Hawley Joins Bipartisan Effort to End ‘Raise The Age’ Law

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) joined a coalition of assembly members and district attorneys from across the state and on both sides of the political aisle, to call for an end to the dangerous ”Raise the Age” law that has been in place in New York since 2018. The law was designed to keep 16- and 17-year-olds arrested for violent felonies from being convicted of those felonies by keeping their cases in family court rather than the Youth Part of the Superior Court.

The felonies that fall under this category range from sex offenses to dangerous weapon offenses and even making terroristic threats. This law has provided a loophole for more organized crime by providing an incentive to recruit adolescents into their fold, as their sentences often end up being lighter and their records sealed in family court. Hawley wants to close this loophole.

“Violent crime is violent crime, plain and simple, and if adolescents are going to commit violent crime they must face consequences,” Hawley said. “It’s an unfortunate feedback loop that kids are being indoctrinated into criminal activity because of the way the law is written to leave them facing minor consequences, and it falls to the state government to close that loop before more people get hurt.”

According to the Department of Criminal Justice Services, in 2021 only 257 of the 3,303 arrests of adolescents for violent crime received a conviction. Those arrested include 112 cases of homicide, 80 cases for sexual offenses, 587 cases for firearm offenses, 691 cases for robbery, 213 cases for burglary and 20 cases for making a terroristic threat.

“This law treats the offender as the primary victim rather than those who are afflicted by the committed crimes. It is wrong to continue operating this state in this way. We must repeal Raise the Age,” Hawley concluded.