Bill S5923-2009

Establishes a civil remedy for victims of bias-related violence

Establishes a civil remedy for victims of bias-related violence or intimidation for deprivation of a civil liberty, property damage, injury or death motivated by race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation to recover actual damages, injunctive relief or other appropriate remedy; includes attorneys fees.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 8, 2010: SUBSTITUTED BY A529
  • Jun 7, 2010: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Jun 3, 2010: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Jun 2, 2010: 1ST REPORT CAL.713
  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jun 18, 2009: REFERRED TO RULES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - Jun 2, 2010
Ayes (9): Schneiderman, Breslin, Duane, Parker, Huntley, Sampson, Klein, Perkins, Squadron
Nays (7): Volker, Saland, DeFrancisco, Bonacic, Golden, Lanza, Flanagan

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5923            REVISED 06/15/10

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to providing a civil remedy for victims of bias-related violence or intimidations

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Currently, there exists no civil remedy for victims of bias-related acts. This bill would provide the vehicle necessary for someone to initiate a civil action against a perpetrator of bias-related violence or intimidation.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one amends the civil rights law by adding a new section 79-n, which established a civil remedy for bias related violence. Section one gives definitions for "disability', "age", "sexual orientation" and "gender".

Section two of the bill provides that any person who intentionally causes damage to the property of another or causes physical injury or death to another because of a belief or perception regarding that person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation shall be liable in a civil action or proceeding maintained by such individual or group, or by the New York State Attorney General for injunctive relief, damages, or any other appropriate relief in law or equity. The bill would also allow a court to award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff.

JUSTIFICATION: While bias-related crimes are most commonly thought of as crimes motivated by race hatred or religious bigotry/zealotry, racial bias-related crimes amount to only 70% of such crimes on the average. Additionally, roughly 18% of bias-related crimes are motivated by prejudice against one's sexual orientation, and approximately 12% of such crimes are motivated by bias against one's ethnicity/national origin and 1% are motivated by bias against disabilities. (See FBI Hate Crimes Index cited below.)

After a widespread rise in bias-related crimes (a/k/a "hate crimes") in the 1980s, Congress enacted the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 (for example, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reported 7,031 incidents of anti-gay violence in 1989). The Act directed the Attorney General of the United States to collect data "about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity." The responsibility for collection and analysis of the statistics was given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In 1994, Congress also passed a federal hate crimes sentence extender, which increased the penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person.

According to the FBI, the following number of hate crimes occurred nationally between 2004 and 2008:

* 2004 - 7,649 hate crimes * 2005 - 7,163 hate crimes * 2006 - 7,722 hate crimes * 2007 - 7,624 hate crimes * 2008 - 9,168 hate crimes

(see http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius 04/offenses reported/hate crime index.html,last visited June 10, 2010.)

Despite these efforts at the federal level however, bias crimes chargeable under federal law did not decrease. In 1992, for example, according to the FBI more than 7,600 hate crimes were reported. Similarly, according to the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith, there were 1,821 anti-semitic incidents in 2004, which was an increase of 17% over the 1,557 incidents reported in 2003, and the largest number of anti-semitic incidents since 1996.

Bias crime chargeable under state law also apparently did not decrease from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. In fact, it may have increased, which led the states to begin passing state hate crimes laws.

In 2000, New York passed its anti Hate Crimes Act. Soon thereafter, the State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) began collecting statistics for bias crimes in New York. (In 1994, DCJS reported that with only 11 % of State Law enforcement agencies reporting, 997 acts of bias related nonviolence or intimidation occurred.)

According to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the following number of hate crimes occurred in New York between 2004 and 2008:

* 2004 - 627 hate crimes * 2005 - 587 hate crimes * 2006 - 620 hate crimes * 2007 - 647 hate crimes * 2008 - 596 hate crimes

(see http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/crimnet/ojsa/hatecrimes2004-08. pdf; last visted June 10, 2010.)

New York has criminalized acts of violence and intimidation motivated by hate. This bill would provide a civil remedy to victims of hate

crimes in addition to any possible criminal prosecution. It is hoped that by complementing the existing criminal remedies with a civil remedy, New York will finally be able to significantly lower the number of bias related crimes that occur here annually.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2008: A.866 - Passed Assembly; died in Senate Codes. 2007: A.866 - 3rd Reading 2006: A.3689 - Gov. Ops; S.3392 - Codes 2005: A.3689 - 3rd Reading; S.3392 - Codes 2004: A.1740 - 3rd Reading; S.373 - Codes 2003: A.1740 - 3rd Reading; S.373 - Codes 2002: A.1720-A - 3rd Reading; S.6909-A - Gov. Ops 2001: A.1720 - 3rd Reading 2000: A187-A - 3rd Reading 1999: A.187 - Gov. Ops 1998: A.1061 - Passed Assembly; died in Senate Rules 1997: A.1061 - Codes 1996: A.8972 - Gov. Ops

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5923 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE June 18, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to providing a civil remedy for victims of bias-related violence or intimidations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The civil rights law is amended by adding a new section 79-n to read as follows: S 79-N. BIAS-RELATED VIOLENCE OR INTIMIDATION; CIVIL REMEDY. 1. THE FOLLOWING DEFINITIONS ARE APPLICABLE TO THIS SECTION: (A) THE TERM "DISABILITY" MEANS A PHYSICAL OR MENTAL IMPAIRMENT THAT SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS A MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITY. (B) THE TERM "AGE" MEANS SIXTY YEARS OF AGE OR MORE. (C) THE TERM "SEXUAL ORIENTATION" MEANS A PERSON'S ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED HOMOSEXUALITY, HETEROSEXUALITY, OR BISEXUALITY. (D) THE TERM "GENDER" MEANS A PERSON'S ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED SEX AND SHALL INCLUDE A PERSON'S GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION. 2. ANY PERSON WHO INTENTIONALLY SELECTS A PERSON OR PROPERTY FOR HARM OR CAUSES DAMAGE TO THE PROPERTY OF ANOTHER OR CAUSES PHYSICAL INJURY OR DEATH TO ANOTHER IN WHOLE OR IN SUBSTANTIAL PART BECAUSE OF A BELIEF OR PERCEPTION REGARDING THE RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ANCESTRY, GENDER, RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, AGE, DISABILITY OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION OF A PERSON, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE BELIEF OR PERCEPTION IS CORRECT, SHALL BE LIABLE, IN A CIVIL ACTION OR PROCEEDING MAINTAINED BY SUCH INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, DAMAGES, OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATE RELIEF IN LAW OR EQUITY. IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE SATIS- FACTION OF THE COURT OR JUSTICE THAT THE RESPONDENT HAS, IN FACT, VIOLATED THIS SECTION, AN INJUNCTION MAY BE ISSUED BY SUCH COURT OR JUSTICE, ENJOINING AND RESTRAINING ANY FURTHER VIOLATION, WITHOUT REQUIRING PROOF THAT ANY PERSON HAS, IN FACT, BEEN INJURED OR DAMAGED THEREBY.
3. WHENEVER THERE SHALL BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, AN APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO A COURT OR JUSTICE HAVING JURISDICTION FOR AN INJUNCTION TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN THE CONTINUANCE OF SUCH ACTIVITY. IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SUCH APPLICATION, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE PROOF AND DETERMINE THE RELEVANT FACTS AND TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES. 4. IN ANY SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING, THE COURT, IN ITS DISCRETION, MAY ALLOW THE PARTY COMMENCING SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING, IF SUCH PARTY PREVAILS, REASONABLE ATTORNEYS' FEES AS PART OF THE COSTS. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.

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