Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) has joined fellow Assembly Republicans in introducing a bill that would make certain criminal offenses bail-eligible. In part, the bill will ensure threats of mass harm may be treated as hate crimes while giving judges more discretion in making pre-trial decisions.
Cornell University gained widespread attention when Cornell student Patrick Dai made threats online, including an explicit threat of harm against Jewish students. This left the Jewish community at the university feeling exposed and at risk. Some students, concerned for their safety, chose to leave the campus. The investigation happened to fall under federal jurisdiction rather than state control, had it been otherwise, Dai might have been able to return to campus or any local area, posing a continued threat to the community.
The bail reform laws implemented by New York Democrats could have permitted the release of Dai. This incident underscores the pressing need for a reconsideration of New York’s bail laws.
“Hate can have no home in New York state, and under the failed cashless bail system, Patrick Dai could have walked right out the front door and returned to campus,” said Slater. “This highlights another systemic flaw in the failed cashless bail system that requires legislative action. New Yorkers want common sense steps to be taken to ensure the safety of our families and communities and this legislation does just that.”
“Democrats passed their bail reform disaster in 2019. Three times since, they’ve made inconsequential changes claiming the problems were fixed. The terrifying incident at Cornell University shows they haven’t fixed anything,” said Leader Barclay. “We don’t need to see another hate crime unfold to know changes must be made to Democrats’ disastrous bail policy. If the alleged racist perpetrator at Cornell was charged under New York law, he could have been released on his own recognizance. Our bill will close a loophole that should have never been opened. Threats of mass harm to any group of people warrant a more serious consequence, not merely a slap on the wrist. It’s time the punishment matches the crime.”
The bill would create the following measures:
Allow the crimes of Aggravated Threat of Mass Harm and Making a Threat of Mass Harm to be charged as Hate Crimes;
Add the following crimes to the list of qualifying offenses making them eligible for bail whether or not they are charged as Hate Crimes: Aggravated Threat of Mass Harm, Making a Threat of Mass Harm and Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree;
Add the following crimes to the list of qualifying offenses when charged as hate crimes: Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, Harassment in the Second Degree and menacing in the First, Second and Third Degree;
Increase the penalty for the crime of Making a Threat of Mass Harm from a class B to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a maximum fine in the amount of $1,000;
Increase the penalty for the crime of Aggravated Threat of Mass Harm from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony, punishable by up to four years imprisonment;
Clarify that the class D violent felony crime of Making a Terroristic Threat is a qualifying offense eligible for bail/remand;
Two weeks ago, Assembly Republicans introduced the Dismantling Student Antisemitism Act (DSA Act), which would mandate sensitivity training at all higher education institutions across the state while recording and reporting incidents of hate and discrimination. Institutions that fall out of compliance with DSA Act requirements would be ineligible to receive state aid.