NEW YORK STATE BLACK, PUERTO RICAN, HISPANIC AND ASIAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS
ROOM 442-A, LEGISLATIVE OFFICE BUILDING
ALBANY, NY 12248
EXECUTIVE OFFICERS (518) 455-5347 • FAX: (518) 455-4535
Assemblyman Karim Camara
Assemblyman William Scarborough
Assemblyman Eric Stevenson March 29th, 2012
Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson
Senator George D. Maziarz
Senator William Perkins
708 Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Francisco P. Moya
Albany, NY 12247
MEMBERS AN OPEN LETTER IN LIGHT OF THE LOSS OF TRAYVON MARTIN:
Eric L. Adams
Carmen E. Arroyo Dear Senator Maziarz,
Jeffrion L. Aubry
Inez D. Barron
We, the undersigned members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative
William F. Boyland, Jr.
Caucus, are writing with respect to a bill you have sponsored in the Senate (S.281). First
Nelson L. Castro
introduced (S.7173) in 2007, and reintroduced (S.3211) in 2009, this bill amends the penal law to
Barbara M. Clark
eliminate the requirement that a person attempt to retreat when it is perceived that their life is in
danger, and to instead allow the use of deadly force as soon as said threat is assumed.
Martin M. Dilan
Assemblyman Currently, over half of the states have some form of “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground”
Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
Assemblyman legislation, which eliminates the duty to retreat if one’s home property, premise, or vehicle is
David F. Gantt
Assemblywoman threatened. The law that you have introduced goes beyond the home, stating that one has the
Assemblyman right to use deadly force no matter the location. Furthermore, many of the states that have
enacted these statues protect the defendant not only from criminal charges, but also civil
litigation. Your bill does not clarify whether or not a civil suit may be brought, leading to a
Shirley L. Huntley
nebulous environment of potential lawsuits that would have to be navigated by the courts, as well
as the potential denial of due process to the parties harmed.
Grace Meng A person’s perception of risk is undeniably shaped by personal experience, and a recent study
Velmanette Montgomery has shown that if a person is carrying a weapon, they are more likely to assume that another party
Felix Ortiz is also armed. As the recent tragedy in Florida illustrates, the open ended possibility that comes
Kevin S. Parker with “stand your ground” legislation could lead the escalation of a dispute with another party
Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes in public to the needless use of deadly force.
Jose R. Peralta
N. Nick Perry
According to a recent article in the New York Times, claims of justifiable homicide have tripled
J. Gary Pretlow
since the enactment of the Florida law. Once one party is killed in a confrontation, it is
impossible to discern all of the facts and nuance that occurred during the situation. This creates a
troubling precedent akin to “shoot first, ask questions later”. In this recent case, it took the death
Assemblyman of a young man to bring attention to the present dangers of such legislation.
Assemblyman This bill emboldens individuals to determine what is under their auspices of ownership.
Peter M. Rivera
Assemblyman Therefore, we respectfully ask you recognize the clear and present danger to life and the integrity
Samuel D. Roberts
Assemblywoman of the legal process that your legislation poses if enacted, and to withdraw it promptly.
Robert J. Rodriguez
John L. Sampson
Malcolm A. Smith Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus
Michele R. Titus
Keith L.T. Wright
Benita L. Lewis