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A04881 Summary:

COSPNSRNolan, Glick, Dinowitz, Rosenthal L, Abinanti, Simotas, Quart, Seawright, Simon, Gottfried, Peoples-Stokes, Weprin, Sepulveda, Mosley, De La Rosa, Hyndman, Perry, Jaffee, Dilan, Walker, Dickens, Ortiz
Amd 70.15, Pen L
Reduces certain sentences of imprisonment for misdemeanors to three hundred sixty-four days.
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A04881 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to reducing certain sentences of imprisonment for misdemeanors to three hundred sixty-four days   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL: Reduces the maximum sentence for misdemeanor offenses from one year to three hundred sixty-four days.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Bill section one amends subdivisions 1 of section 70.15 of the Penal Law to reduce by one day, from one year (365 days) to 364 days, the maximum definite sentence of imprisonment that may be imposed for a misdemeanor conviction. A conforming change is made to PL § 70.15 (3), to extend that one day reduction to provisions of law outside the Penal Law that otherwise authorize a misdemeanor sentence of up to one year imprison- ment. Bill section two adds a new subdivision 1-a to Penal Law § 70.15. This subdivision extends this one day reduction to misdemeanor sentences of one year imposed before, on or after the effective date of the bill. The change will occur by operation of law; any person sentenced to a period of one year under the former provisions of law would be able to obtain an updated certificate of conviction from the court setting forth such amended sentence. Bill section three provides that the bill will take effect immediately.   JUSTIFICATION: Because of the way New York's Penal Law interacts with federal immi- gration law, non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents, with recent or long-past criminal charges sometimes face unexpected and undu- ly harsh immigration consequences. One significant concern arises because the maximum potential sentence of imprisonment for conviction of a Class A misdemeanor in New York is one year imprisonment. Under federal immigration law, the potential for a one year sentence can trigger deportation proceedings and removal from the United States in many circumstances, even when the person spent no time in jail at all. Further, an actual sentence of one year in jail for a misdemeanor conviction serves to disqualify New Yorkers in some vulnerable popu- lations from consideration for certain protections, such as asylum (based on a well-founded fear of persecution in the foreign country) and protection from domestic violence. Such a sentence also divests immigration judges, in certain cases, of discretion to consider circumstances that may militate against deporta- tion, such as long-term residence in the U.S., past military service, and others. Unnecessary deportations adversely affect the financial and social systems in New York. When New Yorkers - many of whom have been green card holders for decades - are deported for lesser crimes and denied consideration for immigration relief, families may become dependent on social services and safety net assistance, children may have to forego education, tax revenues decrease, and employers may experience signif- icant difficulties due to a loss of qualified workers. New York is home to one of the most diverse populations in the country. More than twenty percent of New Yorkers are foreign born. Throughout New York's history, immigrant populations have contributed immensely to the economy and the cultural fabric of this state. Rigid immigration consequences in the law should not be countenanced. The modest change in this legislation will assure appropriate discretion for federal immi- gration authorities in certain matters, and help protect this group of non-citizens from arbitrary deportation and the denial of consideration of individual circumstances.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A. 9857 (2016) (Crespo)   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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A04881 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 3, 2017
        Introduced  by M. of A. CRESPO, NOLAN, GLICK, DINOWITZ, KAVANAGH, ROSEN-
          and referred to the Committee on Codes
        AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to reducing certain sentences
          of imprisonment for misdemeanors to three hundred sixty-four days

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Subdivisions 1 and 3 of section 70.15  of  the  penal  law,
     2  subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 291 of the laws of 1993, are amended
     3  to read as follows:
     4    1.  Class  A  misdemeanor.  A  sentence  of imprisonment for a class A
     5  misdemeanor shall be a  definite  sentence.  When  such  a  sentence  is
     6  imposed  the term shall be fixed by the court, and shall not exceed [one
     7  year] three hundred sixty-four days; provided, however, that a  sentence
     8  of  imprisonment  imposed  upon a conviction of criminal possession of a
     9  weapon in the fourth degree as defined in  subdivision  one  of  section
    10  265.01  must  be  for  a period of no less than [one year] three hundred
    11  sixty-four days when the conviction was the result of a plea  of  guilty
    12  entered  in  satisfaction of an indictment or any count thereof charging
    13  the defendant with the  class  D  violent  felony  offense  of  criminal
    14  possession  of  a  weapon  in the third degree as defined in subdivision
    15  four of section 265.02, except that  the  court  may  impose  any  other
    16  sentence  authorized  by  law  upon a person who has not been previously
    17  convicted in the five years immediately preceding the commission of  the
    18  offense  for  a felony or a class A misdemeanor defined in this chapter,
    19  if the court having regard to the nature and circumstances of the  crime
    20  and  to  the history and character of the defendant, finds on the record
    21  that such sentence would  be  unduly  harsh  and  that  the  alternative
    22  sentence  would  be consistent with public safety and does not deprecate
    23  the seriousness of the crime.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 4881                             2
     1    3. Unclassified misdemeanor. A sentence of imprisonment for an unclas-
     2  sified misdemeanor shall be a definite sentence. When such a sentence is
     3  imposed the term shall be fixed by the court, and shall be in accordance
     4  with the sentence specified in the law or  ordinance  that  defines  the
     5  crime  but,  in  any event, it shall not exceed three hundred sixty-four
     6  days.
     7    § 2. Section 70.15 of the penal law is amended by adding a new  subdi-
     8  vision 1-a to read as follows:
     9    1-a. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, whenever the
    10  phrase  "one  year"  or "three hundred sixty-five days" or "365 days" or
    11  any similar phrase appears in any provision of this chapter or any other
    12  law in reference to the definite sentence or maximum  definite  sentence
    13  of  imprisonment that is imposed, or has been imposed, or may be imposed
    14  after enactment of this subdivision, for  a  misdemeanor  conviction  in
    15  this  state,  such  phrase  shall mean, be interpreted and be applied as
    16  three hundred sixty-four days.
    17    (b) The amendatory provisions of this subdivision are ameliorative and
    18  shall apply to all persons who are sentenced before,  on  or  after  the
    19  effective  date of this subdivision, for a crime committed before, on or
    20  after the effective date of this subdivision.
    21    (c) Any sentence for a misdemeanor conviction  imposed  prior  to  the
    22  effective date of this subdivision that is a definite sentence of impri-
    23  sonment  of one year, or three hundred sixty-five days, shall, by opera-
    24  tion of law, be changed to, mean and be interpreted  and  applied  as  a
    25  sentence  of  three  hundred  sixty-four  days. In addition to any other
    26  right of a person to obtain a record of a proceeding against him or her,
    27  a person so sentenced prior to the effective date  of  this  subdivision
    28  shall be entitled to obtain, from the criminal court or the clerk there-
    29  of,  a  certificate  of  conviction,  as described in subdivision one of
    30  section 60.60 of the criminal procedure law, setting forth such sentence
    31  as the sentence specified in this paragraph.
    32    § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
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