POLITICS: Hochul is about to sign the Clean Slate Act — putting more New York lives in jeopardy
Gov. Hochul is expected to sign the Clean Slate Act on Thursday, which will automatically seal records after three years for anyone who committed a misdemeanor and after eight years for anyone who committed a felony (except Class A felonies) and is not a registered sex offender.
If you killed someone and accepted a plea deal or were convicted of manslaughter, you get a “clean slate.”
If you committed a rape alongside armed robbery and the rape wasn’t prosecuted to spare the victim (it especially happens with child victims), you get a “clean slate.”
Not only is this another kick in the gut to victims, felt in the very core of our souls; it is a huge risk to public safety — especially these days as antisemitic attacks are sharply increasing.
No longer will a synagogue be able to see if the person it is hiring committed a hate crime against Jews.
When Hochul signs this awful bill into law, she will give Kim Crawford a clean slate.
Crawford beat her 5-year-old because he broke the TV and then watched him suffer and die slowly for five days instead of getting him help so she did not get in trouble.
She got a manslaughter plea deal.
Also getting a clean slate is a man who lured a cat in so he could punt it like a football — and taunted animal-rights supporters when he left the courtroom, “I’m going to go home and buy me some good shoes.”
These two evil people and the many more like them will now be able to work around your home, your pets and your children without you or their employer ever knowing what they are capable of.
Albany added last-minute language that makes one think the “vulnerable population” will be protected.
But only agencies and employers that already conduct fingerprint or background checks will have access to sealed records.
Everyday people like you and me who hire in-home babysitters, house cleaners and companions for our elderly parents will no longer be able to pay a fee on a computer and conduct our own searches.
Nor will landscapers and construction companies.
So it’s very possible a “Kim Crawford” who couldn’t control her temper with her own child is now responsible for caring for Grandma.
Or someone who committed robbery or identity theft is cleaning your house.
Or someone who committed a hate crime is babysitting your children.
And of course none of our competent leaders in government thought to put any programs in place to track re-offense rates after record sealing.
Nor will there be a national background check before sealing these records — just because someone isn’t breaking the law in one state doesn’t mean he or she is rehabilitated.
Take Lashawn McNeil.
McNeil had a lengthy record in New York, then moved on to wreak havoc in multiple other states before returning and murdering two police officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, last year.
Are you as disgusted as I am?
Clean Slate “advocates” claim they have the backing of “victim groups.”
But the main sponsor, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, blocked me on social media.
The three main groups made up of more than 1,000 families and loved ones of murder victims across New York state and even more across the country all vehemently oppose Clean Slate.
We were robbed of any second chances when the criminals this legislation benefits intentionally took the life of another human being.
Imagine being told first that your violent attacker or the person who killed your child is being released from prison — and now that person can pretend it never even happened, while you, the innocent casualty, will still have to suffer through a life sentence of pain, trauma and grief.
Victims and their loved ones strongly feel Clean Slate will further endanger lives, and unlike other groups we do not look forward to new membership.
There are much simpler, commonsense alternatives, like expanding the sealing process and outreach through public-defender or district-attorney offices so those truly deserving of a second chance are provided with the resources and the opportunity to get one.
We see the destruction and devastation Raise the Age, bail “reform,” Less Is More and the HALT Solitary Confinement Act have caused.
Why are we going even further down this path?
Pro-criminal, anti-victim “reforms” are unsustainable and deadly.
To enact more would epitomize the definition of insanity.
Will Kathy Hochul signing Clean Slate be the final nail in New York’s coffin?
Jennifer Harrison became a victim advocate when her boyfriend was murdered almost 19 years ago. She is executive director of the Victims Rights Reform Council and founder of Victims Rights NY.