New York, NY, November 2, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) filed an amicus brief urging New York State’s highest court to reject a challenge to the New York Hate Crimes Act.
The New York State Court of Appeals is hearing the appeal of Mazin Assi, a man found guilty of a hate crime for placing Molotov cocktails outside a Bronx synagogue in October 2000. The defendant is arguing that he should not have been charged with a hate crime since his actions targeted a building, not a person.
Ron Meier, ADL New York Regional Director, issued the following statement:
Attacks or attempted attacks specifically targeting synagogues, mosques, churches and other houses of worship unequivocally qualify as hate crimes. The language of the New York Hate Crimes Act, and public policy, confirm as much. In this case the perpetrators acknowledged that their actions were motivated by anger toward the Jewish community.
Last year, more than one-third of all reported hate crimes in New York State were against property and the majority of all hate crimes were directed against Jews or Jewish institutions. The Hate Crimes Act was designed to enhance penalties against those who engage in bias-motivated criminal conduct that targets people or property.
A lower appellate court’s ruling upheld the Hate Crimes Act, finding that it applied to crimes against both people and property in March 2009.
The case represented the first time a hate crime was prosecuted under the 2000 New York Hate Crimes Act. ADL spearheaded efforts to enact this legislation, the plain language of which makes clear that it covers crimes against property as well as individuals.