Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref – Brooklyn, Staten Island) issues the following statement with regard to the policy recently announced by Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to consider lesser charges against undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation by federal authorities:
“It is outrageous that a District Attorney, whose job is to enforce the laws of our city and state and ensure that victims receive justice, would create a situation that allows an individual to plea down to a lesser crime simply because he or she is undocumented. This unfairly creates two justice systems: one for citizens, and one for illegal immigrants, with citizens facing harsher penalties.”
The press release issued by District Attorney Gonzalez’s office announcing the new policy can be viewed here: http://www.brooklynda.org/2017/04/24/acting-brooklyn-district-attorney-eric-gonzalez-announces-new-policy-regarding-handling-of-cases-against-non-citizen-defendants/
State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-I-Ref, Staten Island-Brooklyn) today have issued a joint statement regarding the sentencing of Tyrone Howard in the murder of Officer Randolph Holder.
“Today’s sentence of life without parole for Tyrone Howard, the career criminal and gang member who murdered Police Officer Randolph Holder is both appropriate and bitter sweet. Sadly, this tragedy could have been prevented if the courts would have denied this violent criminal entry into a drug diversion program that put Howard back on the street to commit murder. On February 6th, 2017 the Senate passed ‘Officer Randolph Holder’s Law’ (S27/A3404), a bill designed to make necessary reforms to judicial diversion programs to ensure and enhance public safety. Moving forward, it is important that the public and law enforcement officers are protected from violent individuals who take advantage of drug treatment programs to get back on the streets to commit further crimes,” said Senator Golden, a former New York City Police Officer.
“In no circumstance should any person with an extensive criminal history be afforded the privileges, and opportunities to participate in substance abuse treatment programs. These important drug programs should be granted solely to non-gang members with a limited non-violent criminal history and who do not pose a threat to society. Tyrone Howard was a known gang member who had committed numerous crimes and I firmly believe my New York State Criminal Street Gang bill (S2410/A5477), may have helped prevent the tragic murder of Officer Randolph Holder. This anti-gang bill would have provided for extended criminal penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal gang organization and could have kept Howard off the streets. As elected officials we must pass legislation that will keep dangerous gang members off the streets and tighten loop holes to prevent career criminals from terrorizing our streets. My prayers go out to the Holder family and although today’s sentencing will not bring back their loved one, I hope that feel that justice was served,” Golden added.
“A hardened criminal has received the appropriate punishment with a life sentence, but that doesn’t change the fact that one of New York’s Finest was lost in the line of duty and the state law that allowed Tyrone Howard to commit his murder still remains flawed. At the time of Police Officer Randolph Holder’s murder, Mayor de Blasio acknowledged that this is ‘something we have to address in our criminal justice system,’ and ‘he sure as hell shouldn’t have been on the streets’, and Police Commissioner Bratton echoed this sentiment saying, ‘he would have been the last person in New York City I would have wanted to see in a diversion program.’ Despite this, the Assembly still hasn’t acted to close the loophole that allowed Howard to be free. The law needs to require heavier scrutiny in deciding whether to send someone to a drug treatment program instead of prison, and avoid situations in which hardened criminals with multiple felonies can circumvent jail time by attending a treatment program enabling them to prey on addicts who have committed a minor offense and are trying to get their lives back on track. In this case, Tyrone Howard exploited the loophole in the law to avoid prison and return to the streets to wreak more havoc, resulting in the death of a police officer,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis.
NYPD Officer Randolph Holder, who while on patrol in East Harlem on October 20, 2015, was senselessly murdered while responding to a report of shots fired. The person who committed this heinous and irrational crime had five previous drug convictions, was wanted by police in connection with a September 1, 2015 shooting, and had a warrant open for failing to participate in a court ordered treatment. Court records show that despite a lengthy criminal history, the shooter was approved by the Court for a drug treatment program over the objections of the prosecutor, who argued in favor of incarceration given the perpetrator’s history of violence.
(left to right) Dr. O’Keefe and Dr. Guarasci join Assemblywoman Malliotakis and Wagner students in calling for increased tuition assistance.
Today Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-East Shore) was joined by Dr. Richard Guarasci of Wagner College and Dr. James O’Keefe of St. John’s University, along with Wagner College students, at a press conference to oppose Governor Cuomo’s proposed Excelsior Scholarship program and push Malliotakis’s tuition assistance proposals. The Governor’s program would provide free tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000, who attend SUNY and CUNY schools, while Malliotakis’ proposal would increase the household income eligibility threshold so more middle class families can qualify for existing TAP awards. The threshold has not increased since 2000, leaving middle class families earning more than $80,000 without any assistance. Malliotakis has also been pushing for the restoration of TAP assistance for graduate students throughout the past few legislative sessions. It was eliminated in 2010.
“The state’s final budget should include a modernization of the state’s existing Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for New York’s students. The Governor’s ‘free tuition’ plan missed the mark in making college more accessible. We are offering a much more equitable and effective means to finally bring real tuition relief by increasing the household income cap threshold, providing an additional $500 to every TAP recipient with an increase of the maximum TAP award to $6,470, and also make grad programs eligible for TAP,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis. “Students should be able to apply their TAP award at any institution, public or private. The governor’s proposal strips TAP awards from many privately educated college students, which is unfair. Our plan will help more middle class families and allow students and families to pick the college that best meets their educational needs.”
“There are three specific issues to which we need to pay attention: affordability, parity, and portability. Private institutions represent the majority of undergraduates in the State of New York, which is unusual when compared with the rest of the country, and even those schools with smaller endowments will contribute a significant portion of their private funding to assist students with tuition. We also need to achieve parity and portability by offering assistance that doesn’t require the student to attend public institutions, instead offering all of New York’s colleges to them and allowing them to take advantage of academic programs that suit their education goals,” said Dr. Guarasci, President of Wagner College.
According to a study by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), for every $1 in TAP that a student brings to a private college, those colleges provide $23, on average, in financial aid directly from their own funds.
“College affordability and college access are critical and essential issued to St. John’s University. Of all of the private colleges in the state, we are the largest recipient of TAP funds with over 4,000 students receiving more than $12 million in assistance. We need a better proposal that increases assistance for all New York college students,” said Dr. James O’Keefe, Vice Provost of St. John’s University – Staten Island Campus.
A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concluded that “free” tuition would cause private, non-profit colleges and universities to see a drop between 7%-15% in enrollment.
The state budget is currently being negotiated, with a goal of being finalized by the end of this month.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref – Brooklyn, Staten Island) is voicing her opposition to the proposed expansion of the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) speed camera program. Under existing law, the city has the authority to operate 140 speed cameras at specific locations during certain periods of time. Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced their intent to seek state permission to expand the program to include more cameras in more locations despite recent reports that the city has been issuing defective notices of violation since the program’s inception.
“The city’s camera programs, from speed cameras to red light cameras to bus lane cameras, have been fraught with problems since they were activated. By calling for an expansion of the program just days after reports that violations were being issued improperly, it makes you question the city’s motives. Are they really concerned about public safety or do they just want more money?” said Malliotakis. “If it was really about pedestrian safety, the city would add stop signs at school corners, install sidewalks where none exist, clean the snow at bus stops so people don’t have to wait in the street, crack down on individuals driving with suspended licenses, and stop denying federal detainer requests for drunk drivers.”
Section 1180-b (d) of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that a notice of violation delivered to the offender must be accompanied by a certificate, signed by a city technician, affirming that the evidence contained therein is accurate. It has been reported that notices of violation issued by the NYC Department of Finance have never contained the requisite certificates.
“I also fear that this overreliance on cameras will be used as an excuse to stymie expansion of our police force. With our community facing an unprecedented drug epidemic, we must acknowledge that a camera cannot detect when a person is driving under the influence, but a police officer can,” Malliotakis added.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn/Staten Island) and Assemblyman Ron Castorina, Jr. (R,C,I, Ref-South Shore) slammed legislation (A. 6730) that would make voting compulsory for individuals who are eligible to vote in New York State, and punish those who are eligible and don’t vote with a $10 fine. The legislation was introduced in an effort to improve voter turnout numbers in New York, but Malliotakis and Castorina believe this regressive policy does nothing but further the burden on the taxpayers of New York.
“The right to vote is a privilege reserved for each citizen. If a citizen does not want to exercise that privilege, it is also their right,” said Malliotakis. “Government shouldn’t be looking to financially hold its voters hostage or penalize citizens who exercise their rights and freedoms. Policies like this are what make voters apathetic and disenchanted with politics. We should be looking for more ways to ease the heavy burden of taxes, fees and fines already endured by New York’s taxpayers, not add to them.”
Castorina added, “Unfortunately, today the Assembly has continued its relentless effort to nickel and dime the taxpayers of New York with this bill. Assemblywoman Glick’s bill forcing New Yorkers to vote or else face a $10 penalty is an absolute violation of all Americans right to free speech and political expression. Not voting is as much of a constitutional right as voting, and cannot be violated for the purposes of compensating for Hillary Clinton’s disastrous and embarrassing loss in November. I encourage my colleagues to stop wasting the time and money of New York taxpayers and start focusing on legislation that brings back jobs, fuels economic growth, and makes our communities more affordable to live and raise a family.”