.  And that because they streamline 

11           the eligibility process, people are getting 

12           counsel quickly.  It's not a long, belabored 

13           process.

14                  This past year we updated those 

15           standards pursuant to a recommendation of the 

16           Chief Judge's Commission on Parental 

17           Representation.  We updated those standards 

18           to include Family Court representation as 

19           well.  And we're starting to work very 

20           closely with counties on -- and we worked 

21           with NYSDA on a training -- again, training 

22           providers in how to implement those standards 

23           in Family Court cases.  And, you know, we're 

24           looking forward to having, you know, the 


                                                                   555

 1           capacity to start to see how that's working 

 2           too.

 3                  But what we're hearing is that when 

 4           the standards are applied, that people who 

 5           need counsel get it.  In other words, that 

 6           most people who apply for counsel get 

 7           counsel.

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  Well, 

 9           that's good.  That's very good to hear.

10                  Coming from the Bronx, one of the big 

11           issues we have is the tremendous need for 

12           representation of people in our immigrant 

13           community, immigrant proceedings where people 

14           are facing deportation.  And, you know, I 

15           don't know what the numbers are, but I'm sure 

16           it's quite significant.

17                  Has your office been involved in 

18           establishing and improving representation to 

19           immigrant-related proceedings for persons who 

20           can't afford representation?  Which I'm sure 

21           are a very significant portion of the 

22           community.

23                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah.  Our office 

24           isn't.  That's not part of our statutory 


                                                                   556

 1           mandate.  Again, our mandate focuses on 

 2           criminal defense in criminal court and 

 3           parental representation in Family Court.

 4                  However, as you may know, several 

 5           years ago the United States Supreme Court 

 6           issued a decision saying that in criminal 

 7           cases it's an obligation of the defense 

 8           attorney to advise his or her noncitizen 

 9           client of the immigration consequences of 

10           both the arrest and a possible conviction.

11                  And so towards that end, we've 

12           developed six what we call regional 

13           immigration assistance centers.  And so there 

14           are six centers across the state, they 

15           essentially cover the whole state, and they 

16           assist criminal defense attorneys and also 

17           Family Court attorneys in advising their 

18           clients as to the immigration consequences of 

19           either a criminal proceeding or a Family 

20           Court proceeding or, for clients who are 

21           involved in both, of both proceedings.

22                  And so, you know, it's not quite, you 

23           know, what you were asking, but it's still 

24           the work that we can do on our end to ensure 


                                                                   557

 1           that noncitizens have the representation that 

 2           they need, at least in one part of their 

 3           involvement in the justice system or the 

 4           Family Court system.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN DINOWITZ:  Okay.  Thank 

 6           you very much.  And again, thank you for 

 7           everything that you do.

 8                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Thank you.

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think we'll go 

10           back now to our other chair, Senator Brad 

11           Hoylman.

12                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you, Chair 

13           Krueger.  

14                  Good evening, Ms. Warth.  Thank you 

15           for your advocacy and all of your work -- and 

16           your colleague Burton Phillips, who used to 

17           be my colleague in the Senate.  

18                  And wanted to also acknowledge all the 

19           work that my colleagues did last session in 

20           getting your -- and now the Executive having 

21           bought in, if you will, to the increase that 

22           we were able to provide last year.

23                  But when it comes to Family Court, you 

24           know, we look at Hurrell-Harring as kind of 


                                                                   558

 1           the doomsday scenario, if you will, in terms 

 2           of the Legislature being able to dictate its 

 3           own budget.

 4                  Are you concerned that we might see 

 5           something similar -- you know, a court case, 

 6           a class action lawsuit where it might be 

 7           mandated for us to require the funding of 

 8           representation in Family Court?

 9                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Absolutely.  I 

10           mean, you know, Burton talks about this, 

11           right?  He frames it as we're seeing 

12           historical echoes right now.  Right?  

13                  The Hurrell-Harring lawsuit, you know, 

14           as people know was instigated by sort of a 

15           couple of key components:  One, a 

16           constitutional and statutory right to counsel 

17           in criminal proceedings; two, you know, the 

18           counties having the responsibility of paying 

19           for that, you know, implementing that, right, 

20           which is really a state obligation; and 

21           three, a commission that studied it and found 

22           that the current system was deeply flawed and 

23           wasn't meeting constitutional and statutory 

24           obligations.  So those were the essential 


                                                                   559

 1           components that led to the Hurrell-Harring 

 2           litigation.  

 3                  Well, they all exist right now for 

 4           Family Court representation.  You know, you 

 5           have the constitutional and statutory right 

 6           to counsel of parents in Family Court 

 7           proceedings.  You have the state not stepping 

 8           up to the plate, essentially, and doing its 

 9           part in funding that but instead, you know, 

10           requiring the counties to do it.  And then 

11           you have -- in 2019 you have a commission 

12           convened by a chief judge, in this case 

13           Chief Judge DiFiore, which did extensive 

14           hearings and collected a lot of information 

15           and produced a report that just basically 

16           mirrored the report that was issued back in 

17           2006 by then the Kaye Commission, really just 

18           outlining just how broken the system is for 

19           the delivery of legal representation for 

20           parents in Family Court proceedings.

21                  And I also want to add one thing to 

22           that.  You know, I was rereading a case, a 

23           1972 case called Matter of Ella B., and that 

24           was a case in which the Court of Appeals 


                                                                   560

 1           reminded everybody that the right to counsel 

 2           for parents in Family Court proceedings is a 

 3           constitutional imperative.  And it was 

 4           interesting because the argument made to the 

 5           court at that point for defending a judge's 

 6           decision to not advise a mother who was at 

 7           risk of losing her child that she had the 

 8           right the counsel -- the argument that was 

 9           made to defend that decision was, Well, it's 

10           Family Court, it's not the same as criminal.  

11           This isn't a right that is important.  

12                  And the Court of Appeals rejected that 

13           argument and said we're talking about a 

14           fundamental interest that a parent has in his 

15           or her children.  Of course that's 

16           fundamental.  Of course that's just as 

17           important as the right to counsel in criminal 

18           proceedings.  

19                  And, you know, what I think is key 

20           about the DiFiore Commission's report is that 

21           they not only frame the issue as the right 

22           for parents, but they also talk about the 

23           issue as the right for children to make sure 

24           that cases are fully and fairly litigated so 


                                                                   561

 1           that judges have the full and complete 

 2           information that they need to make decisions 

 3           that are in the best interests of the 

 4           children.

 5                  And so I think the DiFiore Commission 

 6           sort of closed the loop in that regard and 

 7           really sort of talked about the importance of 

 8           this funding both, you know, to honor the 

 9           constitutional right for parents but also to 

10           honor the importance of family integrity.

11                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  It's so interesting.  

12           So like -- so basically the sanctity of 

13           parenthood is viewed as integral, as 

14           important as the sanctity to one's liberty in 

15           a criminal case.

16                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah.  I mean and 

17           I've had clients who had both a pending 

18           Family Court proceeding and a criminal 

19           proceeding, and almost uniformly they were 

20           more worried about the Family Court 

21           proceeding.  That meant more to them.  You 

22           know, losing their children meant more to 

23           them.

24                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Meant more.


                                                                   562

 1                  Now, so we're talking about 

 2           6.5 million to make up the differential, is 

 3           that correct?

 4                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  That's correct, 

 5           yes.

 6                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  And practically 

 7           speaking, what does that look like in terms 

 8           of the number of families that would then be 

 9           represented?

10                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Well, you know, 

11           that -- I would love to be able to give you 

12           that answer.  I think with the 2.5 we're 

13           going to find out more, you know, the exact 

14           number of how the families -- or how that 

15           works.  

16                  But it's also -- you know another way 

17           to think about it is if, you know, you have 

18           one public defender office, even just adding 

19           one attorney reduces the caseloads of all the 

20           attorneys in that office.  So it really 

21           impacts all of the clients for that office.  

22                  And so, you know, whatever number I 

23           gave you -- you know, if I just gave you a 

24           number of what that one attorney -- the 


                                                                   563

 1           number of clients that one attorney 

 2           represented, it really would underestimate 

 3           the full impact.  Still, that's the kind of 

 4           information we're going to try to get.

 5                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  And then finally, 

 6           can you help us understand why Family Court 

 7           representation is part of the Public 

 8           Protection budget hearing?  How are those two 

 9           connected?

10                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah.  I mean, I 

11           think I go back to Ella B. for that one.  You 

12           know, as soon as the Court of Appeals said 

13           this is the same, right, these two interests 

14           are both so foundational that the state 

15           really has a requirement to make sure that 

16           there's the right to counsel.

17                  And so after Ella B., the right to 

18           representation of parents in Family Court 

19           proceedings was added to County Law 

20           Article 18, which was already established for 

21           criminal cases.  And so, you know, it's now 

22           the same offices, the same providers do both.  

23           They do both criminal representation and the 

24           representation of parents in Family Court 


                                                                   564

 1           proceedings.  

 2                  And so that's our office's mission.  

 3           You know, we work to improve the quality of 

 4           representation provided under County Law 

 5           18-B.  And so that's sort of where it all 

 6           came together.  But that also speaks to why, 

 7           you know, I'm sort of reiterating the problem 

 8           of trying to fix one part of the system and 

 9           not the other part of the system.

10                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.

11                  Finally, on the ILS -- (overtalk).  

12           Sorry, my 4-year-old interrupting.  On the 

13           assigned counsel rates -- I'm not sure if you 

14           touched on this with Senator Bailey -- why do 

15           you take the position that the cost of any 

16           increases should be shouldered by New York 

17           State rather than by the counties or 

18           localities?

19                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Well, you know, I 

20           think we need to learn the lesson that we 

21           learned from 2004.  And in 2004, you know, 

22           when the rate was increased, the counties had 

23           to fully assume fiscal responsibility for 

24           that increase.  And so what we saw across the 


                                                                   565

 1           state is that in order to pay for that 

 2           increase, counties cut costs and mandated 

 3           representation in other ways.  Right?

 4                  And so we saw public defense 

 5           providers, you know, their budgets were cut.  

 6           We saw the creation of these conflict 

 7           defender contracts that, you know, would ask 

 8           one person to represent an inordinate number 

 9           of clients in both family and criminal case 

10           proceedings.  

11                  And, you know, I really felt like -- 

12           you know, my first several years at ILS was 

13           working as the chief attorney for the 

14           Hurrell-Harring settlement implementation 

15           unit, and truly I felt like a lot of what I 

16           was doing was undoing the damage from the 

17           decision made in 2004 to require the counties 

18           to pay the increase.  

19                  You know, and I'm not asking the state 

20           to pay the full cost for assigned counsel 

21           rates.  You know, I think for the counties to 

22           continue to pay the current rates and the 

23           counties to, you know, to pay the increase I 

24           think is a sort of fair resolution of that.


                                                                   566

 1                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you very much.

 2                  Thank you, Madam Chair.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 4                  We go to Assemblyman Lavine, chair of 

 5           the Judiciary Committee, 10 minutes.  And 

 6           he'll be followed by Assemblyman Epstein.  

 7                  Go ahead, Mr. Lavine.

 8                  THE MODERATOR:  I think you're still 

 9           muted.  

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No, you are not 

11           muted, but we cannot hear you.

12                  Why don't we go to Assemblyman -- 

13           since there are no other Senators, we'll go 

14           to Assemblyman Epstein while we figure out 

15           Mr. Lavine's issue with sound.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And it might be 

17           the best to just turn yourself off, Chuck, 

18           and then try to come back into Zoom.  

19           Sometimes that takes care of it.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Well, that 

21           worked.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, okay.  Fine.  

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Since Harvey's 

24           busy talking on the -- yes, go ahead.


                                                                   567

 1                  (Laughter.)

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Thanks.  And 

 3           sorry.

 4                  Patricia, I was once a public 

 5           defender.  I did 18-B work in the criminal 

 6           realm and in Family Court.  And I was also 

 7           learned counsel on death penalty cases and 

 8           did CJA work in the federal courts.  So 

 9           needless to say, I could not be prouder of 

10           what you do.  But I want to share what my 

11           experience was as an 18-B attorney.

12                  Sure enough, whenever I needed an 

13           expert, whenever I needed an investigator, I 

14           had to engage in a lengthy piece of motion 

15           practice -- and that's assuming on some of 

16           these cases I could find a qualified 

17           investigator or the experts would be willing 

18           to work at what were the 18-B rates in those 

19           days.  Now, this is a long time ago.

20                  I never had that problem on death 

21           penalty cases.  I never once had that problem 

22           in representation in the federal courts.

23                  What's the experience these days in 

24           terms of attorneys being able to work with 


                                                                   568

 1           experts and investigators who actually will 

 2           be paid?

 3                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah.  Well, the 

 4           experience is different depending on whether 

 5           it's a criminal case or a Family Court case.  

 6           Because of the Hurrell-Harring settlement and 

 7           its extension statewide, we've worked with 

 8           the counties on making funding available -- 

 9           and this is state funding available -- in 

10           criminal cases for the ACP attorneys to 

11           access experts without having to go through 

12           that difficult motion process.  

13                  And so we're working with the assigned 

14           counsel programs, you know, so part of what 

15           we're doing is we're building the 

16           infrastructure for the assigned counsel 

17           programs so that there's somebody within the 

18           program.  And every program designates 

19           somebody different to review a request for an 

20           expert and then to review vouchers for an 

21           expert.  But it doesn't have to go in front 

22           of a judge, and it's not a complicated 

23           request process.  

24                  And in some cases, you know, if you 


                                                                   569

 1           need an expert like an investigator -- 

 2           sometimes you need the investigator 

 3           yesterday.  And if you have to go through the 

 4           complicated process, evidence is going to be 

 5           lost.  And so now the ACPs have systems in 

 6           place in their criminal cases where, you 

 7           know, the person can get the expert and then 

 8           get the ACP to pay for it with the, you know, 

 9           post hoc application, if you will.  

10                  And so that's working really, really 

11           well for the criminal attorneys.  The same 

12           thing isn't available for Family Court 

13           attorneys because the funding isn't there.  

14           And that's the type of thing we want to do, 

15           is to make sure that we can do that for both 

16           the criminal side of a public defense 

17           practice but also the Family Court side of 

18           it.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  Well, good 

20           lawyering and good lobbying, Patricia.  

21                  If we are able to make some progress 

22           in terms of being able to take care of this 

23           differential, does the amount that you 

24           suggested cover not simply just the attorneys 


                                                                   570

 1           but experts and investigators as well?  

 2                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  So for -- you 

 3           know, we're issuing -- you know, again I go 

 4           back to the 2.5 that was added as a result of 

 5           this Legislature's work.  We worked, you 

 6           know, very quickly to get board approval to 

 7           issue an RFP.  We issued an RFP for five 

 8           awards of $500,000 each over three years.  So 

 9           that's not a lot of money.  It's $167,000 per 

10           year.  

11                  We had 25 counties apply, all of 

12           them -- I mean, just really excellent 

13           proposals.  You know, We had a scoring 

14           system.  We're issuing contracts to the top 

15           five awardees this week.  And I think three 

16           of those contracts include that type of 

17           funding.  And so like Cortland County was one 

18           of the awardees, and so they're funding an 

19           attorney to reduce caseloads.  And then the 

20           extra funding that they have that -- you 

21           know, they're having a pot of money so they 

22           can access experts in their Family Court 

23           cases as well.  

24                  And so, you know, it's a small amount 


                                                                   571

 1           of money, but it's going to have a 

 2           significant impact in that county.  And it's 

 3           going to jump-start the process of improving 

 4           the quality of representation.

 5                  Now, to be fair, when I talked to the 

 6           public defender, he said, you know, "I wish I 

 7           had enough money for a social worker.  That's 

 8           what I really need."  You know, so that's why 

 9           we're asking for more.

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAVINE:  And let me 

11           advocate for that, because as part of the 

12           training to be learned counsel on death 

13           penalty cases, the fact that social workers 

14           play such a critical role in adopting a 

15           holistic approach to handling a case is 

16           something I will never forget.  

17                  So I didn't mean to leave out social 

18           workers from the equation.  And I simply want 

19           to say thanks for what you do.  And whatever 

20           time I have left, I rest my case.

21                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Thank you.  

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

23           think, Assemblywoman, we're still done, so -- 

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, we have 


                                                                   572

 1           now Assemblyman Epstein.  Three minutes on 

 2           the clock, please.  

 3                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, Chair 

 4           Weinstein.  

 5                  Appreciate you being here, Director.

 6                  So, you know, we've talked about 

 7           limited resources for -- just to disclose, 

 8           I'm a former civil legal services lawyer for 

 9           decades, ran programs.  And so this is 

10           something that is deeply meaningful to me as 

11           well.  

12                  And I'm wondering, since we always 

13           talk about limited pots, I'm wondering, 

14           instead of focusing on an area of law, 

15           focusing on a population.  And I'm wondering 

16           what -- if you've had those conversations 

17           internally that say, you know, with a 

18           population of veterans, they need family law 

19           help, housing help, you know, public 

20           benefits.  Can we do comprehensive services 

21           to that population instead of driven to an 

22           area of law?

23                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah, I mean, I 

24           think that's a really good question.  


                                                                   573

 1                  Except the issue that we would have 

 2           with that is that the constitutional 

 3           statutory mandate doesn't just target a 

 4           population.  You know?  It targets everybody 

 5           who is entitled to counsel.  And so I think 

 6           we'd be doing a disservice to our mission if 

 7           we were to just limit it to a population.

 8                  Having said that, I will admit that 

 9           for the 2.5 million that we received in Aid 

10           to Localities for improved-quality parental 

11           representation, we did focus -- for the RFP 

12           that we issued, we did focus that funding on 

13           one type of Family Court matter, and that's 

14           state intervention matters.  Those are the 

15           matters that involve parents, you know, 

16           potentially losing their children.

17                  And so yes, we did -- you know, given 

18           the limited funding, we did focus, you know, 

19           sort of along the lines of what you're 

20           talking about.

21                  I would also say, though, that, you 

22           know, I understand the issue of limited 

23           funding.  But we do know that this year we do 

24           have a healthier economy and a healthier 


                                                                   574

 1           state budget.  And I also reiterate what I 

 2           said about the Indigent Legal Services Fund:  

 3           The additional funding that we're requesting 

 4           for parental representation can and should 

 5           come out of that fund.  That's exactly what 

 6           it was made for.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Just so you 

 8           know, I think we should have a right to 

 9           counsel.  I firmly believe in the right to 

10           counsel statewide on a whole host of issues 

11           for lower-income New Yorkers.  And so, you 

12           know, I agree that the pot doesn't have to be 

13           limited.  But I think once we continue to 

14           show successes, like you said, like in a 

15           certain type of Family Court case if we 

16           create a right, in a certain type of, you 

17           know, population we create a right -- that, 

18           you know, whether it's -- we talked about, 

19           you know, more money for housing, but that's 

20           still -- then the lawyer is making the 

21           choice -- you know, the Governor.  

22                  Instead of saying you have a right, 

23           now you can exercise this right to get free 

24           services because you're entitled to it, 


                                                                   575

 1           instead of the program saying, oh, we're 

 2           going to choose which case based on this 

 3           initial money we got that we think has the 

 4           most merit.

 5                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Right, yeah.

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So I wonder how 

 7           you'd feel -- I know I've run out of time, 

 8           but it would be great to continue the 

 9           conversation about how we reframe the 

10           conversation.

11                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Yeah, I mean -- 

12           and I think that's how our mandate is 

13           different from normal civil legal services.  

14           There's already been a court decision that 

15           somebody has the right to counsel for the 

16           work that we do.  You know, so -- so, you 

17           know, it's not quite in the same area.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

19                  We have Assemblywoman Kelles to close 

20           for this witness.

21                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Thank you.  

22                  And my deepest apologies.  All of us 

23           are running in between three different 

24           meetings all at the same time, so I'm sure -- 


                                                                   576

 1           you know, I may have missed some things.  And 

 2           I understand the questions that are being 

 3           asked.

 4                  I see that the budget increases by 

 5           50 million in funding for the continued 

 6           expansion of performed guidance for -- by the 

 7           Hurrell-Harring.  Is that the funding you're 

 8           referring to that you are requesting?  

 9                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  No.  That is 

10           already in the Executive Budget.  And that is 

11           part of the five-year plan to implement the 

12           extension of the Hurrell-Harring settlement 

13           statewide in a five-year increment.  So the 

14           first year was 50 million, the second year -- 

15           and so this is the fifth year, so this is the 

16           full 250 million needed.

17                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Okay.  And in 

18           the request I'm curious if it incorporates 

19           for all the specialty courts like the Mental 

20           Health Court -- you were speaking about 

21           Family Court earlier -- to cover the legal 

22           counsel -- right to counsel.  

23                  I agree with my colleague who just 

24           spoke.  Absolutely huge supporter of right to 


                                                                   577

 1           counsel across the whole state for everyone 

 2           who is low-income and needs it.  So I'm 

 3           trying to get a sense of what the request 

 4           would cover.  Does it cover all specialty 

 5           courts?  Does it also cover resource 

 6           coordinators for these courts that I know 

 7           help once -- you know, once cases are 

 8           finalized, help individuals access the 

 9           resources that they're required to, for 

10           example?  A really important position on top 

11           of the social workers.

12                  So I'm trying to get a sense of what 

13           is incorporated into that request.

14                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Well, the 

15           extension of the Hurrell-Harring settlement 

16           statewide is all criminal cases where 

17           somebody's entitled to counsel and 

18           financially eligible for assigned counsel.

19                  And so that would cover any specialty 

20           court that's a criminal court.  Which tends 

21           to be the -- you know, substance abuse 

22           courts, the opioid courts, the mental health 

23           courts.  So that involves people arrested for 

24           a criminal offense.


                                                                   578

 1                  For the Family Courts, it's a little 

 2           bit different.  And so, you know, you can 

 3           face a situation where somebody has, you 

 4           know, both a pending criminal case and a 

 5           Family Court case, in it might be an 

 6           integrated court, and they're going to have 

 7           one attorney, the criminal attorney, who's 

 8           going to have sufficient resources because of 

 9           everything this Legislature has done in 

10           supporting our work to implement the 

11           settlement and extend it -- but then the 

12           Family Court attorney on the Family Court 

13           proceeding isn't going to have the same 

14           resources.

15                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Right.  So the 

16           request is to -- but that's not --

17                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  The additional 

18           6.5 million in Aid for Localities for 

19           improved-quality parental representation.

20                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Got it.  And 

21           that was the other piece you were speaking 

22           with Assemblymember Lavine about.

23                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  Right.

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  And with 


                                                                   579

 1           respect to the resource coordinators and the 

 2           investigators for the criminal courts, I had 

 3           heard earlier a little piece.  But does this 

 4           funding request also cover those types of 

 5           services and positions?

 6                  ILS DIRECTOR WARTH:  So our funding 

 7           can pay for staff or people associated with 

 8           the public defender.  Right?  But we can't -- 

 9           we don't pay for court staff.

10                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Got it.  Thank 

11           you so much.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you for 

13           testifying.  And I think that our chairs did 

14           a good job of grilling you, so we covered a 

15           lot of territory.  Thank you for being with 

16           us tonight.

17                  And for others who have been waiting 

18           patiently, we are now shifting into the 

19           second part of this hearing.  And in the 

20           second part, with non-governmental 

21           representatives, we have panels that people 

22           have been put on.  

23                  Each individual will get three minutes 

24           to testify.  Then legislators will have three 


                                                                   580

 1           minutes in total to ask questions of the 

 2           panel.  So hopefully that's not too 

 3           complicated.  And the panels aren't that many 

 4           people.  We have two or three -- oh, on one 

 5           or two we have four reps.

 6                  So I know some of you are thinking, 

 7           Will I ever leave for dinner?  Maybe not.  

 8           But we're trying to make sure that everybody 

 9           has a chance to testify and that legislators 

10           have a chance to ask a few questions.  

11                  And again, for anyone watching, 

12           everyone is welcome to submit written 

13           testimony, even if you feel that you don't 

14           have a chance to go over all your critical 

15           points in your presentation.  Or you might 

16           not have gotten a slot to testify.  I'm 

17           getting questions even today, now, can people 

18           be added to today's hearing.  The answer is 

19           no, of course.  

20                  But you can submit written testimony.  

21           And every legislator and all of the staff and 

22           the central staff that work on the budget on 

23           behalf of the Assembly and the Senate do get 

24           all of this.  


                                                                   581

 1                  So now I would like to call up 

 2           Panel A:  The Vera Institute of Justice, 

 3           Shayna Kessler, senior planner; and Neighbors 

 4           Link, Karin Anderson Ponzer, director, 

 5           Neighbors Link Community Law Practice.  

 6                  Are both of our panelists here with 

 7           us?  I see them, yes.  All right, so let's -- 

 8           in the order you were called up.

 9                  Hi, Shayna.  Take your mute off and 

10           please testify.

11                  MS. KESSLER:  Good evening.  Thank you 

12           very much, Madam Chair.  

13                  And thank you to the full committee 

14           for your time and perseverance today.  

15                  My name is Shayna Kessler.  I am a 

16           senior planner with the Vera Institute of 

17           Justice.  I am pleased to testify today in 

18           support of two areas in which Vera leads work 

19           in New York:  Legal representation for 

20           immigrants, and pretrial reforms in the 

21           criminal legal system.  

22                  Regarding immigration, we support an 

23           increased investment in New York's 

24           immigration legal services, specifically a 


                                                                   582

 1           $15.3 million investment in the Liberty 

 2           Defense Project and a $9.1 million investment 

 3           in the Office for New Americans, totaling 

 4           $24.4 million.  This would support critical 

 5           legal services for immigrants facing 

 6           deportation, including the pioneering 

 7           New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, or 

 8           NYIFUP. 

 9                  New York's investment in such 

10           representation provides a beacon of hope for 

11           those torn from their homes by immigration 

12           enforcement, which continues to be an 

13           enormous risk.  

14                  Immigrant New Yorkers are deeply woven 

15           into the fabric of our state.  One in three 

16           New York children has an immigrant parent, 

17           and more than one-quarter of our workforce is 

18           foreign-born.  During the pandemic, 

19           immigrants performed work that sustains our 

20           economy and safeguards public health, and 

21           they'll continue to do so long after it ends.  

22                  Providing lawyers to people is key.  

23           Immigrants in detention with lawyers are 

24           10 times more likely to prove the right to 


                                                                   583

 1           remain in the United States than those 

 2           without lawyers.  Governor Hochul included 

 3           $20 million in her Executive Budget for these 

 4           services, but that falls short of the need, 

 5           and thousands are still forced into detention 

 6           and immigration court without access to 

 7           counsel.  

 8                  Just this month we're seeing the worst 

 9           COVID-19 outbreak in ICE detention since the 

10           pandemic began.  We call on the Legislature 

11           to increase funding to $24.4 million this 

12           year and simultaneously to pass the Access to 

13           Representation Act, which would establish a 

14           permanent right to representation for people 

15           facing deportation in our state.  The public 

16           understands that this is the fair thing to 

17           do, and polling shows that 93 percent of 

18           New Yorkers support government-funded lawyers 

19           for people in immigration court.  

20                  Regarding the public safety budget, we 

21           appreciate the Governor's proposal to triple 

22           Executive funding for community-based gun 

23           violence responses and for $10 million in new 

24           funding to support pretrial services.  These 


                                                                   584

 1           represent an important investment in 

 2           evidence-based approaches to gun violence and 

 3           criminal legal system involvement.  

 4                  We hope the Legislature will continue 

 5           its long-time commitment to these issues by 

 6           providing additional funding, especially for 

 7           pretrial services.  We also urge that this 

 8           money go to non-law enforcement entities that 

 9           are better suited to support the success of 

10           individuals and communities.  

11                  Thank you very much for your time and 

12           support for these issues. 

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

14                  And Shayna Kessler -- I'm sorry, that 

15           was Shayna Kessler.  

16                  Karin Anderson, excuse me.  It's 

17           getting a little late.             

18                  MS. PONZER:  Absolutely.  Thank you so 

19           much for the opportunity to testify this 

20           evening.  

21                  My name is Karin Anderson Ponzer, and 

22           I'm the director of the Neighbors Link 

23           Community Law Practice.  The mission of 

24           Neighbors Link is to make the whole community 


                                                                   585

 1           stronger through the healthy integration of 

 2           immigrants.  

 3                  Neighbors Link is grateful to the 

 4           Assembly and the Senate for convening this 

 5           important hearing today.  We've long been 

 6           vocal advocates for access to legal 

 7           representation for immigrants in removal 

 8           proceedings and in applications for 

 9           immigration benefits.  

10                  We urge the inclusion of 24.4 million 

11           in funding for immigration legal services in 

12           the fiscal '22-'23 New York State budget.  

13           Our legal team represents hundreds of 

14           immigrant New Yorkers every year in 

15           immigration matters ranging from deportation 

16           defense to naturalization.  But we still must 

17           turn away many more because our attorneys and 

18           our Department of Justice-accredited 

19           representatives simply can't handle any more 

20           cases.  

21                  Our community-based organization has 

22           witnessed the devastation that immigrant 

23           New Yorkers have experienced in recent years 

24           due to harsh immigration policies.  But we 


                                                                   586

 1           also know the transformative power of 

 2           immigration law to protect the vulnerable and 

 3           to keep families together and transform 

 4           lives -- if and when an individual facing the 

 5           immigration system has access to 

 6           representation. 

 7                  Our clients are low-to-moderate-income 

 8           New Yorkers who are balancing jobs, family, 

 9           and a lot of other responsibilities with 

10           limited resources.  They're the backbone of 

11           the communities where we live and work.  

12           They're healthcare workers, food service 

13           workers, teachers, child and healthcare 

14           providers, construction, building and trade 

15           workers, and so many more.  

16                  When they are able to achieve 

17           permanent legal status, naturalization as 

18           U.S. citizens, and reunite with families, our 

19           communities are stronger.  But when their 

20           families are torn apart by deportation, 

21           separated by delays in immigration 

22           application processing, and preyed upon by 

23           unscrupulous practitioners, our communities 

24           are weaker and we all feel the pain.  


                                                                   587

 1                  The experience of the past 10 years 

 2           demonstrates that immigration law will always 

 3           impact the lives of New Yorkers, whether it's 

 4           through overbroad civil enforcement that 

 5           tears families apart or changes in federal 

 6           law that may create new opportunities to 

 7           achieve legal status.  

 8                  Whether it's through barriers to 

 9           federal benefits like the CARES Act funding, 

10           because of a lack of immigration status -- 

11           which made it impossible for many people to 

12           access those funds -- or the urgent need of 

13           New Yorkers that we see these days for legal 

14           assistance to help friends and family who 

15           fled persecution and violence in their 

16           countries of origin, robust funding for 

17           immigration legal services is an investment 

18           that makes all New York stronger.  

19                  Neighbors Link endorses the continued 

20           funding of the LDP and ONA, and the expansion 

21           of funding to 24.4 million.  

22                  Thank you so much.             

23                  CHAIR KRUEGER:  Excuse me.  I see 

24           Senator Pete Harckham's hand up.


                                                                   588

 1                  SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you, 

 2           Madam Chair, and thank you both for your 

 3           testimony.  Thanks for bearing with us so 

 4           late in the evening.

 5                  And Karin, always great to see you.  

 6           I'm proud that Neighbors Link is in my 

 7           district and Assemblyman Burdick's district.  

 8                  You both spoke of the $24 million and 

 9           the need for more funding.  We've been 

10           speaking tonight with a number of folks about 

11           structural issues with the legal system as it 

12           pertains to our most vulnerable.  So is this 

13           just a fiscal issue for you and your partner 

14           agencies?  Or are there other structural 

15           things that we need to be doing on New York's 

16           side of the ledger to improve legal services 

17           for our immigrant communities? 

18                  I know part of it is dealing with 

19           federal law, but there are still some state 

20           issues as well.  So are there other things we 

21           can do to be helpful?  And that question goes 

22           to both of you.             

23                  MS. KESSLER:  Thank you very much.  I 

24           can begin -- and Karin, happy for you to 


                                                                   589

 1           follow up.  

 2                  Thank you very much, Senator, for the 

 3           question, and I think it's a terrific one and 

 4           thank you for considering it.  There's 

 5           certainly an enormous need for funding for 

 6           legal and social services.  There's 

 7           insufficient access to not just attorneys but 

 8           social worker support and a wide variety of 

 9           things.  

10                  And so there's a bill, the Access to 

11           Representation Act, which would at the 

12           structural level really advance New York's 

13           leadership in this area by establishing a 

14           right to representation for people in 

15           New York facing deportation.  And that bill 

16           would -- the funding that we're seeking would 

17           do a significant amount of good, but it 

18           wouldn't come close to meeting the full need 

19           of all the people that go unrepresented, of 

20           all the people that go without the full scope 

21           of services that they should have when 

22           they're facing permanent family separation 

23           and deportation.  

24                  And so, you know, passing the 


                                                                   590

 1           Access to Representation Act would advance 

 2           New York's leadership and really -- and 

 3           ensure that no one in New York faces the 

 4           terrifying prospect of deportation without an 

 5           attorney.  And so I think that's really the 

 6           next step.  

 7                  There's some great work that can be 

 8           done through the budget by funding this work, 

 9           and we very much look forward to advancing 

10           the Access to Representation Act and 

11           advancing New York's leadership on that 

12           level.             

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

14                  And next I see -- 

15                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- Assemblyman 

16           Burdick.

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, you're back.             

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  The 

19           microwave is working.  

20                  I see Assemblymember Burdick, to close 

21           on this panel.             

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Yes, thank you.  

23                  And thank you both for your testimony.  

24                  And Neighbors Link, without any 


                                                                   591

 1           question, is an absolute gem in the district 

 2           that I represent in Mount Kisco -- but they 

 3           operate, of course -- you operate throughout 

 4           Westchester County, and you do some 

 5           trailblazing work.  And I was pleased to be 

 6           able to get some funding to Neighbors Link 

 7           earlier this year.  

 8                  And I just -- a couple questions.  One 

 9           is on the budgetary request.  Do you know 

10           what agency that would be -- is that going to 

11           be -- what agency would that be a part of a 

12           budget to?  Because I may have missed it in 

13           your testimony, but I didn't see what part of 

14           the budget it would relate to.             

15                  MS. PONZER:  The Office for 

16           New Americans.  

17                  Shayna, if you would like to speak to 

18           that.             

19                  MS. KESSLER:  That's correct.  It's 

20           under the Office for New Americans.  There's 

21           two lines --

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  But there are 

23           two parts, right?  One is the -- that there 

24           are two different asks on the money side.  


                                                                   592

 1           Are they both to the Office for 

 2           New Americans?            

 3                  MS. KESSLER:  That's correct.             

 4           Yes.  They're both --             

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Okay.  That's 

 6           fine.  I just need to know when we're putting 

 7           together budget letters and that sort of 

 8           thing to try to get support for it.  

 9                  And the Access for Representation Act, 

10           do you have any idea how that's coming along?  

11           I assume that there might be other states in 

12           the country that have similar statutes, and 

13           could you tell us a little bit about that?

14                  MS. KESSLER:  Certainly, yes.  This is 

15           a growing movement across the country.  There 

16           is a bill -- Maryland is the other state with 

17           the most active bill on this level.  Colorado 

18           is considering one, and several other 

19           states -- there's a total of eight states 

20           right now that fund deportation defense.  All 

21           of them followed New York's lead in doing so.  

22                  And really the sort of next step in 

23           this movement is the leadership of New York 

24           in passing the Access to Representation Act.  


                                                                   593

 1           And this is really, you know, to both serve 

 2           New Yorkers facing deportation and providing 

 3           really critical services to New Yorkers, but 

 4           also really modeling for the federal 

 5           government that it should be the federal 

 6           government stepping up to foot this bill.  

 7                  And it will be with the leadership of 

 8           New York and the states that are following 

 9           New York, I believe, that will ultimately 

10           make this happen at the federal level and 

11           ensure that everybody does have access to 

12           representation.             

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  And lastly, and 

14           my time is running out, but then it would be 

15           made -- by putting it in here, then, it would 

16           be grant funding that would then be available 

17           to agencies like Neighbors Link, correct?            

18                  MS. KESSLER:  That's exactly right.  

19           Yes.             

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Okay.  Thank you 

21           very much, and keep up the good work you're 

22           doing.             

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

24           ladies, both for being with us and hanging 


                                                                   594

 1           out all day.  Although at least you don't 

 2           have to sit in a conference room all day.             

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We have --             

 4           we do have another.             

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, you have 

 6           another --

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblymember 

 8           Kelles -- 

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Assemblymember 

10           Kelles likes to come in last.             

11                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  I apologize.  I 

12           like to listen to the conversation.  I learn 

13           so much from it.  

14                  But I will be quick.  I actually both 

15           wanted to thank you both on the work that 

16           you're doing.  And my deepest apologies, but 

17           I'm pivoting slightly.  I support -- I'm just 

18           going to put that out there -- I will 

19           certainly fight -- Chris, I'll second what he 

20           said.  

21                  But Shayna, I actually wanted to speak 

22           with you very briefly about a conversation 

23           that I had earlier today with OCA with 

24           respect to a report from the Vera Institute 


                                                                   595

 1           on the worsening of the racial disparities in 

 2           bail being set that has been significantly 

 3           increased, actually, for people of color, 

 4           particularly men of color, and get a sense 

 5           from you of what needs to be -- what 

 6           information do we need.  

 7                  What needs to be done, in your 

 8           opinion, from the research that you did?  How 

 9           can we address that issue?             

10                  MS. KESSLER:  I will say I will have 

11           to refer you to my colleagues whose expertise 

12           is in bail.  My expertise is on the 

13           immigration side.  

14                  But what I can say with certainty is 

15           that standing firm on bail reform -- that the 

16           reforms were solid.  We are grateful that 

17           they were enacted, and we certainly support 

18           their continuation.  And that will be what 

19           will enable us to ensure that we have the 

20           policy in place to address the racial 

21           disparities in the system.  

22                  Apologies that I can't speak in detail 

23           to that report.  

24                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Don't worry 


                                                                   596

 1           about it.

 2                  MS. KESSLER:  But certainly I will 

 3           inform my colleagues and refer them to you as 

 4           well.             

 5                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Wonderful.  If 

 6           they could reach out, that would be amazing.  

 7                  I have worked with your institute for 

 8           many years as a county legislator as well, so 

 9           I know you cover many issues.  So no worries 

10           that you are not an expert in every single 

11           one of them.  I know you work with a great 

12           team.  

13                  So thank you to both of you.  I 

14           relinquish my last minute.             

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  And now -- 

16           I just don't want to cut off anybody else 

17           accidentally.  No?  All right.  

18                  Now I will thank these two testifiers 

19           and go on to Panel B, Legal Services of the 

20           Hudson Valley, Rachel Halperin, CEO; New York 

21           State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 

22           Joan Gerhardt, director of public policy and 

23           advocacy; Treatment Not Jail Coalition, 

24           Anthony Maud; and Families Civil Liberties 


                                                                   597

 1           Union, Sebastian Doggart, executive director.  

 2                  Good evening, everyone.  Okay.  Is 

 3           Legal Services' Rachel Halperin in here?   

 4           Yes, she is.  I'll start with you.

 5                  Good evening.             

 6                  MS. HALPERIN:  Good evening.  I'm 

 7           Rachel Halperin.  I'm the CEO of Legal 

 8           Services of the Hudson Valley.  We provide 

 9           comprehensive civil legal services in seven 

10           counties in the Hudson Valley.  

11                  I'm also here tonight on behalf of the 

12           Legal Services Coalition of New York, which 

13           is a membership organization of over 

14           50 civil/legal services providers throughout 

15           New York State.  

16                  We are requesting that New York State 

17           dedicate state funding to ensure the 

18           continuity and sustainability of New York's 

19           legal services for crime victims, which is in 

20           jeopardy because of the decline in federal 

21           VOCA funds coming into New York State.  

22                  In 2018, OVS issued an RFP for 

23           attorney services for crime victims and 

24           awarded $16.7 million a year to over 


                                                                   598

 1           60 providers, which created an extensive 

 2           network of civil legal services support for 

 3           crime victims.  As a result of this funding, 

 4           for example, my organization created 20 new 

 5           positions and has provided legal services to 

 6           almost 1200 crime victims in close to 2,000 

 7           cases since 2018.  

 8                  Last month, OVS notified all the 

 9           providers under this contract that the 

10           contract was going to be terminated one year 

11           early, effective September 2022.  OVS did 

12           explain that was because of a decline in 

13           federal VOCA funds to New York State and they 

14           could no longer afford these contracts.  

15                  OVS invited current providers to 

16           compete in an RFP that was issued this month 

17           that lumps all three of the OVS programs 

18           together so we would compete against each 

19           other for a smaller pot of money.  

20           Immediately upon receipt of this notice, 

21           LSHV, like other providers, had to close our 

22           intakes.  

23                  These legal cases in custody, 

24           immigration, divorce, orders of protection, 


                                                                   599

 1           take months and years.  And as attorneys, 

 2           we're ethically obligated -- once we enter 

 3           our appearance, we have to provide 

 4           representation to clients despite losing our 

 5           funding.  We also put a hiring freeze on any 

 6           open positions.  

 7                  Legal Services Coalition, in 

 8           coordination with NYSCADV, who you're going 

 9           to hear from after me, met with the 

10           Governor's staff prior to her releasing her 

11           budget to explain this issue and encourage 

12           her to please put funding in the budget to 

13           keep providers whole.  Unfortunately, this 

14           funding was not included in the budget.  

15                  Now is not the time to cut back on 

16           these critical and life-saving supportive 

17           services.  You've heard all day about the 

18           increase in crime and gun violence.  It is 

19           not the time to cut services to victims of 

20           crime.  Respectfully, we ask the Legislature 

21           to ensure adequate funding for all providers 

22           serving crime victims under the OVS legal 

23           services funding for the next two years so 

24           that services can remain intact and steady.  


                                                                   600

 1                  And finally, we support our colleagues 

 2           at NYSCADV and their advocacy to keep all 

 3           victim service organizations whole in all the 

 4           OVS organizations they have.  

 5                  Thank you.             

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 7                  Next, Joan Gerhardt from NYSCADV.             

 8                  MS. GERHARDT:  Thank you.  Thank you, 

 9           Chair.  

10                  Yes, that's the New York State 

11           Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and we 

12           were established more than 40 years ago as 

13           the statewide nonprofit organization of local 

14           domestic violence service providers committed 

15           to preventing and ending domestic violence.  

16                  In New York, nearly 100 domestic 

17           violence programs operate 250 locations 

18           around the state.  NYSCADV is recognized by 

19           the U.S. Department of Health and Human 

20           Services and the U.S. Department of Justice 

21           as the information clearinghouse and resource 

22           center on domestic violence for New York 

23           State.  We provide education, training, and 

24           technical assistance to service providers and 


                                                                   601

 1           support policies to enhance domestic violence 

 2           intervention and prevention.  

 3                  What makes this Executive Budget so 

 4           troubling is its funding cuts to victim 

 5           services and new government mandates.  Here 

 6           are four specific concerns.  First, OVS is 

 7           cutting funding for hundreds of victim 

 8           assistance providers in the next round of 

 9           awards -- providers that offer essential 

10           services to victims of domestic violence, 

11           sexual violence, child abuse, and many other 

12           crimes.  

13                  These cuts are due to decreases in 

14           New York's federal VOCA grant.  Despite 

15           New York State's surplus, and with millions 

16           of dollars available in pandemic aid, there 

17           is no proposed solution to these cuts in the 

18           Executive Budget.  Other states have 

19           implemented fixes to protect their victim 

20           serice providers -- New York has not.  

21           New York's VOCA grant is $140 million less 

22           today than it was just four years ago.  

23                  We are therefore asking for 

24           $140 million in the state budget and again 


                                                                   602

 1           next year.  In total, the federal Crime 

 2           Victims Fund, which fuels state VOCA grants, 

 3           is expected to return to prior levels.  One 

 4           hundred forty million dollars represents 

 5           0.06 percent of the proposed $216 billion 

 6           budget and will ensure the continuity of 

 7           these critical services.  

 8                  Second, we have several concerns about 

 9           Part H in the PPGG budget, which would 

10           mandate a 40-hour training for all 

11           DV advocates.  We ask that you remove the 

12           proposal from the budget.  Domestic violence 

13           programs are finding it hard to recruit and 

14           train new employees because of high turnover, 

15           but creating new mandates and increasing 

16           state oversight will not ease this burden.  

17                  Frankly, when providers are facing 

18           significant funding cuts, the state should be 

19           focused on making programs whole so they can 

20           retain advocates, not placing more burdens on 

21           them.  We were not asked to collaborate on 

22           this proposal despite our federally 

23           designated role as a domestic violence 

24           resource center for the state.  


                                                                   603

 1                  Third, we ask the Legislature to 

 2           increase the TANF set-aside for 

 3           nonresidential DV services.  The Executive 

 4           Budget returns the set-aside to $3 million, 

 5           the same level it was when it was first 

 6           proposed in 2000.  

 7                  So we're asking for $6 million, and 

 8           we're also seeking to maintain $5 million of 

 9           new Aid to Localities funding for an 

10           OCFS-directed flexible-funding pilot project.  

11                  Thank you very much.             

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

13                  Our next testifier is Anthony Maud.  I 

14           believe I'm -- I'm hopefully saying that 

15           correctly.             

16                  MR. MAUD:  Yes.  My name is Anthony 

17           Maud, and I'm 35 years old.  I'm a proud 

18           member of the Treatment Not Jail Coalition, 

19           which is what I'm here today to discuss.  

20                  I grew up in Buffalo with a 

21           developmental and learning disability, 

22           including dyslexia and ADHD.  As a child, it 

23           always took me time to catch on to things.  I 

24           was also emotionally disabled due to being a 


                                                                   604

 1           victim of physical and sexual abuse by a 

 2           trusted family member.  

 3                  I was in group homes from ages 9 to 

 4           12, at which time I experienced additional 

 5           abuse.  My father was severely addicted to 

 6           crack cocaine, which trickled down to me as a 

 7           teenager.  I turned to drugs as a way to 

 8           cope.  I have a record and have spent time in 

 9           prison, mostly due to my drug use and 

10           untreated mental health issues.  

11                  Notably, despite having been through 

12           the criminal legal system many times, I have 

13           never been offered the opportunity to 

14           participate in court-ordered diversion.  

15                  I'm not alone.  Our justice system 

16           currently does not provide enough 

17           non-incarceratory opportunities for people 

18           like me who are struggling with mental health 

19           and substance use issues.  

20                  Our default is always jail and prison, 

21           but it doesn't address the root causes that 

22           bring people to engage in criminal behavior.  

23           In fact, studies consistently show that jail 

24           and prison exacerbate these underlying issues 


                                                                   605

 1           and make people more likely to reoffend.  

 2                  Treatment courts, as specialized court 

 3           parts that allow judges to mandate 

 4           alternatives to incarceration, are shown to 

 5           work.  They are better at healing those who 

 6           are struggling with substance use and mental 

 7           health issues.  They are better at breaking 

 8           the cycle of recidivism and promoting public 

 9           safety.  And finally, they're substantially 

10           more cost-effective.  

11                  Unfortunately, only a small fraction 

12           of those charged with crimes are eligible for 

13           these types of courts.  The Treatment Not 

14           Jail Act subsequently expands access to 

15           courts by involving existing law, CPL 216, 

16           which in 2009 created drug courts in every 

17           county in New York.  

18                  TNJ extends eligibility to those with 

19           mental health concerns and moves away from 

20           arbitrary charge restrictions, instead 

21           allowing judges to accept those they 

22           determine would benefit from treatment and 

23           whose treatment would benefit the public.  

24                  The TNJ Act also makes significant 


                                                                   606

 1           improvements to the model outlined in 2009, 

 2           building on the research that we have learned 

 3           over the last 13 years to implement a 

 4           treatment court program rooted in harm 

 5           reduction, due process, and procedural 

 6           justice principles.  

 7                  Please note that speaking today is the 

 8           single most scariest thing I have done in my 

 9           life.  But I'm doing this to help others who 

10           will get in trouble due to their own genetic 

11           backgrounds.  

12                  I welcome questions.             

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

14                  And our last testifier on this panel 

15           is Sebastian Doggart, from the Families Civil 

16           Liberties Union.             

17                  MR. DOGGART:  Good evening.  I am 

18           Sebastian Doggart, executive director of the 

19           Family Civil Liberties Union, an independent, 

20           nonpartisan, nonprofit group assisting 

21           families and kids across the U.S.  

22                  Four years ago, the FCLU testified 

23           before this same body.  We presented 

24           extensive evidence to you to show why the 


                                                                   607

 1           New York Unified Court System is causing 

 2           untold harm to our children.  

 3                  We called on you to deny Lawrence 

 4           Marks' funding requests until independent, 

 5           effective oversight of the judiciary was 

 6           established.  We warned you of specific 

 7           judges and court officials, including 

 8           Mr. Marks, and showed how they were all 

 9           perpetrating fraud, waste, and abuse on the 

10           public.  You ignored all those warnings.  

11                  Hoping we are not a 21st-century 

12           Cassandra, the FCLU is now here again to warn 

13           you of the harm being inflicted by this 

14           broken judiciary on millions of New York 

15           families.  Our request is that you deny the 

16           funding requests in their entirety by both 

17           the UCS and Commission on Judicial Conduct.  

18                  We also ask that you fund cameras in 

19           courts; insist on a radical review of the 

20           corrupt Attorney for the Child program; enact 

21           a total overhaul of the procedures for 

22           appointing or electing judges; and work to 

23           end the toxic Title IV-D program that is 

24           tearing families apart.  


                                                                   608

 1                  Your task is to protect the public, 

 2           and that means to ensure that there is 

 3           effective oversight on expenditure.  You have 

 4           failed in this task dismally.  For the last 

 5           five years, the Center for Public Integrity 

 6           has given the State of New York's judicial 

 7           accountability a failing grade of F, ranking 

 8           48th out of 50 states in terms of judicial 

 9           accountability.  

10                  The organization which you fund to 

11           oversee the judiciary is the Commission on 

12           Judicial Conduct, the CJC.  It is a sham.  

13           Every complaint presented by private citizens 

14           is dismissed with a boilerplate letter.  And 

15           guess who is on the CJC letterhead?  Robert 

16           Tembeckjian, to whom you gave a plum position 

17           as a witness today.  Robert Tembeckjian, who 

18           has ruled the CJC, unelected, for a 

19           Putin-style 17 years.  Robert Tembeckjian, 

20           who you have rewarded with ever-rising wages, 

21           over $200,000 due to him the next year, not 

22           including add-ons.  

23                  Of the hundreds of criminal complaints 

24           filed by the FCLU, the CJC has investigated 


                                                                   609

 1           precisely none.  The CJC has shown it does 

 2           not need reform, it needs to be shut down.  

 3           Tembeckjian needs to be investigated and 

 4           audited, and a new judicial oversight body 

 5           set up that is truly independent and made up 

 6           at least partly by non-attorneys.  The foxes 

 7           cannot be allowed to run the henhouse.  

 8                  Now the consequences of Tembeckjian's 

 9           negligence have been tragic.  In the report 

10           we submitted to you four years ago, we warned 

11           you of the conduct of a rogue Suffolk County 

12           judge, Hope Zimmerman.  It was Zimmerman who 

13           willfully ignored the pleas of a mother that 

14           her 7-year-old child Thomas Valva was in 

15           mortal danger.  

16                  Siding with the father, an NYPD cop, 

17           Zimmerman ignored ample evidence of imminent 

18           danger.  The result?  Tommy Valva was left in 

19           a freezing garage overnight and died of 

20           hypothermia.  If Tembeckjian had recommended 

21           Judge Zimmerman's suspension earlier, 

22           Tommy Valva would still be alive today.  

23                  We also warned you and the CJC of the 

24           abusive practices of Douglas Hoffman, the 


                                                                   610

 1           supervising judge for the New York Family 

 2           Court since 2009.  Hoffman is being sued for 

 3           sexual harassment by his own court attorney, 

 4           Alexis Marquez.  

 5                  In an age of Me Too, when Governor 

 6           Hochul and many in this Legislature have 

 7           called on us to believe women, you'd have 

 8           thought that Judge Hoffman would at least 

 9           have been suspended until the outcome of a 

10           trial with independent investigation, right?  

11           Not at all.  Hoffman, a friend of 

12           Mr. Tembeckjian, has continued to sit pretty 

13           on the bench and even had his wages 

14           increased.  

15                  The allegations here are strikingly 

16           similar to those which brought down 

17           Governor Cuomo.  

18                  Why does this Legislature apply double 

19           standards to the executive and judicial 

20           branches of government?  This Legislature 

21           needs to do a line-by-line audit of 

22           Mr. Marks' application.  That budget is a 

23           blatant attempt to defraud the public.  Why 

24           are the salaries of judges not identified 


                                                                   611

 1           anywhere there?  Where in this budget are the 

 2           generous fringe benefits they reward you to 

 3           lavish upon them?  

 4                  In Mr. Marks' budget, no reasons are 

 5           given for renewed funding of the appalling 

 6           Attorney for the Child program --             

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Your time is up.  

 8           Thank you very much.             

 9                  MR. DOGGART:  I'm wrapping up now.  

10                  We ask you to please read our detailed 

11           2022 report on the New York court system, 

12           which provides evidence on why you need to 

13           deny the Judiciary's demand for funding, to 

14           shut down the CJC, and order Mr. Tembeckjian 

15           to fund cameras in court.  To radically 

16           reform --

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Your time is 

18           up, sir.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Your time is up.  

20           Thank you.  

21                  Zellnor Myrie for the first question.

22                  MR. DOGGART:  -- tearing families 

23           apart.             

24                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you.


                                                                   612

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

 2           Sebastian.

 3                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you, 

 4           Madam Chair.  

 5                  Thank you to all of our panelists, and 

 6           a special thanks to Anthony for your 

 7           testimony and for being vulnerable and 

 8           sharing your story.  That is very much 

 9           appreciated.  

10                  This is really for anyone on the 

11           panel.  You know, I empathize with the 

12           request that you have made regarding the lack 

13           of resources that you have to do your job.  

14           We've introduced a bill that has to deal with 

15           the Victim Compensation Fund and fair access 

16           to it.  We know that many individuals who are 

17           unfortunately victims of crimes do not take 

18           advantage of the resources that are available 

19           to them because of the current structure and 

20           the requirements that they either interface 

21           with law enforcement or the short window in 

22           which they can apply after the crime, the 

23           reporting requirements, et cetera.  

24                  And I'm wondering if you can talk 


                                                                   613

 1           about whether you are supportive of this 

 2           effort or you can speak to the challenges 

 3           that victims face in getting the resources 

 4           that they need.             

 5                  MS. GERHARDT:  I would be happy to 

 6           step in on that, Senator.  

 7                  Yes, we're very supportive of the 

 8           bill.  We think the more resources that can 

 9           go to all victims in New York State, the 

10           better.  They just don't have enough 

11           resources.  

12                  And I think, you know, the very 

13           compensation reimbursements that you're 

14           talking about are the same VOCA grants that I 

15           was talking about in my testimony.  The VOCA 

16           that comes into New York State is really 

17           split into two buckets of money:  Assistance 

18           grants that go out to service providers, and 

19           compensation that goes out directly to 

20           victims.  So I think, hand in hand, both of 

21           these buckets are so critical to New York 

22           State, and the compensation is working very 

23           well.  I think people are getting their 

24           resources.  


                                                                   614

 1                  I think there's another proposal that 

 2           the Governor has to bump some of the 

 3           compensation reimbursement for private 

 4           property, with which we also agree.  So I 

 5           think the more that we can get compensation 

 6           reimbursement to victims of all types, that's 

 7           great.  

 8                  But I think right now our focus has to 

 9           be on the grants to victim service providers, 

10           because we're talking about significant cuts 

11           to the very organizations that help those 

12           victims.  Whether it's legal services, mental 

13           health, medical, domestic violence advocacy, 

14           it runs the gamut for all types of victims, 

15           and it's something the state really needs to 

16           address urgently.  

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Assemblymembers?            

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we do 

19           have -- we have Assemblyman Ra first, and 

20           then Assemblyman Walczyk, and then 

21           Assemblyman Epstein.  Three minutes each for 

22           these members.             

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.  

24                  I just had a question for Ms. Gerhardt 


                                                                   615

 1           regarding this training requirement proposal.  

 2           I'm just wondering, you know, if you know 

 3           of -- relative to something similar in other 

 4           states, or whether there's any type of 

 5           standard that may be something that should be 

 6           advocated for as an alternative to this.  

 7                  MS. GERHARDT:  That's a great 

 8           question, Assemblymember.  

 9                  There are many states that have 

10           training and certification programs for 

11           advocates.  We in New York State already have 

12           requirements in our regulations for domestic 

13           violence advocates, but all of those states 

14           rely on the coalitions or other domestic 

15           violence service providers for that training.  

16                  And the reasoning is New York State is 

17           the only state in the country that I'm aware 

18           of that has a state-level agency focused on 

19           domestic violence, which we really 

20           appreciate.  

21                  But what we don't want to see is, you 

22           know, with so much need out there with 

23           respect to survivors, and so much support 

24           that domestic violence service providers 


                                                                   616

 1           need, we really don't need to be duplicating 

 2           efforts.  

 3                  And NYSCADV, as the state coalition, 

 4           does a tremendous amount of training and TA, 

 5           as coalitions do across the country, and as 

 6           we are federally designated to do.  So we'd 

 7           rather see the state-level agency do a bunch 

 8           of other things that are frankly already in 

 9           their enabling statute -- updating policies 

10           for other state agencies and counties, 

11           employee awareness programs, training for 

12           court personnel and judges, which the 

13           Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Forensic 

14           Evaluators just called for.  

15                  So there is a critical need for a lot 

16           of support.  We just don't think it's wise to 

17           have the state agency focus on training when 

18           it's already happening throughout other 

19           entities in New York State.             

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  Thank you.             

21                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

22                  We go to Assemblyman Walczyk.  

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, my first 

24           question -- thank you, Madam Chair -- my 


                                                                   617

 1           first question is for Joan as well.  

 2                  I was just looking at some crime 

 3           statistics statewide, some of the reports 

 4           from our cities showing over the last few 

 5           years what direction -- and we know, we've 

 6           seen large reports about crime waves, but 

 7           something that really stuck out to me was, 

 8           well, homicides are going up, shooting 

 9           victims, burglaries, grand theft auto has 

10           doubled -- all of these things.  

11                  You have seen a decline in reports of 

12           rape across New York State.  How do you 

13           square that?  What's -- what do you think is 

14           responsible for that?  And what should we be 

15           concerned about right now?            

16                  MS. GERHARDT:  I'm not really familiar 

17           with the decline in reports of rape.  That 

18           might be a question better posed to my sister 

19           coalition, the New York State Coalition 

20           Against Sexual Assault.  

21                  What I can tell you is throughout the 

22           pandemic, certainly, demand for domestic 

23           violence services increased.  Because I think 

24           we have seen a lot of increases in reports of 


                                                                   618

 1           violence in domestic settings, and that of 

 2           course has to do with a lot of people working 

 3           from home, not having the escape of working 

 4           outside of the house or the potential to meet 

 5           with advocates outside of the home.  

 6                  So, you know, in the early days of the 

 7           pandemic, with respect to domestic violence, 

 8           we were actually referring to it as the 

 9           pandemic within the pandemic because we saw 

10           such increases in the number of police 

11           reports, calls to hotlines -- really 

12           throughout the entire state.  

13                  So I can't quite square the data point 

14           you're suggesting about the decrease in rape, 

15           but I offer you the crime statistic increase 

16           in domestic violence.             

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, neither 

18           can I.  I appreciate that perspective.  

19                  Is Mr. Doggart still with us?

20                  MR. DOGGART:  Yes, I am.  Yes, I am.  

21           Hi.  

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I was just 

23           wondering -- right at the top of your report, 

24           Dr. Steven Baskerville said, "The family 


                                                                   619

 1           courts are operating a kidnapping and 

 2           extortion racket."  What are you talking 

 3           about, good sir?  

 4                  I'll yield the rest of my time.  

 5                  MR. DOGGART:  Oh.  Well, the family 

 6           court had become a racket in which there is a 

 7           huge amount of money going on, and the 

 8           victims of this are the kids.  

 9                  Let me give you one example of 

10           what's the -- part of the racket, which is 

11           where the Legislature is in fact a 

12           beneficiary of it.  Your General Fund accepts 

13           millions of dollars a year in federal funds 

14           provided under the Title IV-D program of the 

15           Social Security Act.  And this provides 

16           matching funds from all child support orders 

17           made by family judges -- family court judges.  

18                  Now, that in turn incentivizes those 

19           judges to always allocate a winner and a 

20           loser, with that loser almost always being 

21           the monied parent.  This scheme tears 

22           families apart.  And it's a racket because 

23           the Democrat -- or the judges, often 

24           Democrats, are helping their Democrat 


                                                                   620

 1           colleagues to earn huge amounts of money 

 2           through the Title IV-D money -- program.  

 3                  So one of the -- and the consequences 

 4           of that, as we've heard -- and if you don't 

 5           pay the child support because of these 

 6           orders -- and I have seen orders which are 

 7           300 percent of someone's salary -- these 

 8           people go to jail.  And many of them then 

 9           commit suicide.  It's a terrible cycle.  But 

10           it's all there because of the money.  

11                  So that's why we call on the 

12           Legislature to voluntarily withdraw from the 

13           toxic Title IV-D program.  There are many 

14           other ways that this corruption is going on, 

15           and it's a racket, and Dr. Baskerville is 

16           correct in saying that --

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

18           Your time is up.             

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Time is up. 

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I see that 

21           there is a Senator?

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator -- 

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, I see that 


                                                                   621

 1           Senator Bailey has joined us.  Thank you.

 2                  Senator Bailey.

 3                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, 

 4           Madam Chair.  

 5                  I just wanted to express my 

 6           appreciation for the Legal Services of the 

 7           Hudson Valley, being a representative of 

 8           Westchester County.  

 9                  Thank you for the work that you do, 

10           not just in your testimony but in ensuring 

11           that we continue to provide excellent legal 

12           services, specifically in the area of the 

13           City of Mount Vernon, around the housing that 

14           you do.  It does not go unnoticed.  

15                  And Anthony, thank you for your 

16           courage and for being willing to tell your 

17           story today.  It is very difficult to do that 

18           in such public forum, and I just wanted to 

19           say thank you for your bravery in doing so.  

20           It takes a lot to do that.  

21                  And look, I just wanted to, I guess, 

22           make a long statement in that I appreciate, 

23           you know, you all taking your time for this 

24           testimony.  


                                                                   622

 1                  But mostly, Rachel, I just want to say 

 2           thank you.  Especially in Mount Vernon, in 

 3           the four square miles of Mount Vernon 

 4           obviously we've had some concerns with the 

 5           housing issues.  And I just wanted to thank 

 6           Legal Services of the Hudson Valley for 

 7           really stepping up, and I figured this would 

 8           be the optimal time.  

 9                  Madam Chair, I yield the rest of my 

10           time.             

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

12           much.

13                  MS. HALPERIN:  Thank you, 

14           Senator Bailey.             

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think we have 

16           Assemblymember Epstein.             

17                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Epstein, yes.  

18           Mr. Epstein, who's the final Assemblymember.  

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

20           Chairs.  

21                  Yes.  I also -- Anthony, thank you for 

22           your testimony.  I deeply appreciate it.  

23                  And Rachel, I just -- kind of on the 

24           civil legal services front, I'm just trying 


                                                                   623

 1           to figure out where the holes are, you know.  

 2           Because I know, you know, we've seen a lot 

 3           more money for housing representation and -- 

 4           on the ground and in your offices across the 

 5           state.  And, you know, obviously you talk to 

 6           other legal service partners.  

 7                  Where do you see the biggest need, and 

 8           where do you see us not really having really 

 9           stepped up to kind of meet those needs?            

10                  MS. HALPERIN:  Thank you.  That's a 

11           great question.  

12                  I mean, I think overall we have been 

13           very happy, the civil legal services 

14           community, with the Governor's budget.  The 

15           additional funds for tenant defense were 

16           obviously much needed, she put money in there 

17           for our foreclosure -- our HOPP program -- as 

18           well as our Disability Advocacy Program, 

19           which is why we were just very surprised that 

20           with -- we know there is a focus and that 

21           people understand the value civil legal 

22           services brings to communities and the 

23           importance of the work that we do -- that 

24           this statewide network that was just built in 


                                                                   624

 1           2018 of legal services attorneys supporting 

 2           crime victims would be dismantled, you know, 

 3           a couple of years after it was built.  

 4                  And this is really essential work that 

 5           we all do across the state.  Victims of 

 6           consumer fraud, of identity theft, victims of 

 7           domestic violence, sexual assault, elder 

 8           abuse, bankruptcy -- this is really, soup to 

 9           nuts, supporting crime victims in our state.  

10           And so we are very concerned that this 

11           funding was just abruptly terminated with no 

12           plans to keep providers whole and enable us 

13           to keep services going.  

14                  Just additionally -- this is a bit off 

15           topic, but since you asked, the LSAF funds, 

16           which are always very needed, we are asking 

17           this year, the Legal Services Coalition, for 

18           funding to be added to the LSAF for civil 

19           legal services.  So rather than money being 

20           transferred from that to general revenue, 

21           it's to keep it in LSAF to support civil 

22           legal services.  It's $9.2 million, is the 

23           coalition's ask in that.  

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  And how would 


                                                                   625

 1           that be distributed around the state?  Do you 

 2           guys have a formula?  

 3                  Because I know the LSAF funding 

 4           doesn't fund all the providers around the 

 5           state.             

 6                  MS. HALPERIN:  Right.  So we would be 

 7           asking for that new money to then be RFP'd.  

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.             

 9                  MS. HALPERIN:  Thank you.  

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                  Just one more question from myself to 

12           Joan Gerhardt.  

13                  You were talking about a loss of some 

14           federal money that you're confident you're 

15           going to get back next year, so you're asking 

16           us to keep you whole in the absence of some 

17           federal dollars that will come back.  

18                  Can you just clarify what that story 

19           is?            

20                  MS. GERHARDT:  Sure.  We're talking 

21           about the Victims of Crime Act funding at the 

22           federal level, and those grants, that VOCA 

23           grant bucket, is funded out of the Crime 

24           Victims Fund, again at the federal level.  


                                                                   626

 1                  And that big, huge pot of money that 

 2           fuelled grants to all the states has been 

 3           depleted really since 2018.  So in New York 

 4           State, our grant now is $140 million less 

 5           than it was in 2018.  

 6                  Congress took steps to fix the Crime 

 7           Victims Fund to essentially divert more money 

 8           from general resources into the Crime Victims 

 9           Fund, and the forecast is that the Crime 

10           Victims Fund will replenish itself in two to 

11           three years to a level enough to return the 

12           state grants to levels that we saw back in 

13           our 2018-2019 timeframe.  

14                  But for now most states are trying to, 

15           you know, take care of that shortfall for the 

16           short-term period of two years.  And they're 

17           doing it by either using state general 

18           revenues or using pandemic relief.  So we 

19           know states like California, Washington 

20           State, Iowa, Alaska, Maryland have all taken 

21           precautionary steps to ensure that the victim 

22           service providers remained whole as this fund 

23           at the federal level replenishes.  That's 

24           what we're asking New York State to do in 


                                                                   627

 1           this budget.  And likely next year's as 

 2           well --

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.

 4                  MS. GERHARDT:  -- until we know that 

 5           that grant comes back up.  

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you for the 

 7           clarification of that.  

 8                  I want to thank everyone for joining 

 9           us tonight -- yes?  Sorry, Helene.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator, we 

11           have Assemblyman Burdick who has a quick 

12           question.  

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh.  Sorry, 

14           Chris.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  He snuck in 

16           there.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  That's right, 

18           and I apologize because I was over on  

19           another meeting.  

20                  So -- and first of all, I want to 

21           thank you folks for doing the tremendous work 

22           that you do.  

23                  And Rachel, it's so good to see you 

24           and to represent you in the Assembly.  We 


                                                                   628

 1           have met, and you just -- you're doing an 

 2           awesome job with the services that you 

 3           provide.  

 4                  And I'm wondering if you could explain 

 5           a little bit more -- that 200 million that's 

 6           obviously -- that you're looking for, it's 

 7           obviously statewide.  And can you tell me 

 8           what the needs are?  They would be 

 9           distributed, as we were discussing a minute 

10           ago, throughout the state.  

11                  And can you give me an idea of what 

12           your agency is needing out of that 280?            

13                  MS. HALPERIN:  Well, I can tell you in 

14           Westchester, for example, all of the agencies 

15           in Westchester receive about $8 million a 

16           year.  And so that would be legal services, 

17           that would be domestic violence providers, My 

18           Sister's Place, Hope's Door, WestCOP, the 

19           Office for Women.  So I know for Westchester 

20           it's a total of $8 million.  

21                  I think Joan can talk a little more 

22           precisely about the numbers.  

23                  Part of our issue is we really need 

24           information from OVS as to how much money 


                                                                   629

 1           they currently contract and what their 

 2           deficit is going to be.  And it's that 

 3           number, it's that difference of what programs 

 4           are currently funded at and what the cuts 

 5           they're anticipating for next year are -- 

 6           it's that number that would close the funding 

 7           gap so that programs can remain whole and 

 8           continue providing the services they're 

 9           providing.  

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Okay.  I think 

11           I'm trying to get -- what I think that we 

12           should do is to try to discuss this offline 

13           so that I have a better idea of what the 

14           needs are.  

15                  And I think you do -- you know, 

16           obviously 280 million is a fairly big number.  

17           And I think Helene would tell you that too.  

18           And so we have to get an idea of how we're 

19           going to approach this.  But I certainly am 

20           very sympathetic to wanting to see this 

21           funded somehow.  

22                  You know, one concern that we in the 

23           Legislature have is that, you know, where we 

24           normally get funds from the federal 


                                                                   630

 1           government, and we start funding it through 

 2           state funds -- then guess what -- we no 

 3           longer get funds from the federal government.  

 4                  And so, you know, it's a little bit of 

 5           a balancing act to make sure that we can 

 6           continue to get the funding that we need from 

 7           the federal government.  

 8                  But let's -- if we could, I would 

 9           really like to talk to you offline about it.             

10                  MS. HALPERIN:  Thank you.             

11                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you.             

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So I'm going to 

13           thank the panelists, and we're going to move 

14           on to Panel C.  

15                  And I will read off the groups and 

16           names first.  Prisoners' Legal Services for 

17           New York, Karen Murtagh, executive director; 

18           Releasing Aging People in Prison Campaign, 

19           Theresa Grady, community leader; Center for 

20           Community Alternatives, Sirena Sharpe, 

21           community leader; and JPMorgan Chase 

22           PolicyCenter, Nan Gibson, executive director.  

23           Not familiar with that.  

24                  Anyway, welcome, everyone.  You know 


                                                                   631

 1           the rules.  Three minutes, and we will go 

 2           down the list starting with Karen Murtagh, 

 3           Prisoners' Legal Services.             

 4                  MS. MURTAGH:  Thank you.  

 5                  Good evening, Madam Chairs Krueger and 

 6           Weinstein and esteemed members of the 

 7           Legislature.  It's so nice to see you all.  

 8           Thank you for inviting PLS to testify before 

 9           you today.  

10                  As you know, PLS was founded in 1976 

11           in response to the uprising.  This past fall 

12           we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 

13           uprising.  PLS provides legal representation 

14           and assistance to incarcerated New Yorkers to 

15           protect their civil and human rights and help 

16           them prepare for reintegration into society 

17           upon release.  

18                  PLS currently has six offices 

19           statewide located in Albany, the Bronx, 

20           Buffalo, Ithaca, Newburgh, and Plattsburgh.  

21           Our work focuses on addressing conditions of 

22           confinement in New York State prisons, 

23           including medical and mental healthcare, jail 

24           time and sentence calculations, illegal 


                                                                   632

 1           disciplinary hearings involving solitary 

 2           confinement and loss of good time, visitation 

 3           rights of parents with their children, 

 4           educational and vocational training for 

 5           people with disabilities, and preparing 

 6           people who are maxing out of prison for 

 7           successful reintegration into their 

 8           communities through our Pre-Release and 

 9           Re-Entry Program -- we call it our PREP 

10           program.  

11                  For fiscal year 2022-'23, Governor 

12           Hochul has maintained PLS' prior executive 

13           funding by including PLS in her Executive 

14           Budget for $2.2 million.  We are requesting 

15           both houses of the Legislature to jointly add 

16           an addition 2.4 million, 1.2 from the 

17           Assembly and 1.2 from the Senate, resulting 

18           in total funding for PLS of 4.6 million.  

19                  This funding will allow PLS to 

20           adequately staff our six offices across the 

21           state, continue providing critical legal 

22           services to incarcerated people in state 

23           prisons, and help address a significant 

24           portion of the unmet needs.  And it will 


                                                                   633

 1           expand PLS's Pre-Release and Re-Entry Program 

 2           beyond the Bronx and Manhattan.  

 3                  In my testimony I share in detail a 

 4           number of the court decisions and settlements 

 5           that we have entered into with DOCCS over 

 6           this past year that demonstrates how PLS 

 7           holds DOCCS accountable and ensures that the 

 8           incarcerated population is treated justly and 

 9           fairly.  I also attached a very lengthy 

10           appendix that summarizes PLS's advocacy 

11           efforts over this past year on behalf of 

12           hundreds of incarcerated people.  

13                  This advocacy and our litigation 

14           highlights the need for PLS to be present -- 

15           because if left unchecked, our prisons could 

16           quickly return to pre-Attica conditions.  A 

17           prime example of this is the recent release 

18           of the New York State Inspector General's 

19           investigation and findings where it found 

20           that DOCCS's drug testing program needed to 

21           be completely overhauled.  

22                  In her report, Inspector General Lang 

23           lays out PLS's role in bringing the 

24           false-positive issue to the attention of 


                                                                   634

 1           DOCCS, a role that was critical in DOCCS's 

 2           final decision to suspend the buprenorphine 

 3           testing, reverse all of the sanctions that 

 4           had been given over the past year for 

 5           positive drug tests, and alert the Inspector 

 6           General's office.  

 7                  I have said in the past, you know, PLS 

 8           saves the state money in thousands of 

 9           disciplinary hearings that we are -- that are 

10           reversed over the years and seriously 

11           restoring thousands of years of jail time and 

12           sentencing time to people's sentences.  But 

13           more important than that, than the monetary 

14           savings, is what PLS does for public and 

15           prison safety.             

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

17           Karen, I have to cut you off; you have been 

18           past your time for a little while.  

19                  MS. MURTAGH:  Okay.  Thank you, 

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  But thank you.  

21           We will look at the testimony.  

22                  Next is Release Aging People in Prison 

23           Campaign, Theresa Grady.  

24                  MS. GRADY:  Thank you, Chairperson.


                                                                   635

 1                  My name is Theresa Grady, and I am a 

 2           community leader for the Release Aging People 

 3           in Prison Campaign.  I'm speaking today on 

 4           behalf of myself and three of my fellow RAPP 

 5           community leaders:  Nawanna Tucker, Lisette 

 6           Nieves, and Jeannie Colon.  

 7                  The crisis of mass incarceration is at 

 8           a boiling point, with people dying in 

 9           New York state prisons once every three days, 

10           on average.  Academics have called long 

11           sentences and perpetual parole denials 

12           New York's new death penalty.  

13                  The path forward is clear.  Give 

14           incarcerated people who have rehabilitated 

15           themselves a pathway to return home.  

16                  As of -- all of us -- me, Nawanna, 

17           Lisette, and Jeannie have a loved one in a 

18           New York State prison.  My husband is 67 

19           years old, 17 years into his 40-year 

20           sentence, and suffering from severe chronic 

21           illness.  These men have grown into mature 

22           adults who bear no resemblance to the people 

23           who entered prison so long ago.  

24                  But under existing laws, the prison 


                                                                   636

 1           system doesn't care about that.  Even when 

 2           they do become eligible for parole, research 

 3           shows the Parole Board will likely ignore 

 4           their rehabilitation and deny their release 

 5           based solely on one thing that can never 

 6           change:  their original conviction.  

 7                  Worse, data shows they are even more 

 8           likely to get denied because they are all 

 9           Black or brown.  Every day we live in fear 

10           that our loved once will become, to the 

11           state, another death statistic.  The average 

12           age of death in state prisons is only 58.  

13                  Governor Hochul included valuable 

14           policies and programs to serve currently 

15           formerly incarcerated people in her Executive 

16           Budget, but there is a glaring omission.  The 

17           proposal falls into two categories of prison 

18           programs and reentry supports.  What's 

19           missing is a bridge between them -- 

20           meaningful opportunities for those who have 

21           transformed to actually get released.  

22                  If the prison system remains addicted 

23           to endless punishment, much of the potential 

24           of Governor Hochul's reforms will perish 


                                                                   637

 1           behind bars.  

 2                  Parole reform will give 

 3           community-driven and transformed people a 

 4           chance at freedom on a case-by-case basis, 

 5           and an opportunity to serve as mentors, 

 6           nonprofit leaders, and drug counselors for 

 7           young people in their home communities.  

 8                  One report found a violence 

 9           interrupter program led by formerly 

10           incarcerated people led to 20 percent less 

11           gun violence.  

12                  A Columbia University report found 

13           passage of elder parole, and fair and timely 

14           parole, would save $522 million annually -- 

15           money that could be invested in mentor 

16           programs, services for crime survivors, 

17           quality mental health care, education, and 

18           more.  Together these bills would expand 

19           eligibility for case-by-case parole 

20           consideration and make the process more fair.  

21           And they may save our loved ones' lives.  

22                  The bills are also backed by some of 

23           the largest victim and survivor advocacy 

24           groups in the state, including the Crime 


                                                                   638

 1           Victims Treatment Center and the New York 

 2           State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, who 

 3           prioritize rehabilitation over endless 

 4           punishment. 

 5                  It is time for lawmakers to act to 

 6           give our loved ones and countless others who 

 7           have transformed their lives a pathway to 

 8           return home.  

 9                  Thank you.             

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

11           much.  Perfect timing also.  Thank you.  

12                  (Laughter.)

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Our next 

14           testifier is Sirena Sharpe, Center for 

15           Community Alternatives.  

16                  Good evening.             

17                  MS. SHARPE:  Hi.  Good evening.  

18                  My name is Sirena Sharpe, a leader 

19           with the Center for Community Alternatives 

20           and a resident of Syracuse.  I'm testifying 

21           in support of including the Clean Slate Act 

22           in the Senate and Assembly one-house budgets.  

23                  I am one of more than 2 million 

24           New Yorkers who have experienced perpetual 


                                                                   639

 1           punishment because of a conviction record, 

 2           even though I finished serving my time over a 

 3           decade ago.  

 4                  When I was 16, I became homeless and 

 5           struggled with drug use.  A year later I was 

 6           convicted of a drug charge and spent a year 

 7           and a half incarcerated.  I was released at 

 8           the age of 19 and was eager rebuild my life.  

 9                  I applied for dozens of jobs but was 

10           turned down repeatedly.  More than 70 

11           employers rejected me because of my record.  

12           Finally I got a job as a cashier.  I thought 

13           I could finally move forward with my life, so 

14           I put all my energy into applying for 

15           college.  But again, my conviction history 

16           came up and the college didn't want to admit 

17           me.  

18                  New York should not be systematically 

19           blocking college access to the people who 

20           need it most.  A Brennan Center report 

21           estimates that people with conviction 

22           histories collectively lose hundreds of 

23           billions of dollars in earnings every year.  

24           This is particularly urgent in low-income 


                                                                   640

 1           communities and communities of color, which 

 2           have borne the brunt of mass incarceration 

 3           and which are disproportionately affected by 

 4           old conviction records.  

 5                  And what about women across our state 

 6           who are trying to overcome these barriers to 

 7           build stable lives for our families and 

 8           ourselves?  As a survivor of domestic 

 9           violence with a conviction history, I 

10           struggled to leave an abusive relationship 

11           because landlords hesitated to rent to me due 

12           to my record.  

13                  The mechanics of the bill are simple.  

14           Once someone like me has completed their 

15           sentence, is off of probation and parole, and 

16           after a three- or seven-year waiting period, 

17           our records would be automatically sealed.  

18           Those who have new convictions or pending 

19           charges would not be eligible.  

20                  For me and so many others, a clean 

21           slate is a real chance at redemption.  Those 

22           of us who have served our time want the same 

23           thing everyone else does:  A stable job, a 

24           roof over our heads, and the ability to 


                                                                   641

 1           provide for our loved ones.  

 2                  The Governor's inclusion of 

 3           Clean Slate in the 2023 budget is a testament 

 4           to the advocacy of directly impacted 

 5           individuals and the broad coalition of 

 6           supporters who have fought tirelessly for 

 7           this vital relief.  We appreciate Governor 

 8           Hochul's support for the key principles that 

 9           underpin Clean Slate, but the proposed 

10           language in her Executive Budget includes 

11           changes that significantly weaken the 

12           existing bill, including dramatically 

13           delaying when an individual becomes eligible 

14           for sealing and thereby limiting the 

15           legislation's effectiveness.  

16                  We ask you to include in your 

17           one-house budgets the full Clean Slate bill 

18           as is.  Clean Slate is a jobs bill, a housing 

19           bill, and an anti-poverty bill.  

20           Automatically sealing past conviction records 

21           is also a matter of simple fairness.  We urge 

22           you to include the Clean Slate Act in the 

23           budget without weakening amendments and bring 

24           real relief to all New Yorkers.  


                                                                   642

 1                  Thank you.             

 2                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 3           much.             

 4                  And our last of the panel, Nan Gibson.             

 5                  MS. GIBSON:  Thank you, 

 6           Senator Krueger, Assemblymember Weinstein, 

 7           and committee members.  

 8                  My name is Nan Gibson, and I'm 

 9           executive director of the JPMorgan Chase 

10           PolicyCenter.  

11                  JPMorgan Chase is probably one of the 

12           largest employers and contributors to the 

13           economy of the State of New York.  We 

14           appreciate the opportunity to provide 

15           testimony in support of the Clean Slate Act, 

16           which would implement automatic record 

17           expungement in New York State.  

18                  One in three Americans has an arrest 

19           or conviction record that can significantly 

20           impact their ability to get a job, housing, 

21           or an education.  The petition-based 

22           expungement system is costly, complicated, 

23           and time-consuming.  

24                  In New York State, it's estimated that 


                                                                   643

 1           more than 600,000 people are today eligible 

 2           to have their records cleared, but very few 

 3           pursue the complex process.  This means that 

 4           even after fulfilling their justice system 

 5           obligations, people with criminal records 

 6           often continue to be blocked from fully 

 7           participating in the economy.  

 8                  The drag on the earnings potential of 

 9           tens of millions of Americans are costs not 

10           only borne by individuals, their families, 

11           and their communities, but they also have 

12           larger economic consequences for business and 

13           society.  

14                  This issue also disproportionately 

15           affects people of color.  Three-quarters of 

16           New York State's formerly incarcerated 

17           population is either Black or Latinx.  Clean 

18           Slate legislation can help change this.  

19                  As we continue to recover from the 

20           pandemic, businesses are adapting to economic 

21           conditions and resuming their search for 

22           skilled workers.  By reducing barriers to 

23           employment for those with criminal records, 

24           we will be able get more people back to work 


                                                                   644

 1           more quickly.  

 2                  JPMorgan Chase is committed to giving 

 3           people across the country a second chance.  

 4           In 2020, JPMorgan Chase hired more than 

 5           2100 people with criminal backgrounds -- 

 6           about 10 percent of our new hires in the 

 7           U.S. -- whose history had no bearing on the 

 8           requirements of the job they were seeking.  

 9           And with a workforce of more than 30,000 in 

10           New York State, the firm is always in need of 

11           local talent to fill open positions.  

12                  Last year, JPMorgan Chase helped 

13           launch the Second Chance Business Coalition, 

14           co-chaired by our chairman and CEO, Jamie 

15           Dimon.  The coalition has grown to more than 

16           40 large companies, many based in New York, 

17           with the goal of expanding hiring and 

18           advancement practices for people with 

19           criminal records within these companies and 

20           beyond.  

21                  If implemented, Clean Slate 

22           legislation will help bolster the state's 

23           economy by more fully tapping the talents of 

24           thousands of people who are currently 


                                                                   645

 1           unemployed or underemployed because of their 

 2           criminal records.  When someone cannot get 

 3           their foot in the door to compete for a job, 

 4           it hurts businesses and communities by 

 5           limiting access to opportunity.  

 6                  The benefits of automatic record 

 7           expungement are clear.  We urge the New York 

 8           State Legislature and Governor Hochul to 

 9           enact Clean Slate legislation.  

10                  Thank you very much for your 

11           consideration.             

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

13           much, all four of you.  

14                  And I'm going to call up 

15           Senator Zellnor Myrie first.

16                  SENATOR MYRIE:  Thank you, 

17           Madam Chair.  

18                  And again, thank you to the panelists 

19           for your incredible patience and endurance.  

20           I'm not sure you anticipated having to 

21           testify so late in the day, so I just want to 

22           offer my thanks.  

23                  Thank you for sharing your stories as 

24           well.  Ms. Gibson, it is good to see you.  


                                                                   646

 1           I'm hoping that you can convey to any 

 2           reticent business owner or businesses 

 3           throughout the state who say that this is not 

 4           a population that I can tap into -- if you 

 5           can just -- and you already alluded to some 

 6           of this in your testimony, but just sort of 

 7           talk to the economic benefits and to the 

 8           businesses across the state -- being that 

 9           JP Morgan is one of the largest, as you have 

10           already communicated.             

11                  MS. GIBSON:  Sure.  And thanks for the 

12           question, and thanks for your leadership on 

13           this legislation.  

14                  Well, so as I said in the testimony, 

15           JPMorgan Chase is committed to giving people 

16           with criminal backgrounds an opportunity to 

17           succeed and be part of our inclusive 

18           workforce strategy.  

19                  We have gone and created community 

20           hiring models where we work with nonprofit 

21           partners in the communities, and legal 

22           services partners, to help get more people 

23           through what is a very complex process, the 

24           hiring process, in and of itself.  


                                                                   647

 1                  And given the regulatory framework 

 2           that we operate in -- regulations through the 

 3           FDIC that have to be met -- we have worked 

 4           diligently to find a way to expand the number 

 5           of people who we can bring on board who have 

 6           a criminal background, as I said, but that 

 7           criminal background has no bearing on the job 

 8           that they're going to be performing.  

 9                  So we have -- I think as evidence of 

10           the success of the work that we've been 

11           doing, our business leaders in markets across 

12           the country are interested in having this 

13           community hiring model in their markets, 

14           because it's a very committed workforce.  We 

15           see very low turnover in the folks who we're 

16           bringing on and, you know -- and we see 

17           dedicated workers.  

18                  So I hope that answers your question.             

19                  SENATOR MYRIE:  It does.  Thank you, 

20           Ms. Gibson.  

21                  And again, thank you to rest of the 

22           panel for your time and your patience and for 

23           being vulnerable.  

24                  Thank you.             


                                                                   648

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 2                  And Assemblywoman Weinstein?            

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Right.  We have 

 4           several Assemblymembers.  Let's start with 

 5           Assemblyman Lawler.             

 6                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you, 

 7           Chairwoman.

 8                  I guess my question is probably 

 9           directed more towards Theresa, but certainly 

10           I would be interested in everybody else's 

11           opinions if they wish to opine.  

12                  It is really more of a -- just a -- 

13           one question, straightforward.  You know, I 

14           know there is a push for elder parole.  I'm 

15           just curious, is there any offense or crime 

16           that you believe would not warrant release 

17           for somebody who's over the age of 55?            

18                  (Phone interruption.)  

19                  MS. GRADY:  Excuse me.  I've got to 

20           get this -- one second.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  No problem.

22                  MS. GRADY:  I'm sorry, Senator (sic).             

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  That's okay.  

24                  MS. GRADY:  No.  No.  My belief is 


                                                                   649

 1           that everybody is due a chance at redemption.  

 2           I mean, you know, it could be a police 

 3           officer, it could be a doctor or nurse.  

 4                  These people 55 and older, the 

 5           recividism rate for them is like 1 percent, 

 6           if that.

 7                  So I just believe that everybody is 

 8           due that respect.  You know, most of them are 

 9           aged out.  Ailed out.  The recidivism for 

10           them is so low that no, I don't believe that, 

11           you know, there should be a limit to it.  

12                  And, you know, elder people today in 

13           prison age by two years on a daily basis.  

14           For instance, I'll say to you my husband, who 

15           is 67, who's ailing -- very much so -- when I 

16           see my husband today, he's shaking and 

17           trembling from what's ailing him.  So he 

18           looks more to me like 72 years old instead of 

19           67.  

20                  So what I'm trying to say is that no, 

21           I don't believe there's a limit.  Can you 

22           understand that for me?            

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  I do.  And I 

24           appreciate your sincerity in that, I do.             


                                                                   650

 1                  MS. GRADY:  Okay.  

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Okay.

 3                  Karen or Sirena, if either of you 

 4           wanted to respond to that, you're welcome to.  

 5           If not, that's fine.             

 6                  Okay.  Thank you.             

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.             

 8                  MS. SHARPE:  Oh, I'm sorry.  I was 

 9           going to answer.  I was trying to find the --

10                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  So sorry.  Go 

11           ahead.

12                  MS. SHARPE:  For the Clean Slate bill, 

13           I know one of the things that makes -- you 

14           don't qualify if you have a sex crime.  So 

15           that's all I wanted to add, if that answers 

16           your question.             

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Okay.  No, I 

18           appreciate that.  

19                  Okay.  Thank you very much.             

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

21           Senate, then.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And I 

23           believe we have Senator Hoylman.  

24                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Good evening.  


                                                                   651

 1                  And let me echo my colleagues in our 

 2           gratitude for you staying so late and your 

 3           heartfelt and insightful testimony.  

 4                  I wanted to ask Karen from Prisoners' 

 5           Legal Services of New York just to get down 

 6           to brass tacks in terms of your funding and 

 7           the gap that you are likely to experience in 

 8           the coming year.  What does it looks like? 

 9                  And what do we need to do to make 

10           certain that your services are as widespread 

11           as possible throughout the state?            

12                  MS. MURTAGH:  Well, you know, we 

13           really are very appreciative of 

14           Governor Hochul's including us in her first 

15           Executive Budget, but the problem is it was 

16           for 2.2 million -- which is the same amount 

17           that we have received from the Executive for 

18           the past six years.  

19                  And in the past the Legislature has 

20           always come through for us and has added to 

21           that amount.  But we're always behind the 

22           eight ball.  

23                  We have never been funded at the level 

24           that we need to be funded to provide the 


                                                                   652

 1           services that are required.  So we triage.  

 2           You know, we receive an average of 10,000 

 3           letters a year, and we can't take all of 

 4           those cases.  So we take the worst cases.  

 5                  So our proposal this year is to ask 

 6           for the Senate and the Assembly to both pitch 

 7           in an equal amount of 1.2 million, which 

 8           would get PLS to a final budget of 4.6.  

 9           Currently this year our budget is 3.55.  The 

10           4.6 would allow us to finally adequately 

11           staff our existing offices.  

12                  And we just recently opened a very 

13           tiny office in the Bronx.  We have one person 

14           working there, a social worker, who is 

15           setting up our entire Pre-Release and 

16           Re-Entry Project where we are working with 

17           people that are maxing out of prison.  

18                  So earlier we heard from 

19           Commissioner Annucci and a number of people 

20           about the different safety nets when people 

21           get out and parole is there.  That isn't -- 

22           that doesn't exist for people that max out of 

23           prison.  They're given $40 and a bus ticket 

24           and a pat on the back, "Hope you make it."  


                                                                   653

 1                  So our PREP program meets people in 

 2           prison for the year before they're released, 

 3           and then when they come home we work with 

 4           them for three years upon release to help 

 5           them reintegrate into the community.  But 

 6           right now we can only accept, you know, 20 or 

 7           30 clients.  

 8                  We have a small foundation funding to 

 9           do this, and if we could get the funding 

10           we're requesting, we could expand the whole 

11           PREP program to all five boroughs of New York 

12           City, which have the highest percentage of 

13           people maxing out of prison.             

14                  SENATOR HOYLMAN:  Thank you.  That was 

15           very clear, and I really appreciate it.  

16                  And a special hello to Ms. Grady from 

17           RAPP.  I look forward to working with you on 

18           the elder parole legislation in the coming 

19           weeks and months.  

20                  Thank you, Madam Chair.  

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

22                  And I think we're handing it back to 

23           the Assembly.  I think we're done with 

24           Senators.             


                                                                   654

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  We have 

 2           a number of Assemblymembers.  

 3                  We will start with Assemblyman Weprin.  

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

 5           Madam Chair.  

 6                  And thank you, panelists, for being -- 

 7           coming this late in the day.  And I know 

 8           you've experienced it in the past, even in 

 9           person.  So again, thank you for coming.  

10                  My first year as chair of Corrections 

11           was 2017.  And Karen Murtagh, you may 

12           remember that you were one of the first 

13           advocates to meet with me and explain how 

14           important the work that you have done -- that 

15           you do for those that really have no other 

16           alternative.  And I found out firsthand, and 

17           I've referred you a number of cases during my 

18           tenure.  And every dollar that you get is not 

19           enough.  I mean, you do so much, such 

20           God-sent work for people that really have no 

21           other alternative, and I have seen it 

22           firsthand.  

23                  And anything I can do in my power to 

24           make you whole -- and I know it's always a 


                                                                   655

 1           catch-up -- but a $4.6 million request, half 

 2           from the Assembly, half from the Senate, plus 

 3           the 2.2 from the Governor, seems very 

 4           reasonable, and I know you will put that to 

 5           good work.  

 6                  And again, I want to thank RAPP for 

 7           all of their advocacy, and I'm hoping that 

 8           this year is going to be the year that we can 

 9           get fair and timely parole done as well as 

10           elder parole.  And I'm hoping to put elder 

11           parole on an upcoming agenda very soon.  

12                  Thank you for coming.             

13                  MS. MURTAGH:  Thank you, Assemblyman.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

15           Burdick.

16                  I'm sorry.  I mean, Assemblyman -- 

17           Senator Bailey, have you -- 

18                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Yes.  I just -- 

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  He went.

20                  SENATOR BAILEY:  No, I didn't go yet, 

21           Liz.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, I'm sorry, 

23           Senator Bailey.  I didn't realize -- for this 

24           panel.  Excuse me.             


                                                                   656

 1                  SENATOR BAILEY:  No, no problem.  

 2           Sorry.  Just really, really briefly.  

 3                  Ms. Grady and Ms. Sharpe, thank you 

 4           for your stories.  Ms. Sharpe, especially 

 5           speaking about the issues that many 

 6           individuals who have the best of intentions 

 7           in terms of making sure they procure 

 8           employment and do everything that they, 

 9           quote, unquote, are supposed do, and then 

10           they are effectively disregarded by 

11           society -- and I thank you for, you know, 

12           continuing to, you know, to fight and show 

13           that.  

14                  You know, everybody's life is 

15           valuable.  And that the economic sustenance 

16           will be what eventually brings us to 

17           prosperity.  So that brings me to Ms. Gibson.  

18           I didn't forget you, Karen, I'll get to you 

19           in a second.  

20                  But Ms. Gibson, I would just ask you 

21           that -- I guess from your experience, from 

22           your personal experience implementing 

23           something like Clean Slate, how quickly would 

24           we as a state be able to reap the benefits of 


                                                                   657

 1           this expanded economic pool?            

 2                  MS. GIBSON:  Well, I would say that 

 3           depends on how quickly you can implement it, 

 4           right?  

 5                  But I think what we have seen in other 

 6           states is that by reducing the friction in 

 7           the labor market, it allows people to take 

 8           advantage of employment opportunities, you 

 9           know, housing opportunities, and education 

10           opportunities.  So it is, you know -- we have 

11           already seen in the work that we have done, 

12           you know, separately outside of the Clean 

13           Slate legislation, just in our work with the 

14           FDIC to encourage them to change some of the 

15           regulations around the types of, you know, 

16           crimes that someone might have in their past 

17           or record that they might have in their past, 

18           whether or not we would need to get a waiver 

19           to hire them -- and just with changes to FDIC 

20           regulations which all banks are able to take 

21           advantage of.

22                  You know, anecdotally, we have seen 

23           that even those types of small changes have 

24           made a meaningful difference in our ability 


                                                                   658

 1           to hire.  So, you know, when we have seen it 

 2           in a highly regulated environment, you could 

 3           imagine that the benefits, you know, will 

 4           also cascade in less-regulated settings.  

 5                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Again, I just imagine 

 6           that, you know, especially for a successful 

 7           organization like Chase to be able to see 

 8           that and to be able to see the benefits that 

 9           will be able to come from an economic 

10           perspective, I would imagine that, as Senator 

11           Myrie said, this would cascade, I think you 

12           mentioned, all the way up and down the state.  

13                  So I wanted to thank you, 

14           Senator Myrie and Assemblymember Cruz for 

15           their work on this piece of legislation.  

16                  And Karen, I just wanted to thank you 

17           for everything that you do with PLS in terms 

18           of being incredibly responsive and having 

19           conversations with the chair -- with Chair 

20           Hoylman in terms of, you know, that possible 

21           expansion.  That would be excellent.  

22                  You have been nothing but excellent in 

23           terms of some of the serious -- and to the 

24           minute things that some -- or 


                                                                   659

 1           apparently seemingly minute things that some 

 2           folks face in correction facilities.  And PLS 

 3           has always been there every step of the way.  

 4                  So I just wanted to show my 

 5           appreciation for you what do and again, as 

 6           many colleagues have said, thank you all for 

 7           your incredible patience and your testimony.  

 8                  MS. MURTAGH:  Thank you, Senator.

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  Now back 

10           to the Assembly.  Thank you.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

12           Burdick.

13                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Thank you, and I 

14           join my colleagues in thanking you all for 

15           your perseverence and patience with us.  

16                  And Ms. Sharpe, thank you for sharing 

17           with us your personal story and account.  

18                  And I follow very closely the work of 

19           RAPP, and in fact a member of RAPP is on my 

20           own internal advisory committee on the work 

21           that I do on the Correction Committee.  

22                  And I appreciate your mentioning your 

23           concerns about the iteration of Clean Slate 

24           that's in the Executive Budget.  And I have 


                                                                   660

 1           not had a chance to read the Article VII yet, 

 2           and I'm just wondering -- Ms. Gibson, I first 

 3           want to commend JPMorgan for endorsing 

 4           Clean Slate.  And last year JPMorgan endorsed 

 5           Clean Slate in the form that Ms. Sharpe had 

 6           described.  

 7                  And I'm wondering whether you have had 

 8           a chance to review the Article VII iteration 

 9           of it, and whether you're going to be urging 

10           the Legislature as well to take action on 

11           Clean Slate in its original form.             

12                  MS. GIBSON:  Well, thank you for the 

13           question.  

14                  And our -- as we understand it, there 

15           are efforts underway to -- discussions 

16           underway to try to come to some type of 

17           agreement about moving forward.  And we would 

18           just encourage the Legislature and the 

19           Governor to work together to, you know, move 

20           a meaningful Clean Slate piece of 

21           legislation.             

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN BURDICK:  Fair enough.  

23           Thank you.  I appreciate that.  

24                  And again, we really do appreciate 


                                                                   661

 1           your advocacy.  And keep up the good work 

 2           that you all are doing.  

 3                  MS. GIBSON:  Thank you.  Appreciate 

 4           it.             

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I -- let's see 

 6           if we -- we have two Assemblymembers, 

 7           Assemblywoman Kelles and then Assemblyman 

 8           Epstein.

 9                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Wonderful.  

10           Thank you so much.  

11                  I want to shout out to both Theresa 

12           Grady and Sirena Sharpe.  Thank you both for 

13           being here and the work that you do.  I very 

14           much enjoyed working with your organizations.  

15                  And I do -- I want to follow up.  

16           Theresa, really quickly, one thing that you 

17           said -- just to add my support.  I think 

18           there is lot of misrepresentation of the 

19           Elder Parole bill.  First of all, people are 

20           eligible only after serving 15 years and 

21           being beyond the age of 55.  

22                  And I have been hearing people talk 

23           about today that it would allow people who 

24           committed a crime later on in life to be 


                                                                   662

 1           eligible.  That's why the 15 years is there.  

 2           So that's a clarification.  

 3                  The second clarification is that it 

 4           gives them the opportunity to be eligible for 

 5           parole.  There is lot of manipulation of 

 6           this, that it is an instantaneous allowing 

 7           them out of prison if they're over 55 years 

 8           old.  That is a tremendous manipulation of 

 9           the actual details of the bill.  

10                  So, Theresa, you have been a wonderful 

11           person in educating on the details of that.  

12           I highly appreciate the distinction that this 

13           creates the opportunity to enter back into 

14           the community, to prove the rehabilitation 

15           and transformation.  So thank you for your 

16           work on that.             

17                  MS. GRADY:  Thank you.             

18                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Absolutely.  

19                  And Karen -- there you are, Karen.  

20           Thank you so much for your work.  

21                  There are two things that I wanted to 

22           just bring up.  One -- and it's good to see 

23           you again, I look forward to continuing to 

24           work with you -- with respect to staffing.  


                                                                   663

 1           From conversations that I have had with PLS, 

 2           the recommendation from the American Bar 

 3           Association is for one representative to 

 4           every 400.  

 5                  We have 31,000 in our state, which 

 6           means that even by the national 

 7           recommendation, we are thousands, right -- 

 8           we're hundreds of representives short.  How 

 9           many short of what we actually need?  

10                  MS. MURTAGH:  I haven't done the 

11           numbers lately, but that -- that whole -- 

12           that math problem is on our website where we 

13           lay out the American Bar Association 

14           recommendations.  

15                  And we now have approximately 

16           27 employees in core PLS.  We have an 

17           immigration unit too, but the immigration 

18           unit does something completely separate from 

19           conditions of confinement.  

20                  So we are way over.  

21                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  So it's 27 for 

22           those 31,000 -- which is way under the 

23           400 recommendation rate.  So that is what 

24           you're referring to when you're asking for 


                                                                   664

 1           this additional funding.  

 2                  With my last few seconds, if you could 

 3           talk about what you're not able to provide.  

 4           And specifically you mentioned issues with 

 5           good time, and not -- for people not being 

 6           given appropriate good time or being allowed.  

 7           Can you talk briefly about that?  Maybe I 

 8           missed something.

 9                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  You know -- 

10           Assemblywoman, you know, the time is up.  So 

11           perhaps you could send that information to us 

12           and we would share -- 

13                  ASSEMBLYWOMAN KELLES:  Yes, I'm good.

14                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- that with 

15           all of the members who have been here.  

16                  So we're going to move on to 

17           Assemblyman Epstein to close this panel.             

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

19           Chair.  And I'll be quick.  

20                  I also want to appreciate Theresa for 

21           all you do, it really -- time and time again, 

22           you keep coming back and talking to us.  

23                  Sirena, thank you for your advocacy.  

24                  MS. GRADY:  Thank you.  


                                                                   665

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  These are 

 2           critical conversations that we're having, and 

 3           it's good to hear that you may get some 

 4           movement on elder parole from Chair Weprin.   

 5           That would be -- that's great.  

 6                  And so, Karen, I heard the budget 

 7           request.  And I'm wondering, have you had 

 8           conversations with the Executive about it? 

 9           What are they saying about this increase in 

10           funding?  And obviously it's, you know, 

11           having stable funding over a longer period of 

12           time and how critical that is for a legal 

13           services program because of hiring and 

14           retention issues.  I'm wondering what they've 

15           said around kind of ongoing support.  

16                  MS. MURTAGH:  Well, I did have a 

17           number of discussions with people in the 

18           Executive prior to the budget coming out, and 

19           there was extensive support for getting PLS 

20           up to the level where we should be.  

21                  But that didn't seem to come through 

22           in the budget when it was issued.  Now, I 

23           don't know if that is because perhaps there's 

24           other money that was provided for -- our 


                                                                   666

 1           pass-through agency is DCJS, and perhaps 

 2           there's money in there that they're going to 

 3           RFP down the road.  But none of that was 

 4           communicated to me yet.  

 5                  So all I know is that we got what we 

 6           have gotten, you know, for the past six 

 7           years.  

 8                  And I completely agree with you.  I 

 9           don't like coming to the Legislature to try 

10           to get an add for this, because PLS is much 

11           more like a state agency than a typical 

12           nonprofit.  We have six offices across the 

13           state.  We are tasked with providing civil 

14           legal services to all incarcerated people in 

15           New York State prisons.  

16                  So, you know, trying to piecemeal this 

17           and saying you add this and you add that, it 

18           really should be a complete Executive item.  

19           It was, under Hugh Carey and under Mario 

20           Cuomo, in its beginnings.  But then slowly, 

21           when more prisons were built and more money 

22           was needed, then the Assembly pitched in and 

23           now the Senate has pitched in.  And I -- I 

24           totally appreciate the support of the 


                                                                   667

 1           Legislature, because we wouldn't exist if we 

 2           didn't have your support.  

 3                  But it really should be, in my 

 4           opinion, my humble opinion, an 

 5           Executive-funded item, because it is a state 

 6           responsibility to provide civil legal 

 7           services for people that are incarcerated.  

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 9                  Thank you, Chair.             

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  So I think 

11           we have now completed this panel.  

12                  Thank you very much, all of you, for 

13           your work and your advocacy.  

14                  I'm going to shift to Panel D, for 

15           those of us still keeping track.

16                  (Zoom interruption.)

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, sorry.  

18           Everyone else mute, please.  

19                  Assigned Counsel Association of 

20           New York State, Brian Zimmerman, vice 

21           president, and New York State Defenders 

22           Association, Susan Bryant, executive 

23           director.  

24                  Good evening, both of you.  Why don't 


                                                                   668

 1           we start with Brian Zimmerman.

 2                  MR. ZIMMERMAN:  Thank you for this 

 3           opportunity to address you.  My name is Brian 

 4           Zimmerman.  I'm the vice president of the 

 5           Assigned Counsel Association, a group formed 

 6           to advocate for assigned counsel, who provide 

 7           legal representation for indigent adults and 

 8           children in family, criminal, Supreme and 

 9           Appellate courts.  

10                  Representing our most vulnerable 

11           citizens in these courts is a privilege we 

12           have chosen, and one we do not take for 

13           granted.  I'm here because of a growing 

14           crisis in all these courts.  There are too 

15           few attorneys to represent the numbers in 

16           need, whether a domestic violence victim, a 

17           parent or child separated by state action, a 

18           parent fighting to see their children, or a 

19           criminal defendant seeking to defend their 

20           innocence while languishing in jail or 

21           seeking appellate redress.

22                  Statewide, there are approximately 30 

23           to 50 percent less attorneys available to 

24           handle this ever-increasing number of cases.  


                                                                   669

 1           Why the exodus?  First and foremost, the 

 2           legislatively set compensation rate has 

 3           remained at $75 per hour since 2004, while 

 4           the costs to practice have risen every year 

 5           for 18 years.  It is simply unaffordable for 

 6           our attorneys to continue this work, and even 

 7           harder to recruit new attorneys.  No job in 

 8           New York State has seen no raise in over 

 9           18 years.

10                  As a voice for the underserved we 

11           represent, too many cases and too few 

12           attorneys equates to an inability to provide 

13           high-quality representation.  Court 

14           proceedings are needlessly delayed, and 

15           decisions for these most vulnerable people -- 

16           the poor, the underserved, often in our Black 

17           and brown communities, do not get public 

18           protection.  The lasting trauma inflicted on 

19           those indigent communities is immeasurable 

20           and repeats itself year after year.  

21                  In 2003, inadequate rates then 

22           resolved when a court imposed a rate of 

23           $90 per hour, admonishing the Legislature to 

24           act then and not repeat this crisis.  Sadly, 


                                                                   670

 1           the crisis has repeated.  Chief Judge 

 2           DiFiore, multiple state commissions, and the 

 3           New York State Bar Association have urged 

 4           action.  You heard ILS today urge action.  

 5           Nine major New York City bar associations 

 6           have taken legal action, challenging 

 7           New York's failure to provide 

 8           constitutionally required access to justice.  

 9                  We thank Senator Bailey, Assemblyman 

10           Magnarelli, and former Assemblyman Lentol for 

11           sponsoring legislation to increase those 

12           rates that's been introduced for the last 

13           three years under Senate 3527 and Assembly 

14           6013.  This is an upstate and downstate 

15           issue.  

16                  We are advocating for attorneys to be 

17           compensated at the federal defender hourly 

18           rate of $158 per hour, with a cost-of-living 

19           provision.  We are asking that the costs 

20           above $75 per hour be a state, not a county 

21           expenditure.  

22                  We applaud the Senate and Assembly for 

23           introducing legislation, but this crisis will 

24           not end until the money to fund the 


                                                                   671

 1           legislation is part of the final budget.  We 

 2           ask the Senate and Assembly to make ending 

 3           this crisis a legislative priority and 

 4           include appropriations in the budgets of each 

 5           house to support the above legislation.  

 6                  Our society is judged by what it does 

 7           to meet its responsibility to the least 

 8           fortunate, and never more importantly than 

 9           when their liberty and equal access to 

10           justice is at stake.  The time to act is now.  

11                  Thank you for your time and support.

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

13           much.  

14                  And our next speaker is Susan Bryant.

15                  MS. BRYANT:  Good evening, 

16           Chair Krueger and Chair Weinstein and members 

17           of the Public Protection budget committee.  

18                  My name is Susan Bryant.  I'm the 

19           executive director of the New York State 

20           Defenders Association, also known as NYSDA.  

21           Thank you for the opportunity to testify this 

22           evening about funding for NYSDA's Public 

23           Defense Backup Center and Veterans Defense 

24           Program.  Continued survival of both will 


                                                                   672

 1           improve racial justice, public defense, and 

 2           community safety.

 3                  For over 40 years NYSDA has received 

 4           yearly grants from the state to operate the 

 5           Public Defense Backup Center, which helps the 

 6           state meet its constitutional obligation to 

 7           provide quality public defense.  Our staff 

 8           provide essential legal and technical support 

 9           services to public defenders around the 

10           state, from training programs to our case 

11           management system to our publications and 

12           legal hotline.

13                  I'm here to ask both the Senate and 

14           the Assembly to ensure that this year's 

15           budget includes 2,989,000 for NYSDA's Public 

16           Defense Backup Center.  This includes 

17           2,089,000 -- which is the same amount we 

18           received last year and since 2012.  We're 

19           also asking for an additional $900,000 in 

20           order to meet a critical need to establish 

21           the statewide Defender Discovery & Forensic 

22           Support Unit.

23                  In the brief time I have left, I want 

24           to describe what we need for that unit.  And 


                                                                   673

 1           that unit comes out of the fabulous discovery 

 2           laws that you passed several years ago, which 

 3           removed the blindfold and have allowed 

 4           defenders to receive the information that 

 5           they so desperately need to advise their 

 6           clients and to provide representation.

 7                  The state's invested $40 million each 

 8           year to meet the needs of prosecutors, police 

 9           and other law enforcement with regard to the 

10           discovery law, but no funding has been 

11           provided to help public defenders.  Public 

12           defenders and their clients cannot continue 

13           be left behind.

14                  The $900,000 we have requested would 

15           be a modest and cost-effective way to help 

16           public defenders throughout the state.  As we 

17           have shown for the last four decades, our 

18           Public Defense Backup Center's centralized 

19           services have created efficiencies.  The new 

20           unit would also improve statewide efficiency 

21           by centralizing resources, and staff with 

22           forensic science and discovery expertise can 

23           provide high-quality technical and legal 

24           support and training.  


                                                                   674

 1                  It would also help us enhance our 

 2           public defense case management system, and it 

 3           would provide assistance to family defenders 

 4           as well who are significantly underresourced, 

 5           as you heard from Patricia Warth from the 

 6           Office of Indigent Legal Services a little 

 7           while ago.

 8                  Our budget testimony includes much 

 9           more details on the need for the unit and the 

10           funding for it.

11                  I also want to mention our Veterans 

12           Defense Program, which we're asking for last 

13           year's funding level of $720,000, and we'll 

14           be submitting testimony with regard to VDP to 

15           the Human Services budget committee members 

16           as well.

17                  Thank you for your support, and I 

18           appreciate your time and appreciate the 

19           support that we've received from the 

20           Legislature over the years.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you both 

22           for your time and your testimony.  

23                  And I see Jamaal Bailey, chair of 

24           Codes, with his hand up.


                                                                   675

 1                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Very brief.  

 2                  Susan, thank you so much for what you 

 3           do with the defenders and your constant 

 4           communication and correspondence with us and 

 5           our amazing staff.  And so this is the 

 6           portion where we make sure we shout out to 

 7           our amazing staff here that does so much 

 8           incredible work in helping us get those 

 9           legislative accomplishments done.  So I just 

10           wanted to make sure I thank you for that.

11                  Brian, thank you for the shout out, 

12           but also the 18-B.  These are definitely 

13           things that are critically important that 

14           we've heard about.  

15                  I think both of you have raised 

16           salient arguments as to why, you know, each 

17           of what you've spoken about should be 

18           accomplished.  I just, again, want to thank 

19           you for your patience.  

20                  And we're at that point of the program 

21           where I yield my time.  Thank you, 

22           Madam Chair.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, Sir 

24           Chair.


                                                                   676

 1                  Chairwoman Weinstein, do you have any 

 2           Assemblymembers?  

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We do not have 

 4           any members waiting to ask a question.  So 

 5           it's all yours.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Well, then thank 

 7           you very much for having made your points so 

 8           clearly, both of you.  We will now release 

 9           you for the evening.  

10                  And I will be calling up the next 

11           panel, which is Panel E:  Police Benevolent 

12           Association of New York, Troy Caupain, PBA 

13           secretary; New York State Police 

14           Investigators Association, Timothy Dymond, 

15           president; New York State Correctional 

16           Officers & Police Benevolent Association, 

17           Michael Powers, president.  

18                  Good evening, gentlemen.  I guess 

19           we'll take you in the order I just read your 

20           names, so the State PBA first.

21                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Good evening, 

22           Madam Chair and respected panel.  I 

23           appreciate the opportunity to speak to you 

24           again this evening.  


                                                                   677

 1                  Two years ago I addressed the panel 

 2           for the Park Police members after an 

 3           executive memorandum was submitted, sent out 

 4           by the former governor and state operations 

 5           director, which basically gave operational 

 6           control to the State Police of the 

 7           Park Police as well as basically stopped all 

 8           hiring, transfers and promotions for the 

 9           Park Police within the agency.

10                  And it's been two years of 

11           frustration, anxiety and just unanswered 

12           questions that we've received from the agency 

13           regarding our futures.  Obviously my written 

14           testimony goes into more detail with that.

15                  And I would just like to state that 

16           this past Friday, ironically, the agency put 

17           out a memorandum stating that they are now 

18           going to put on an academy class for the fall 

19           of 2022.  Which is again ironic, because we 

20           sat down with the Commissioner on 

21           December 7th, which was supposedly a meeting 

22           about his conversations with the Executive 

23           Chamber, and there was no information passed 

24           on at all regarding hiring or anything to do 


                                                                   678

 1           with the Park Police.  Basically it was:  We 

 2           have nothing for you.

 3                  So again, it's very ironic that that 

 4           came out.  We appreciate that it came out.  

 5           Obviously, according to the Commissioner, the 

 6           same day that our memorandum was sent 

 7           regarding the Park Police, he sent a 

 8           memorandum to the executive staff which 

 9           talked about the game-changing budget that 

10           Governor Kathy Hochul has now submitted on 

11           behalf of OPRHP, where in fact the agency is 

12           going to receive -- will have an operating 

13           budget of $199.3 million.  

14                  And in bold print he states on his 

15           Executive Budget summary that the agency will 

16           be in full hiring mode for 2022 and they're 

17           bringing their ETFs to the number 2,087, 

18           which is the highest level they've had since 

19           2009.  

20                  So our questions today are -- 

21           obviously this is a budget hearing.  So the 

22           first thing we would ask the panel and the 

23           legislative body is to please assist us in 

24           rescinding that executive memorandum that put 


                                                                   679

 1           the Park Police basically in extinction, 

 2           through the agency.  

 3                  And secondly, we would ask for more 

 4           transparency as it relates to the budget and 

 5           the money that was appropriated to the Office 

 6           of Parks and Recreation.  If they're 

 7           receiving almost $200 million, how much money 

 8           is being allocated for the Park Police?  Is 

 9           it just one academy class?  Is it going to be 

10           multiple academy classes?  

11                  And with that, we're going to need 

12           help from the Legislature to ask the Governor 

13           to pass the 20-year retirement bill that she 

14           vetoed several weeks ago, and make that part 

15           of the budget.  And we also need additional 

16           funding where we can have a geographic 

17           package submitted on behalf of the 

18           Legislature to, again, address the retention 

19           problem.  We've lost over 140 members since 

20           2014, 79 in the last year and a half since 

21           this executive order came out, two years 

22           since this executive order came out.

23                  So we would need those two things from 

24           the Legislature, along with that memorandum 


                                                                   680

 1           being rescinded, in order for us to get some 

 2           kind of real direction as it relates to the 

 3           Park Police within OPRHP.  

 4                  So I thank you for your time.  Again, 

 5           my testimony was submitted.  And I look 

 6           forward to any questions you have regarding 

 7           our future and what we need from the 

 8           Legislature moving forward.  Thank you so 

 9           much.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                  And our next testifier -- sorry, it's 

12           not Michael Powers, it was the one, I'm 

13           sorry, just above.  Excuse me.  Sorry.  

14           Timothy Dymond, president of the New York 

15           State Police Investigators Association.

16                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  Thank you.

17                  Good evening, Senate and Assembly 

18           members.  My name is Tim Dymond, and I am a 

19           Senior Investigator for the New York State 

20           Police.  I am currently the elected president 

21           of the New York State Police Investigators 

22           Association.  

23                  I represent roughly 1100 Investigators 

24           and Senior Investigators across the State of 


                                                                   681

 1           New York, and several thousand retirees.  I 

 2           am incredibly proud to represent this elite 

 3           group of men and women in the State Police 

 4           that handle the most serious of cases.  Day 

 5           in and day out, these folks go out and do 

 6           their job at a high level, and without them, 

 7           this state would certainly suffer.  

 8                  Our members buy the illegal handguns 

 9           undercover.  Our members investigate and 

10           infiltrate street gangs that are committing 

11           many of the shootings that we're seeing 

12           today.  Our members go out and work on the 

13           murders that these gangs commit.  Those are 

14           our people, and I'm very proud. 

15                  We continue to deal with historic 

16           policy change and job expectations that seem 

17           to increase by the day.  But there are a few 

18           topics I would like to touch on and have the 

19           Legislature consider for the pending budget.  

20                  Our highest priority, as it was last 

21           year, is replacement of retiring members in 

22           our ranks.  We continue to lose members at an 

23           alarming pace.  Last year I spoke of the 

24           shortage we were dealing with with Senior 


                                                                   682

 1           Investigators.  I'm pleased to report today 

 2           that the Division has filled most of those 

 3           open senior positions, and for that we are 

 4           thankful.  Now we need to backfill the 

 5           Investigator positions.  

 6                  Nearly every special detail and 

 7           station is running on a reduced manpower 

 8           level, while the workload continues to 

 9           increase with the rise in violent crime.  The 

10           Legislature can debate the causes for the 

11           increase in crime, but there's no debating 

12           the fact that these crimes need to be 

13           investigated to prevent future crimes from 

14           being committed.

15                  As Superintendent Bruen explained 

16           earlier, it takes a while for us to get a 

17           good Trooper candidate out and into the 

18           field.  It takes many, many more years to get 

19           an Investigator out into the field.  So we 

20           need to get that process going this year.  We 

21           ask that the Legislature provide a 

22           substantial new recruit class to help us 

23           replenish the ranks and keep New Yorkers 

24           safe.


                                                                   683

 1                  We were pleased to hear this year the 

 2           Governor is supporting increased funding to 

 3           be used in the battle against gun violence 

 4           that is occurring across the state.  I think 

 5           it's very important to note that we are 

 6           seeing violent crime increases not only in 

 7           New York City -- New York City gets the 

 8           headlines -- we are seeing the same problems 

 9           in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Newburgh, 

10           Poughkeepsie.  

11                  The expansion of our Community 

12           Stabilization Units and Anti-Gun Task Force 

13           and different technologies will help reduce 

14           gun crime, but it's not enough.  We must get 

15           the trigger-pullers off the street, period.

16                  We ask the Legislature to support 

17           expanding these units and every other BCI 

18           unit that investigates gun crime.

19                  Lastly, last year during the budget 

20           hearings we asked the Legislature to consider 

21           supporting a safer, more appropriate firearm 

22           for use by the 300 BCI members working 

23           undercover in the most dangerous conditions 

24           across New York.  With your support, the 


                                                                   684

 1           Division has explored this concept, and 

 2           approval of the updated concept is imminent.  

 3           For this we are thankful.  

 4                  However, final approval for the 

 5           undercover weapons is the first phase.  We 

 6           respectfully request that the Legislature 

 7           conclude this process by providing to the 

 8           Division the funding necessary to purchase 

 9           the firearms and related equipment to 

10           complete the project.  The estimated cost is 

11           approximately $150,000, and it will be a 

12           small investment in the safety of our 

13           undercover police officers.

14                  Lastly, thank you for allowing me the 

15           opportunity to bring these important issues 

16           to your attention on behalf of my membership, 

17           and I appreciate it and I appreciate what you 

18           guys do. 

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

20           much.  

21                  And next, Michael Powers.

22                  Oops.  I think your voice is not 

23           coming through.  Try to unmute yourself.  

24           Okay, try again.  I think he froze this time.


                                                                   685

 1                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We can't hear 

 2           you.  But we can see you, that nice smile.

 3                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, we do see 

 4           the nice smile.

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Not frozen.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Try one more 

 7           time.

 8                  You know, I'm sorry, Mr. Powers, we 

 9           cannot hear you speaking.

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Should we go to 

11           some members' questions and -- 

12                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  What a good idea.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And then you 

14           can come back.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So let's go to 

16           questions.  And maybe what you can do, 

17           Mr. Powers, is close yourself out of Zoom and 

18           reopen it.  Sometimes just that works.

19                  All right.  And we'll start with, I 

20           guess, Assemblymembers.  Helene Weinstein, 

21           who would you like? 

22                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I do see that 

23           Senator Savino has her hand raised.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, okay.  Hello, 


                                                                   686

 1           Senator Savino.  I thought you were off for 

 2           the evening.  What would you like to ask?

 3                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I am here, Senator 

 4           Krueger, ever-present, no matter where I am.

 5                  (Laughter.)

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Fair enough.

 7                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Actually, I wanted to 

 8           ask -- I'll start with Troy from the 

 9           Parks Police, because he referenced a piece 

10           of legislation that the Governor recently 

11           vetoed, it was a 20-year pension bill that 

12           the Legislature passed last year, I think it 

13           was unanimously in both houses.  And in her 

14           veto message she made some reference to the 

15           fact that it should be negotiated before it 

16           comes to her desk.  But in fact, it should be 

17           negotiated at the bargaining table.  

18                  And I was just wondering if she had 

19           raised that issue, because quite honestly, 

20           you can't negotiate pensions, they are a 

21           prohibitive subject of collective bargaining.  

22                  But since she referenced it in her 

23           veto message, I was wondering if in fact that 

24           you had brought it up in discussions with the 


                                                                   687

 1           Park Police.

 2                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Thank you, Senator, 

 3           for that question.  I hope you can still hear 

 4           me; I don't see myself.

 5                  SENATOR SAVINO:  I can hear you.

 6                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Yes, we did bring 

 7           that to the attention of the executive 

 8           chamber.  It was -- obviously we cannot do 

 9           that in contract negotiations.  It's against 

10           the law.  It's actually against several laws.  

11           And we did bring that to their attention.  

12                  Obviously we're hoping to have 

13           conversation with the second floor and the 

14           executive chamber to somehow clarify that, 

15           and hope that if there was -- if the Governor 

16           felt that we could do it in collective 

17           bargaining, even though we couldn't, then it 

18           seems to us that there was some type of 

19           appetite, if you will, or feeling that if we 

20           did get it done, that she would be okay in 

21           passing it or putting it through in the 

22           budget or through the Legislature.  

23                  So we're hoping that we can have some 

24           real conversation regarding that and hope 


                                                                   688

 1           that we can get the 20-year bill included in 

 2           this year's budget, because it is much 

 3           needed, not only for the Park Police but for 

 4           the other units within our PBA, because it 

 5           will help us with our retention.  And it 

 6           helps us become, you know, competitive in 

 7           today's market when we're being poached from 

 8           every other municipality, and even the 

 9           State Police, all across the State of 

10           New York.

11                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  

12                  I'm happy to hear that hiring is going 

13           on with the Police Investigators as well.  

14           And I was hoping that Mike Powers would be 

15           able to testify.  If we can get him through, 

16           the question I would ask him is we've heard 

17           Commissioner Annucci speak about the training 

18           has been put in place to help implement the 

19           HALT legislation that goes into effect, and I 

20           just wanted to hear from him if in fact that 

21           training is taking place and whether or not 

22           the union was consulted and other members 

23           involved in the training.

24                  As always, I'm always concerned when 


                                                                   689

 1           the workers, whether it's the Park Police, 

 2           whether it's the New York State Police 

 3           Investigators or NYSCOPBA, is not included as 

 4           part of the implementation of policies that 

 5           we adopt and the agencies are supposed to 

 6           implement.  

 7                  So hopefully Mike will be able to get 

 8           on board and tell us a bit of what's 

 9           happening at DOCCS and maybe share what's 

10           happening with respect to the implementation 

11           of HALT, and are his members being properly 

12           prepared and trained.

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  I believe 

14           that Michael Powers has rejoined us.  And 

15           with any luck, we are now going to be able to 

16           hear him.

17                  SENATOR SAVINO:  Great.  Thank you.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So your 

19           presentation now.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Hi, Michael.  Are 

21           you ready to testify?  

22                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Yes.  Yes, I am.  

23           Can you hear me?

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We can hear you.  


                                                                   690

 1           Excellent.

 2                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Wonderful.  Thank 

 3           you for your patience.

 4                  Again, good evening, esteemed members 

 5           of the Legislature.  I'm Michael Powers, 

 6           president of NYSCOPBA.  On behalf of more 

 7           than 30,000 active and retired members, thank 

 8           you for the opportunity to appear in front of 

 9           you.

10                  For years the State of New York has 

11           touted itself as the progressive capital of 

12           the world.  The process of decarcerating 

13           New York's prisons is viewed as a victory for 

14           social justice.  Sadly, though, this effort 

15           has also drastically changed the state's 

16           rehabilitation model, which has resulted in 

17           significant human costs.  

18                  Over the last decade, the working 

19           environment inside correctional facilities 

20           has become increasingly more violent.  

21           Despite a prison population being at its 

22           lowest point in nearly 40 years, violent 

23           attacks on staff by incarcerated --

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, we've lost 


                                                                   691

 1           your voice again.  Let's see.  Try it one 

 2           more time.

 3                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Can you hear me 

 4           now?

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, now I can.

 6                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Thank you.  

 7                  So as I mentioned, we're at 1173 

 8           assaults recorded this past year.  Every one 

 9           of these assaults on staff has its own story.  

10           The one that sent a shiver down my spine was 

11           the story of Correction Officer Adrea 

12           Adamczyk out at Mid-State.  Officer Adamczyk  

13           required 70 stitches to her forehead after 

14           she was viciously assaulted by a man she was 

15           charged to oversee, for simply directing him 

16           to take a shower.  

17                  This was an unprovoked, violent 

18           assault upon an employee of the state.  But 

19           don't be fooled -- this terrible incident was 

20           inevitable.  Today in New York State prison 

21           facilities, more than three correction 

22           officers like Adrea are injured at the hands 

23           of inmates.  Three more will be hurt 

24           tomorrow, and three more will be hurt the 


                                                                   692

 1           next day.  

 2                  As a result of the overhaul of the 

 3           disciplinary system within correctional 

 4           facilities, there are very few deterrents in 

 5           place to dissuade inmates from attacking 

 6           staff.  HALT is fully implemented, the 

 7           ability to remove and separate violent 

 8           individuals will be severely hampered.  The 

 9           incarcerated population is well aware of 

10           this.  After an attack, the chants of 15 

11           days, 15 days" echo the hallways and cell 

12           blocks.  

13                  Our prisons will soon be 

14           consequence-free environments, allowing 

15           dangerous individuals to thrive in chaos and 

16           hurt anyone who attempts to stand in their 

17           way.  

18                  We have promoted a bill pending in the 

19           Legislature that will bring stakeholders to 

20           the table and partake in a violence study.  

21           Until that legislation is passed and that 

22           violence study is complete, we demand that 

23           any changes in policies that alter the 

24           disciplinary system be put on hold, including 


                                                                   693

 1           the implementation of HALT.  

 2                  There are ways to protect everyone.  

 3           The state just needs to implement them with 

 4           the same urgency that they enacted polices to 

 5           improve the well-being of the incarcerated 

 6           community.  The pandemic has only made 

 7           staffing and morale issues worse.  Correction 

 8           officers are physically and mentally 

 9           exhausted, mandated to work --

10                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're faded out 

12           again, sorry.

13                  Try doing that trick you seem to know 

14           to come back.

15                  (Pause.)

16                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  How's that?

17                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're back.

18                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  We're back.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, you are.

20                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Now the hardworking 

21           men and women of NYSCOPBA should be properly 

22           recognized and equally compensated as their 

23           healthcare counterparts, whom they escort 

24           around the blocks every day.  Simply put, all 


                                                                   694

 1           correction officers must be included in a 

 2           financial incentive program to make up for 

 3           the --

 4                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

 5                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sorry, Michael, 

 6           we've lost you again.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Can he not use 

 8           that mic?  Is there a way to take the mic 

 9           off?  Because there might be a short in the 

10           mic.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  It could be a 

12           short in the mic, but I don't know how he 

13           goes --

14                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Can you hear me 

15           now?

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes.

17                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Yes, we're back.

18                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sometimes if you 

19           take your visual off, it improves the mic.  

20           So you could try that also.

21                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  We're just checking 

22           one thing here real quick.  I apologize.

23                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sure.

24                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  As I mentioned, we 


                                                                   695

 1           demand that correction officers be included 

 2           in the worker retention bonuses proposed in 

 3           the Executive Budget.  

 4                  For years we've talked about 

 5           contraband in our facilities, and it's as 

 6           prevalent as ever.  Now is the time to fund 

 7           our Secure Vendor Package Program, as well as 

 8           utilize full-body scanners.  There is no 

 9           sugar-coating the current situation in our 

10           facilities.  Conditions are abysmal, and 

11           these violence issues must be addressed 

12           immediately.

13                  Thank you for the opportunity.  I 

14           welcome any questions you may have.  

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

16           much.  

17                  And now, looking for hands up, and I 

18           believe it's the Assembly's turn.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We will go to 

20           Assemblyman Palmesano first.

21                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yes, thank 

22           you.  

23                  First I just want to say briefly thank 

24           you to all of you for -- you and your 


                                                                   696

 1           members, for what you do for us in our 

 2           communities and your jobs each and every day 

 3           to keep us safe.  So thank you.

 4                  My question is for Mr. Powers.  

 5           Mr. Powers, I know you talked about the 

 6           violence and assaults that are going on in 

 7           our correctional facilities.  I've mentioned 

 8           that too.  I know over the past six years 

 9           it's an increase of 55 percent, 

10           inmate-on-staff assaults.  You know, you 

11           mentioned about HALT and the restrictions on 

12           the special housing units.  I think that's an 

13           issue that needs to be addressed.  You know, 

14           obviously I don't think we're ready for it.

15                  On that issue, you mentioned the 

16           violence study bill that NYSCOPBA and others 

17           are pushing.  Earlier today Commissioner 

18           Annucci talked about a violence task force 

19           that DOCCS is forming to investigate violence 

20           in the prisons.  I know, obviously, those two 

21           aren't the same.  So is what DOCCS is 

22           promoting, the violence study bill, compared 

23           to -- like what's the differences?  And this 

24           DOCCS task force, is it sufficient enough, 


                                                                   697

 1           and how is the study bill better?  

 2                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Well, the violence 

 3           task force was presented to us a couple of 

 4           weeks ago, a little over a month ago, and we 

 5           haven't even scheduled -- we haven't even had 

 6           our first meeting here.  

 7                  As you're well aware, Assemblyman, 

 8           we've had many issues -- you know, this is a 

 9           subject matter that quite frankly for this 

10           last seven years as -- my tenure as president 

11           of NYSCOPBA, we've been dealing with this 

12           since Jump Street.  A task force is between 

13           the administration, some superintendents and 

14           some --

15                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We lost you, 

17           Michael.

18                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Can you hear me?

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yes.

20                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Now, yes.

21                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  The violence study 

22           includes stakeholders such as members of the 

23           Legislature, policyholders, administrators, 

24           union officials and many others that we feel 


                                                                   698

 1           is vital in addressing this violence study.

 2                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Mr. Powers, I 

 3           know you mentioned the compensation package.  

 4           I know, you know, from talking to correction 

 5           officers in my district, that the morale is 

 6           really down with the closures and everything 

 7           else, the working conditions, the mandated 

 8           overtimes.  

 9                  And then when this came up earlier 

10           about the two and-a-half-times overtime pay 

11           being paid to nurses working in our 

12           correctional facilities, whereas the 

13           corrections officers working side by side 

14           with them are not getting that same 

15           compensation -- when your members see that, 

16           what does that do for the morale of those who 

17           are working a dangerous job?

18                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Well, it's been 

19           very difficult for our staff, especially from 

20           a morale standpoint.  In the height of the 

21           initial pandemic in 2020, it became a very 

22           difficult time.  Many members got caught up 

23           in some of the quarantine issues, as the 

24           acting commissioner talked about earlier, you 


                                                                   699

 1           know, and some of them unfortunately having 

 2           to --

 3                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

 4                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We lost you 

 5           again.

 6                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  The morale in our 

 7           facilities has been very, very low since -- 

 8           well, the last year and a half.  And it's 

 9           been very difficult to -- it's been very 

10           difficult to bring that morale around in any 

11           fashion with the department as of late.  And 

12           we feel it's necessary, as you mentioned, to 

13           be categorized as the essential employees 

14           that they are and that they -- 

15                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sorry, Michael, 

17           you both ran out of time and you ran out of 

18           sound.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Madam Chair, I 

20           would just ask if I could just indulge -- 

21           maybe give him a chance, you know, because he 

22           got cut off a couple of times, you know, on 

23           an important issue.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sure.


                                                                   700

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  I'd like to 

 2           ask one more question, hopefully, if I could.  

 3           I'd appreciate your indulgence in that, and 

 4           my fellow committee members.

 5                  Mr. Powers, the other question I was 

 6           going to ask you is -- I mean, the 

 7           commissioner talked about regarding the 

 8           Secure Vendor Program.  He said he's waiting 

 9           for the right time.  I would argue the right 

10           time was several years ago.  

11                  How much is the drug contraband 

12           problem contributing to this rising violence 

13           that's going on in our prisons?  You know, 

14           what do you say about the Secure Vendor 

15           Program, and what can we be doing right now 

16           for it?

17                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  It's significant.  

18           You know, a majority of the contraband is 

19           coming in through the packages and through 

20           the visit room.  And, you know, to be able 

21           to -- to hinder that in any capacity I feel 

22           strongly would reduce the amount of 

23           contraband coming into the facility, which 

24           would ultimately reduce the amount of 


                                                                   701

 1           violence that we're dealing with.  

 2                  And, you know, the numbers don't lie, 

 3           right?  I mean, you know, we're dealing with 

 4           a much smaller inmate population and more 

 5           acts of violence.  

 6                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 8                  I think we don't -- oh, we do have an 

 9           additional Senator, excuse me.  

10                  Senator Sue Serino.

11                  SENATOR SERRANO:  Thank you, 

12           Chairwoman.  

13                  And thank you to the panel for coming 

14           here today and for everything that you do.  I 

15           really appreciate it.  

16                  And Mike, you know, sometimes it's a 

17           little too easy for lawmakers to evaluate the 

18           issues that are discussed today from the 

19           comfort of our offices, but you did a really 

20           good job I think helping legislators 

21           understand the challenges that your members 

22           are facing every single day.  

23                  And having said that, can you talk a 

24           little bit about the prison closures and how 


                                                                   702

 1           they've impacted your members?  Because I'm 

 2           sure that your members have shared some 

 3           personal stories with you that really might 

 4           help lawmakers understand that there are very 

 5           real people and families at the other end of 

 6           these decisions.

 7                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Yes, Senator, 

 8           without question.  You know, it's very -- 

 9           it's a very difficult time when a facility 

10           closes regardless of where it is in the State 

11           of New York -- 

12                  (Zoom audio dropped.)

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  No --

14                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Can you hear me?

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I have to say I 

16           think it's unfair to ask Mr. Powers questions 

17           when we can't really hear him answer.  So 

18           maybe just -- if it's okay, perhaps Michael 

19           could reach out to Senator Serino, perhaps 

20           tomorrow during daytime, from a working 

21           phone.  I just -- it's very -- it's unfair to 

22           him, and it's not his fault that his 

23           equipment isn't working correctly.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yeah, but I 


                                                                   703

 1           think, Madam Chair, that he's trying and I 

 2           think we should, you know, keep giving him a 

 3           little bit of indulgence.  I mean, these 

 4           individuals that he represents are going 

 5           through a very difficult time with the 

 6           violence that's going --

 7                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I would make 

 8           this suggestion.  I would make this 

 9           suggestion, that the member ask the question 

10           and if Mr. Powers has a problem with his mic, 

11           I'd like him to be able to give us, in 

12           writing, the answers to the question so we 

13           can circulate that.  Because I think we'd all 

14           like to hear the answers.

15                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  That's a good 

16           answer.  Thank you.

17                  SENATOR SERRANO:  Chairwoman, I just 

18           had another part of that too that I was 

19           just -- my question, maybe they can answer 

20           it, is do you believe DOCCS needs to 

21           reevaluate its procedure for designating 

22           prisons for closure?  Because I'd like to see 

23           what they have to say about that.  

24                  And then for just for Troy, you know, 


                                                                   704

 1           Troy, your frustration is totally 

 2           understandable, and we'll do what we can to 

 3           ensure that your concerns are heard.  

 4           Transparency is the least the state can do 

 5           for members who do so much to protect such a 

 6           key part of this state.  

 7                  So thank you very much to the whole 

 8           panel.  And thank you, Chairwoman.

 9                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Thank you, ma'am.  

10           Appreciate that.

11                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  So 

12           Troy thanks you.  And let's see if Mr. Powers 

13           can speak to us again to answer your last 

14           question, Senator Serino.

15                  (Pause.)

16                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I don't think so.

17                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  We tried switching 

18           to a new microphone.

19                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, okay.

20                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  We tried.

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We tried?  Is 

22           that better?

23                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  I hope so.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.


                                                                   705

 1                  SENATOR SERINO:  We can hear you now.

 2                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  So to answer your 

 3           question, Senator, yes, it's very difficult 

 4           on our staff.  And many have to uproot their 

 5           families, uproot out of the communities in 

 6           which they reside.  It creates a burden.  

 7                  And this round of closure was pretty 

 8           significant in numbers as far as it affected 

 9           across the State of New York.  And, you know, 

10           obviously it has an impact on not only the 

11           community but, you know, in the state 

12           workforce as well.  And it falls outside the 

13           lines of security as well, because it impacts 

14           civilian staff as well.

15                  SENATOR SERINO:  And the other part of 

16           that, Mike, was do you believe that DOCCS 

17           needs to reevaluate its procedure for 

18           designating prisons for closure?  

19                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Oh, yeah.  You 

20           know, a good heads up would be, you know, a 

21           good idea, you know, because of the impact 

22           that it has.  And unfortunately in the last 

23           two years, you know, we had to deal with that 

24           during the holiday season, you know, in 


                                                                   706

 1           rounds of closures.  So it's -- yeah, it 

 2           became quite difficult for many of our staff.  

 3                  And, you know, we've been assured that 

 4           going forward there will be a better 

 5           communication mechanism in place.

 6                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Thank 

 7           you.  I think we've gone far beyond the three 

 8           minutes.  

 9                  Assemblywoman?

10                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we have a 

11           number of members.  So just so people know 

12           their order, Assemblyman Reilly, then 

13           Assemblyman Walczyk, Assemblyman Lawler, 

14           Assemblyman Ra and Assemblyman Weprin.  

15                  But we'll start with Assemblyman 

16           Reilly.

17                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, 

18           Madam Chair.  

19                  Thank you to the panel.  

20                  I have a question directed at 

21           Mr. Diamond.  With the investigations of the 

22           firearms and how many incidents are happening 

23           throughout the state, especially that the New 

24           York State Police Investigators are involved 


                                                                   707

 1           in, I know that we talked about, during the 

 2           day, firearm possession by those under 

 3           18 years old as it appears under Raise the 

 4           Age.  

 5                  How many -- do you know the number or 

 6           how prevalent it is where those that are 

 7           under 16 -- under 18 are arrested with a 

 8           firearm, a loaded firearm.

 9                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  I don't have exact 

10           numbers to present to you today, but I can 

11           tell you that much like gangs did 10 or 15 

12           years ago with drugs, where they had the 

13           younger crowd hold for them for the lesser 

14           penalty, we're seeing the same pattern in 

15           urban areas now where younger members of 

16           gangs are carrying the guns, holding the 

17           guns, because they are inevitably going to 

18           Family Court, which is just not really the 

19           solution for the problems we're having.

20                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  I know under 

21           Raise the Age now, currently, that if they're 

22           in possession of a firearm and they display 

23           it, there's a possibility they can go to 

24           Youth Part Criminal if there's extenuating 


                                                                   708

 1           circumstances and the judge accepts it from 

 2           the DA.

 3                  I actually introduced legislation that 

 4           would require a loaded firearm, mere 

 5           possession by a 16- or 17-year-old, make that 

 6           qualification.  I'm hoping that we'll be able 

 7           to make that happen, because I think that's 

 8           something you nailed there on the head with 

 9           gangs using these underage kids to hold the 

10           firearms.

11                  Do you think that's something that you 

12           guys could support?  And hopefully we can get 

13           the DAs Association on board as well.

14                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  Yes, we would 

15           absolutely support that.  I think it's 

16           important that everyone listening tonight 

17           knows that, you know, there's a small number 

18           of shooters out there.  And you -- I'm sure 

19           you know this from your career, there's a 

20           small number in these communities.  

21                  But that number can do a lot of damage 

22           if there's no consequences for their actions.

23                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  So in the unit 

24           that you talk about at the state level -- I 


                                                                   709

 1           know from the NYPD, we have similar units -- 

 2           we have those that follow shooters that have 

 3           participated in multiple trigger-pulls.

 4                  Do you keep that record?  And is it 

 5           possible that we can expand -- if you have 

 6           those records, and of course not publicly -- 

 7           but to monitor how many are under age 18?

 8                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  We would have to 

 9           work on that.  Our community stabilization 

10           units, which are very similar to the teams 

11           that New York City is about to roll out, 

12           under Mayor Adams' plan yesterday, they 

13           target our violent areas, areas that are 

14           seeing a spike in shootings.  

15                  So we could track that, but that's 

16           something to definitely look into so we can 

17           take some of these more prevalent shooters 

18           off the street.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN REILLY:  Thank you, sir.

20                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  Thank you.  

21                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

22                  Senator Jamaal Bailey.

23                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Thank you, 

24           Madam Chair.  


                                                                   710

 1                  I want to thank you all for your 

 2           testimony and, most importantly, for your 

 3           service and those that you represent, for 

 4           what you do.

 5                  Let me say that the door is always 

 6           open to discuss justice-related items.  As 

 7           the chair of the Codes Committee, I welcome 

 8           further discussion on what your opinions may 

 9           be on these important justice-related 

10           matters -- not necessarily in these three 

11           minutes that we have here, but you should 

12           feel free to reach out to me.  

13                  I would love to speak to you in 

14           furtherance of some of the discussions that 

15           Assemblymember Reilly had mentioned in 

16           relation to some of the conversations about 

17           Raise the Age.  They can't be appropriately 

18           fleshed out here, but I would hope that we 

19           could have a more in-depth conversation at a 

20           later time.

21                  To Mr. Dymond, I wanted to ask you a 

22           question.  In your written testimony, you 

23           spoke about the need for more equipment.  

24           Could you like illuminate a little bit more 


                                                                   711

 1           about what equipment is required?  And it was 

 2           said $150,000.  How far would that go and how 

 3           many investigators would that be able to 

 4           assist?  

 5                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  So the equipment 

 6           we're specifying in that is not just the 

 7           firearms we're looking to get, it's the 

 8           holsters, concealed holsters, and ammunition.  

 9           And that would be concealed for the 300, 

10           roughly, working undercovers we have 

11           throughout the state.  And they're doing, you 

12           know, not just gang work, they're doing 

13           antiterrorism work.  They're in pretty much 

14           every area of the state, from down on 

15           Long Island out to Buffalo and over to 

16           Plattsburgh.

17                  SENATOR BAILEY:  Okay.  I was just 

18           reviewing the written testimony.  I just 

19           wanted to illuminate that.

20                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  Thank you.

21                  SENATOR BAILEY:  And to Troy Caupain, 

22           I understand about the inclusion and the 

23           desire be included, and I think that's a 

24           laudable goal that we should all continue to 


                                                                   712

 1           have for the conversation.

 2                  Mr. Powers, we've heard you loud and 

 3           clear in terms -- well, as loud as we can.  I 

 4           didn't mean that.  But thank you for -- but 

 5           seriously, thank you for sticking with this 

 6           and thank you for the women and men that you 

 7           represent and what you do.  I truly 

 8           appreciate you.  

 9                  And with that being said, I yield the 

10           rest of my time.

11                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Appreciate you, 

12           Senator.  

13                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

14           much, Senator.

15                  Assemblywoman.

16                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

17           Assemblyman Walczyk.

18                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Gentlemen, to 

19           you and your members, thanks for protecting 

20           and thanks for serving.

21                  To Mr. Powers, do we have corrections 

22           officers in the State of New York who are 

23           still paying off student loans?

24                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  I would imagine.


                                                                   713

 1                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  What's that 

 2           going to be like for morale in the facility 

 3           if the Governor's TAP plan goes through in 

 4           this budget?

 5                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  It won't be -- it 

 6           probably won't be received very well.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I'm just -- I 

 8           mean, you represent -- I also represent and 

 9           know personally a bunch of COs, some of them 

10           who are still paying for college, some of 

11           them who went to the State University of 

12           New York and are still paying for college, 

13           and they have a job as a correction officer 

14           to do so.

15                  And it's just -- it's amazing to me -- 

16           I mean, I know the CO talk, right?  And 

17           there's going to be free college for the -- 

18           some of them inmates who they're afraid that 

19           will assault them in our facilities.  It 

20           just -- it blows my mind.

21                  The Secure Vendor Program, what's 

22           stopping DOCCS from finally implementing this 

23           thing?  What do we gotta do?

24                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Pull the trigger.  


                                                                   714

 1                  You know, I mean, we've been talking 

 2           about this for what, four or five years now.  

 3           You know, they started a pilot program, it 

 4           got pulled out from under them.  They needed 

 5           to make some amendments to it.  And we 

 6           haven't seen what that looks like yet.

 7                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Was there 

 8           anything actually wrong with that pilot 

 9           program?

10                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  In our opinion, no.  

11           You know.  But, you know, there was a lot of 

12           politics involved in it and a lot of advocate 

13           concerns.  And, you know, they shelved it.  

14           And I just -- I'm just as curious as you are 

15           as to where it is.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, me too.

17                  If we were to implement the Secure 

18           Vendor Program and some of the other 

19           recommendations that you put forward -- and I 

20           know this has been a challenge in our 

21           facilities for a long time -- do you think by 

22           doing some of these things we could actually 

23           eliminate drugs or in large part eliminate 

24           drugs in our facilities?


                                                                   715

 1                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  I think it would 

 2           significantly reduce the amount of drugs and 

 3           contraband in our facilities, without 

 4           question.

 5                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks, 

 6           Mr. Powers.

 7                  Mr. Dymond, I notice that vehicle 

 8           theft has doubled.  Nobody's really reported 

 9           on this thing; it's probably not as 

10           interesting to talk about as gun violence 

11           every day.  But vehicle theft has doubled in 

12           the State of New York.  Is that something we 

13           should be concerned about?

14                  PRESIDENT DYMOND:  Yes.  I think the 

15           vehicle theft in the State of New York, 

16           there's so many other violent, more serious 

17           crimes that are increasing across the state, 

18           that vehicle theft or any type of theft, 

19           which you're seeing everywhere, is kind of 

20           being pushed to the back.

21                  As sad as that is, that's kind of the 

22           situation we're in with triaging the levels 

23           of importance by the crimes.

24                  ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I hear you.


                                                                   716

 1                  And Chairwoman, just with the 

 2           remainder of my time, I want to just tell the 

 3           membership that the Secure Vendor Program in 

 4           our correctional facilities, this is going to 

 5           help protect employees, this is going to help 

 6           protect inmates or incarcerated individuals, 

 7           those college students that we're concerned 

 8           about their safety.  

 9                  This will literally save lives and, 

10           for many, is the only way, if we're able to 

11           eliminate drugs coming into our facilities, 

12           the only way that they're actually going to 

13           beat addiction.  If we continue to allow 

14           these drugs to get into our facilities, 

15           nobody is better off.  Nobody is safe.  The 

16           public isn't better off, the individuals 

17           aren't more rehabilitated.  

18                  The time has come and gone -- we need 

19           to put the Secure Vendor Program in now.

20                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  Thank you, 

21           Assemblyman.

22                  CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think it's 

23           still yours, Assemblywoman.

24                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 


                                                                   717

 1           Assemblyman Lawler, followed by 

 2           Assemblyman Ra.

 3                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Thank you, 

 4           Chairwoman.  

 5                  Mr. Powers, I had the opportunity to 

 6           tour Sing Sing over the summer, and I just 

 7           want to commend NYSCOPBA, I toured it with 

 8           them, along with the superintendent of 

 9           Sing Sing.  And I want to commend NYSCOPBA 

10           and your members.  They do a professional 

11           job, they go to work every day under 

12           difficult circumstances.  And one of my 

13           biggest takeaways from meeting with your 

14           members was the concern that they have for 

15           their own safety and the safety of their 

16           fellow corrections officers.  

17                  And I think it is our responsibility 

18           to ensure that your members have the 

19           resources and support that they need to, 

20           first and foremost, ensure the safety of 

21           those that are in their care, but themselves, 

22           to ensure that they go home at night.

23                  I think the number of attacks and 

24           assaults that have occurred in the jails, in 


                                                                   718

 1           our prisons across the state is outrageous.  

 2           I had the chance to visit Rikers in the fall.  

 3           And even though that's, you know, New York 

 4           City, the concerns were the same, in many 

 5           respects heightened, given what has gone on 

 6           over in Rikers.

 7                  And I think, you know, punitive 

 8           segregation is necessary when you're looking 

 9           at what has occurred inside the prisons and 

10           the violent attacks that your officers have 

11           faced.  And, you know, we will see, as HALT 

12           is fully implemented, the impact that will 

13           have on your members.  But I can assure you 

14           that we will not be silent, you know, as that 

15           program is fully implemented and we see the 

16           consequence of it.

17                  So I just want you to know we do 

18           support your efforts and those of your 

19           members.  And I also want to just point 

20           something out for you as well as your 

21           colleagues on the panel.  I've introduced 

22           legislation so that anyone who participates 

23           in the death of a law enforcement officer, 

24           first responder or corrections officer gets 


                                                                   719

 1           life in prison without the possibility of 

 2           parole.  And I think there needs to be severe 

 3           consequences for those who would commit such 

 4           a crime.  And your officers and that of 

 5           Mr. Dymond and Troy, your officers all 

 6           deserve our support.  And so I just want you 

 7           to know that.  I appreciate your work.  I 

 8           don't really have a question for you, but I 

 9           wanted you to know that we support you.

10                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  I appreciate the 

11           words, sir, and --

12                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Thank you.

13                  PRESIDENT POWERS:  -- I appreciate the 

14           fact that you've gone into the facility, as 

15           many legislators should.  

16                  And I'll be sure to convey that 

17           sentiment to our front line, and we thank 

18           you.

19                  ASSEMBLYMAN LAWLER:  Absolutely.  

20                  CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We now go to 

21           Assemblyman Ra.

22                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.  

23                  Just for the Police Benevolent 

24           Association of New York, Mr. -- I apologize, 


                                                                   720

 1           Cow-pain, Ca-pain?  I'm sorry.

 2                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  That's fine, sir, 

 3           thank you.

 4                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Sorry, I have a 

 5           two-letter last name, so anything longer than 

 6           that I have trouble with.  

 7                  (Laughter.)

 8                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  It was great to hear 

 9           that news about a class coming in and 

10           everything.  But I'm wondering if you can 

11           just elaborate -- I know -- certainly I share 

12           your concern for transparency in terms of, 

13           you know, what portion of that budget will go 

14           towards officers.  But A, you know, my 

15           understanding is that you're down like 

16           50 percent.  So what is the number of 

17           officers you need to really be at full 

18           strength?  

19                  And then also, you know, how do we 

20           make sure that -- having classes is great, 

21           but what do we need to do to make sure that 

22           those that are going through those academy 

23           classes stay within your ranks and don't -- 

24           and we're not just training people for other 


                                                                   721

 1           departments?

 2                  DIRECTOR CAUPAIN:  Great question, 

 3           sir.  I appreciate those.

 4                  DCJS recognizes our tour strength 

 5           should be statewide, somewhere around 387.  

 6           And that was several years ago when we 

 7           submitted a staffing bill -- obviously, the 

 8           PBA pushed that back in 2014 or '15.  But 387 

 9           would be a huge number for us get to, you 

10           know, provide the police services across the 

11           state with the increased acreage and 

12           properties that we're given every year.  I 

13           know in the Executive Budget the Governor 

14           talks about a new park in inner-city 

15           Rochester, and those things.  So that number 

16           would be ideal for us.

17                  Secondly, in order to stop the 

18           revolving door, if you will -- again, I'm 

19           22 years on and I've watched 498 members 

20           graduate the academy, and our number is 192.  

21           Again, over the last seven years we've 

22           watched over 150 walk out the door.

23                  So I'd say we need several things from 

24           the agency as well as the state.  We need to 


                                                                   722

 1           be competitive.  Obviously we work in -- you 

 2           know, I'm from Long Island, I work out of 

 3           Jones Beach -- I see your Nassau County flag.  

 4           you know, we have Suffolk and Nassau, you 

 5           know, right beside us.  We have a lot of our 

 6           members throughout the state that work, you 

 7           know, in -- around municipalities where their 

 8           benefits are greater, their salaries are 

 9           greater, they have opportunities for 

10           promotions and transfers and things like 

11           that.  And we address all of those things 

12           within the Park Police.

13                  So first would be the 20-year bill.  

14           That would be huge for our members in order 

15           to obviously give them something to look 

16           forward to after a year -- excuse me, a 

17           career in law enforcement.

18                  We need to have, you know, a 

19           geographic put in place for -- obviously, to 

20           be competitive in the downstate areas.  And I 

21           attached the agency's geographic plan that 

22           they submitted back in November of 2019 but 

23           never pushed for that to continue on.

24                  And then thirdly, obviously, again, we 


                                                                   723

 1           need to be able to increase our base 

 2           salaries, honestly.  I mean, we haven't had 

 3           an upgrade since 2001.  So again, we're not 

 4           competitive in this world of law enforcement, 

 5           and that's a problem for us.  

 6                  And those academy classes are going to 

 7           bring a lot of those members downstate, sir, 

 8           and we need to be able to get them back home.  

 9           Because if we don't then, again, they're 

10           going to walk out the door.  So we need to 

11           have continued classes, we need to offer 

12           competitive salaries and pension and 

13           retirement packages, and that will enhance 

14           our staffing levels -- and it will keep 

15           people here.

16                  ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Great.  Well, thank 

17           you.  Thank you for all you do, you know, not 

18           just with -- you know, people have -- seek 

19           outdoor recreation; you guys are keeping 

20           those facilities safe.  And certainly we've 

21           taken advantage of so many facilities that 

22           you guys work in, you know, as testing sites 

23           and vaccine sites over the last couple of 

24           years.  So thank you, sir.