Palmesano And O’Mara: Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative

June 1, 2021

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) joined his Republican Conference colleagues in the rollout of the ‘Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative’. Assembly Republicans are presenting this plan at a time when violence has risen across New York state. Major cities across the state have seen a rise in crime in the first four months of 2021 compared to 2020, such as New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. New York City has seen a 17% increase in murders along with an 83% increase in shooting incidents. Homicides are up 50% in Syracuse and a staggering 100% in Rochester. In our state capital, Albany, rapes, aggravated assaults and robberies are all up over 15%.

The 2019 dangerous bail and discovery laws advanced by the Assembly and Senate Democrat Majorities and the Cuomo administration started a dangerous trend and rise in violence. Our local communities were flooded with criminals violating the law and being released back into the community over and over again. Policies like these were advanced and continue to be advanced without engaging important stakeholders like our law enforcement, district attorneys, crime victims and their families.

“Alarmingly, the state parole board continues to irresponsibly release dangerous individuals from prison and back into our communities, including murderers and rapists. The Majorities continue to advocate for reckless parole reform bills while criminals are being released daily. They are now advocating for ‘elder parole,’ which would allow automatic parole hearings if an individual served 15 years of their sentence and reached age 55, regardless of the crime and sentence they received.

“This administration, alongside the Assembly and Senate Majorities, has continued to advance legislation and policies that put the interests of dangerous criminals, including murderers and rapists, ahead of the interests of crime victims, their families and the safety of the public. This is not just misplaced priorities; it is dangerous policy that is compromising the ability of our law enforcement officers to do their jobs while jeopardizing public safety.

The Assembly GOP’s ‘Restore Order Anti-Crime Initiative’ will have the following components:

• Restore Judicial Discretion (A.5265, Reilly) – Restores judicial discretion to allow judges the ability to determine whether a violent criminal poses a dangerous threat to the community and can be held without bail.

• Bail for Gun Crimes (A.7066, Barclay) – Removes all gun crimes from the no-bail list of offenses Democrats established in 2019.

• Parole Reform (A.5737, Barclay) – Requires a unanimous vote of at least three parole commissioners to grant a prisoner early release. Also allows a majority vote of the Legislature to remove a commissioner from the Parole Board.

• Three Strikes & You’re In (A.5334, Brabenec) – Authorizes life in prison without parole for persistent violent felony offenders.

• Shooting Into Crowds (A.4259, Jensen) – Makes it a Class B violent felony to fire into a crowded space with the intent to harm.

• Additional 5 Years for Possession (A.4762, Mikulin) – Provides for an additional 5-year term of imprisonment for committing a felony while possessing a loaded firearm.

• Bail for Hate Crimes (A.3986, M. Miller) – Makes a “hate crime” a qualified offense for purposes of bail issuance and denying pre-trial.

“With these common-sense, but important reforms, we can help to rein in the dangerous increase in violence that we are experiencing in our cities and communities across our state. Many of my colleagues in the Majority have publicly expressed the need to address bail reform. It is my hope that they take the time now to address this with our Conference so violent offenders aren’t allowed back out on the streets to recommit crimes. We need to re-instill confidence in our law enforcement officers, rather than undermine them with dangerous and misplaced policy priorities out of Albany. We need to restore order and public safety back into our local communities to protect our families from dangerous and violent crime,” concluded Palmesano.

Here’s the GOP Senate’s version (From Senator Tom O’Mara:)
State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) joined Senate Republican colleagues at a Capitol news conference this afternoon to reject pro-criminal policies being pushed by the Legislature’s Democrat majorities and to advance a package of parole reform legislation that O’Mara and his colleagues say put crime victims and safe communities first.

O’Mara said, “Enough is enough and we need to stand up, speak out, and fight against the pro-criminality mentality that keeps going too far in New York State. The Democrat supermajorities in control of the State Legislature show no signs of letting up in their push for policies that keep putting more and more cop killers, child murderers, and other violent criminals back into society. Over the past two years, this state’s Parole Board has shown a dangerous and disturbing habit of showing no concern whatsoever for crime victims and their families and loved ones. We should be advancing legislation to make it harder, not easier, for the Parole Board to favor the release of violent criminals who belong behind bars. We need to enact legislation that puts crime victims and safe communities first.”

The Senate GOP’s parole reform package includes legislation to:

> require that all victim impact statements in New York State be video recorded and require that the members of the parole board review all relevant victim impact statements prior to the conduct of a parole hearing;

> provide that any person interested in the grant or denial of discretionary release shall have the right to submit a written statement of views in support of or in opposition to the granting of discretionary release, which the parole board may consider;

> require that all comments and testimony made by a third party either in support or opposition in a parole hearing shall be considered when coming to a decision;

> allow for the removal of members of the state board of parole by a majority vote in the Senate and the Assembly;

> authorize the state board of parole to require a violent felony offender to serve his or her maximum term, if, by clear and convincing evidence, release would pose an imminent threat to society;

> increase from 24 to 60 months, the time for which reconsideration for parole for a violent felony offense shall be determined; and

> require unanimous agreement by the parole board to release an inmate on parole.

Since 2017, the state Parole Board has released at least 20 cop-killers, according to the Police Benevolent Association of New York.

Under Democratic proposal currently under consideration by legislative leaders, including so-called “Elder Parole” and the “Fair and Timely Parole Act,” even more notorious cop-killers would be eligible for release, according to O’Mara and other members of the Senate Republican conference.