Hawley Decries ‘Gang Recruitment Bill’, Asks Gov. To Cover Added Costs
Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today voiced his continuing opposition to a policy pushed by downstate special interests during this past budget cycle which raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 in some circumstances. The law, which many have coined the ‘gang recruitment bill’ establishes a youth classification in a superior court in each county that has jurisdiction over Juvenile Offenders and a new class of Adolescent Offenders.
“This is one of the most misguided and frankly dangerous pieces of legislation that has ever hit my desk as a state legislator,” Hawley said. “As I said at the time it was being considered, contentious policy like this should never be used as political leverage in a state budget and this was a cowardly attempt by downstate liberals to handcuff many legislators into voting for this as it was lumped in with various other spending items in one massive bill.”
With the new law, certain criminal cases can be sent to Family Court even if the charges are 2nd degree murder, 1st degree rape, 1st degree criminal sexual act or an armed felony. The governor is using this as another mechanism to force counties to adhere to his reckless spending practices. If a county stays under the tax cap, there is no cost to them but if they exceed it they may not be reimbursed by the state.
“Allowing murderers, rapists and armed robbers to avoid harsher sentencing by sending them to family court is unconscionable,” Hawley said. “In doing so, we run the risk of these violent offenders returning to our neighborhoods more quickly and that should scare everyone. Only in liberal dominated New York do New York City politicians think a sixteen or seventeen year old doesn’t know that murder or armed robbery is wrong and shouldn’t be responsible for his or her actions. I was proud to vote against this bill and am requesting Gov. Cuomo use state funds to reimburse counties for the added court and administrative costs that our local governments simply can’t afford.”