Bill S6338-2011

Enhances criminal penalties for criminal mischief and larceny offenses committed at a place of religious worship

Enhances criminal penalties for criminal mischief and larceny offenses committed at a place of religious worship.

Details

Actions

  • May 8, 2012: referred to codes
  • May 8, 2012: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • May 8, 2012: PASSED SENATE
  • May 7, 2012: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 2, 2012: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 1, 2012: 1ST REPORT CAL.647
  • Jan 30, 2012: REFERRED TO CODES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - May 1, 2012
Ayes (13): Saland, DeFrancisco, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Lanza, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Huntley, Parker, Squadron, Espaillat
Ayes W/R (2): Gianaris, Perkins
Nays (1): Duane

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6338

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to criminal mischief and larceny offenses committed at a place of religious worship

PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to enhance the criminal penalties for damaging property in any house of worship and to heighten the criminal penalties for stealing or damaging religious objects from within a house of worship or its curtilage.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Adds a new Penal Law section 145.05(3} that relates to criminal mischief in the 3rd Degree. This provision makes it the crime of criminal mischief in the 3rd degree if anyone damages any property, regardless of its nature or value, in any building, structure, or upon the curtilage of such building that is used as a place of religious worship. This type of criminal mischief is a class E felony. Under current law, the property must have a value exceeding $250 or a similar crime had been committed previously by the same person.

Section 2: Amends Penal Law section 145.10 that relates to criminal mischief in the 2nd Degree. This provision makes it a crime of criminal mischief in the 2nd Degree if any damage occurs specifically to a scroll, religious vestment, vessel, an item comprising of a display or a religious symbol, or any other item kept or used in connection with religious worship in any building, structure, or upon the curtiage of such building that is used as a place of worship, regardless of the value of such property. Under current law, such property must have a value of $1,500 or more to be convicted of this crime. While under this bill, any specifically articulated religious items damages would trigger this crime. This type of crime is a class D Felony.

Section 3: Amends Penal Law section 155.30(9)that relates to grand larceny in the fourth degree. Violation of this section of the Penal Law is a class E Felony. Under current law, this section is violated if specific religious property such as a scroll, religious vestment, vessel or other item is stolen and such item has a value of $100 or more and it is used in connection with religious worship. Under the provisions of this bill, any property taken from structure or building used for religious worship, regardless of the property's value or what the property is, is considered to be a violation of Penal Law section 155.30.

Section 4: Amends Penal Law section 155.35 that relates to grand larceny in the 3rd Degree. Under this bill, certain specified religious property such as a scroll, religious vestment, vessel or

other religious items that is stolen from a house of worship, regardless of its value, shall be a class D felony.

Currently, under this section of law, the property must have a value in excess of $3,000.

Section 5: Amends Penal Law section 155.40(2) that relates to grand larceny in the 2nd degree. This provision heightens the penalty for the theft of specific religious items in a house of worship such as a scroll, vestment, vessel and other items that represent a religious faith and such items have a value of $250.00 and such items are used in connection with religious worship in any house of worship. Violation of this crime is a class C felony. Under current law, the value of such property must be more than $50,000 or such property was obtained my means such as extortion.

Section 6: Effective Date.

JUSTIFICATION: It is important for us, as a society, to impose the appropriate criminal sanctions for those persons who willfully enter into a house of worship to either destroy any property in such building or structure that serves as a house of worship. Further, for those that enter into a house of worship to steal any items, especially religious items, the criminal penalties for such acts need to be enhanced.

Many religious congregations wish to keep their houses of worship open to the public for at least part of the week and for general convenience so that members of their community or the public at large may enter into a house of worship to reflect or to pray. with all of our busy schedules, it is important that such houses of worship can remain open at convenient times during the week so that we may all have the ability to enter into such houses to reflect and to pray.

Recently, there has been a series of violations of houses of worship in the Bronx and the theft of sacred religious property and other types of damage to such houses of God. It is important for us, as a society, to protect religious houses so that they may remain open for all of us to use. Further, such places must be protected from acts of violence, or the destruction of their property, especially sacred religious property. Much of this property has not only religious significance, which merits its enhanced protection, but historical and cultural significance. Further, much of these religious items are irreplaceable. These religious places of worship must be protected for the benefit of our communities and so that they may be used by future generations.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the date upon which it shall have become law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6338 IN SENATE January 30, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. KLEIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to criminal mischief and larceny offenses committed at a place of religious worship THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 145.05 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 276 of the laws of 2003, is amended and a new subdi- vision 3 is added to read as follows: 2. damages property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars[.]; OR 3. DAMAGES PROPERTY WHICH, REGARDLESS OF ITS NATURE OR VALUE, IS IN ANY BUILDING, STRUCTURE OR UPON THE CURTILAGE OF SUCH BUILDING OR STRUC- TURE USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, AS INCORPORATED UNDER THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW OR THE EDUCATION LAW. S 2. Section 145.10 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 961 of the laws of 1971, is amended to read as follows: S 145.10 Criminal mischief in the second degree. A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the second degree when with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he OR SHE has such right, he OR SHE: 1. damages property of another person in an amount exceeding one thou- sand five hundred dollars[.]; OR 2. DAMAGES PROPERTY WHICH CONSISTS OF A SCROLL, A RELIGIOUS VESTMENT, A VESSEL, AN ITEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS WHICH FORMS A REPRESENTATIVE EXPRESSION OF FAITH OR ANY OTHER ITEM KEPT OR USED IN CONNECTION WITH RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IN ANY BUILDING, STRUCTURE OR UPON THE CURTILAGE OF SUCH BUILDING OR STRUCTURE USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, AS INCORPORATED UNDER THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW OR THE EDUCATION LAW. Criminal mischief in the second degree is a class D felony. S 3. Subdivision 9 of section 155.30 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 479 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
9. The property [consists of a scroll, religious vestment, a vessel, an item comprising a display of religious symbols which forms a repre- sentative expression of faith, or other miscellaneous item of property which: (a) has a value of at least one hundred dollars; and (b) is kept for or used in connection with religious worship in], REGARDLESS OF ITS NATURE OR VALUE, IS TAKEN FROM any building, structure or upon the curtilage of such building or structure used as a place of religious worship by a religious corporation, as incorporated under the religious corporations law or the education law. S 4. Section 155.35 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 464 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: S 155.35 Grand larceny in the third degree. A person is guilty of grand larceny in the third degree when he or she steals property and: 1. when the value of the property exceeds three thousand dollars[,]; or 2. the property is an automated teller machine or the contents of an automated teller machine[.]; OR 3. THE PROPERTY CONSISTS OF A SCROLL, A RELIGIOUS VESTMENT, A VESSEL, AN ITEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS WHICH FORM A REPRESEN- TATIVE EXPRESSION OF FAITH OR ANY OTHER ITEM KEPT OR USED IN CONNECTION WITH RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IN ANY BUILDING, STRUCTURE OR UPON THE CURTILAGE OF SUCH BUILDING OR STRUCTURE USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, AS INCORPORATED UNDER THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW OR THE EDUCATION LAW. Grand larceny in the third degree is a class D felony. S 5. Subdivision 2 of section 155.40 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 515 of the laws of 1986, is amended and a new subdivision 3 is added to read as follows: 2. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by extortion committed by instilling in the victim a fear that the actor or another person will (a) cause physical injury to some person in the future, or (b) cause damage to property, or (c) use or abuse his posi- tion as a public servant by engaging in conduct within or related to his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely[.]; OR 3. THE PROPERTY CONSISTS OF A SCROLL, A RELIGIOUS VESTMENT, A VESSEL, AN ITEM COMPRISING A DISPLAY OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS WHICH FORMS A REPRE- SENTATIVE EXPRESSION OF FAITH, OR OTHER ITEM OF PROPERTY WHICH: (A) HAS A VALUE OF AT LEAST TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS; AND (B) IS KEPT FOR OR USED IN CONNECTION WITH RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IN ANY BUILDING, STRUCTURE OR UPON THE CURTILAGE OF SUCH BUILDING OR STRUCTURE USED AS A PLACE OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, AS INCORPORATED UNDER THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW OR THE EDUCATION LAW. S 6. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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