Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tedisco: Majority Wrong To Compare
Sex Predator Laws To Rocky Drug Laws

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-C-I, Schenectady, Saratoga) today criticized Majority members who have compared the push for strengthened sex offender laws to the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The 1973 drug laws came to be seen by many as overly punitive and reforms were passed in 2004 and 2005 lessening sentencing guidelines for many non-violent drug offenders.

"The majority of Rockefeller drug cases are victimless crimes. To compare that to the worst crimes imaginable - the sexual molestation, assault and rape of a child - is just wrong," said Tedisco.

Tedisco also took exception with the idea that lawmakers were rushing to pass new sex offense laws.

"We've had a civil confinement bill for child sex predators for 13 years. It's never been given an up or down vote. Is that their definition of haste?" said Tedisco.

Tedisco did give some credit to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for putting forth a bill on civil confinement and for showing a willingness to convene a Joint Conference Committee to resolve differences among bills. He said a Joint Conference Committee was convened on Megan's Law last week and a victory was achieved in the way of a new and strengthened Megan's Law.

Tedisco said, "The Majority bill is weak but at least it's something to start with and something is better than nothing. Under a Joint Conference Committee between both parties and both houses I think we can again achieve a victory for New York's children and families."

According to Tedisco, the Majority bill's biggest shortcoming is the failure to address the more than 5,000 sexually violent predators currently incarcerated in New York State prisons. Under the Majority bill there are numerous procedural hurdles, including a previously rendered special verdict, for an offender to even be eligible for consideration of confinement. It's a strict standard for future sex offenders, but virtually impossible to apply for those currently incarcerated.

"The whole point of passing this law was to address those offenders currently in prison who will soon be released back into our communities. We already know what they've done and the evil they are capable of," said Tedisco.

New York State Assembly
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