Over the last year, our nation has seen an increasing number of violent attacks on Asians as well as hate crimes in general aimed at people of different faiths and ethnicities. More recently, each week there is another story of an unprovoked attack on a member of our Asian American community across the New York metro area.
Nassau’s law enforcement is ready willing and able to prosecute these crimes. A major impediment to prosecution, and the reduction in the number of hate crimes, is that some victims and witnesses are reluctant to come forward. Many are afraid of reprisals from defendants.
The New York’s Bail Reform Law has made this situation worse by making it less likely that victims and witnesses will come forward. In order to successfully apprehend and prosecute perpetrators, there must be a report of the crime and if possible, the cooperation of witnesses.
The Majority at the Legislature is calling for New York State leaders to take immediate action to amend the Bail Reform Law to exclude the requirement that prosecutors must turn over the names and contact information of victims and witnesses to defendants, specifically in cases of hate crimes. Currently, the state law mandates that prosecutors turn over to defendants within 15-days of arraignment the names and contact information of victims and witness.
The Legislators sent a letter to the state leaders demanding that they immediately amend the law.
“We have seen an increase of despicable acts of violence against Asians and other instances of anti-Asian hate,” Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said. “The state Bail Reform Law makes it less likely that perpetrators will be apprehended and prosecuted. State law must be changed so that members of the Asian American community may report crimes without fear of reprisal. The message must be sent loud and clear: Violence and anti-Asian hate will not be tolerated in Nassau County.”