NY State Assembly Speaker: “I Just Don’t Believe Raising Penalties Is Ever A Deterrent to Crime.”

NY State Assembly Speaker: “I Just Don’t Believe Raising Penalties Is Ever A Deterrent to Crime.”


New York State Assembly Chambers, Albany, New York (Photo: Matt Wade, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)

By Steve Pomper 

 We’ve been covering judges lately who give George Soros-type prosecutors a run for their money in the anti-law-and-order arena. But it’s not just radical judges and prosecutors putting people at increased risk of attack by violent criminals. Many political leaders are backstabbing their communities.

An X-Post from Joe Grimaldi, National VP for the Fraternal Order of Police, prompted this article. He wrote, “New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie claims he doesn’t believe harsher penalties help reduce crime, despite the mountain of evidence to contrary.”

X-Post Link

How could we not explore somethings no one should say much less the Speaker of the New York State Assembly whose job is to manage legislation. This includes legislation favorable to cops and law-abiding people but detrimental to criminals.

The New York Post reported, “Heastie, whose position as head of the Assembly is especially powerful, doubled down on his remarks Tuesday, telling reporters in Albany, ‘I simply just said I do not believe that increasing penalties deters crime, and I’d love somebody to give me an example as to when that happened.’”

Is this lawmaker actually asking someone to give him an example of when deterrence worked? Okay, I’ll go. Like everywhere, all the time.

NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) (Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)

 Publicly saying something doesn’t work while knowing you’re demonstrably wrong is solid evidence that the speaker (literal in this case) is espousing ideology over reality. People ask, “Why is that official so stupid?” It’s not stupidity, although I understand that’s what stupid looks like.

Speaker Heastie’s actions, or inactions, are intentional. Look at his comments. He’s telling us what he believes. People should believe him. He wants to make life difficult for ordinary people and the cops and easier for criminals.

Tragically, the people of New York State must depend on a soft-on-crime, anti-cop, and pro-criminal radical in charge of their State Assembly for help with addressing crime. So, while New Yorkers contend with wildly surging violent crime, their leaders reject calls for law and order.

Two of the many calls for help came from New Yorkers victimized by violent criminals. According to the Post, Ramon Acevedo and Lisbel Rodriguez Luna were brutally beaten by their respective assailants at the stores where they worked in the Bronx, Heastie’s district.

A suspect, Oscar Apronti, reportedly attacked Acevedo, a 68-year-old grocery store manager, at a Gristedes supermarket in Chelsea. The Post said that Apronti allegedly (seen in surveillance video) lunged at Acevedo and bashed him with a hammer, causing a gruesome three to four-inch gash on his forehead. Acevedo said, “another half an inch to the right [it] would have ended my life.”

Police arrested Apronti, and the DA charged him with “assault, stalking and criminal possession of a weapon….” I wondered, why not attempted murder? Then I remembered—it’s New York.

Acevedo’s disdain for the Speaker and violent crime, generally, is evident with biting comments like, “New York has become one of the worst places on the planet. Criminals do whatever they want to do. Why? Because there’s no penalty. There’s no deterrent.”

He’s right! Ask any of the NYPD’s over 30,000 cops. They’ll agree wholeheartedly. However, Heastie adamantly disagrees, as if arguing that fire is not hot, and water is not wet.

The Post also reported former Gov. David Paterson blasted Heastie for refusing to back legislation that would “toughen up criminal sentences for violent shoplifters and other thugs who assault retail workers.”

He added, “The politicians take care of themselves instead of the people. They’re not affected. They’re definitely out of touch. They don’t care. They should do their jobs and protect us. If criminals don’t do the time, what’s to deter them from striking again?”

That’s commonsense, which seems elusive in radical leftist legislatures such as in New York. What’s truly ironic is another soft-on-crime leader, Gov. Kathy Hochul, proposed the tougher-on-crime legislation. It’s even more ironic, since she helped cause the current crime mess, she’s now trying to extract herself from.

You’ll recall she wasn’t welcome at slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller’s recent wake on Long Island. Some in attendance reportedly told her, “His blood is on your hands.”

X-Post Link

And the suspect’s vicious, unprovoked attack on Acevedo wasn’t an isolated incident. At another Bronx retail store, thugs savagely attacked cashier Lisbel Rodriguez Luna.

Unknown assailants viciously beat Luna, repeatedly punching her in the face, leaving her with scars as an unwanted reminder of their brutality. It doesn’t matter why the men attacked her, but the dispute was reportedly “over cashing in recyclable bottles.”

“[Heastie] is wrong. Someone that robs and attacks someone needs to be punished. Those people should be in jail,’ Luna, 25, told The Post. ‘They came to my job to abuse me. Out of nowhere, attacked me because they felt like it.’”

Her father-in-law, Jesus Hernandez, said, “He’s [Hastie] in favor of the criminals. The authorities are being very soft. If someone commits an assault like that and nothing happens, what’s going to happen?”

Oooh! I know; I know! They’ll do it again.

Adding insult, and indicative of New York’s criminal injustice system, Luna said she has no idea if her attackers “were ever arrested.” This leads me to believe they weren’t, and even if they were, they’d likely have been released—without bail—like I said, it’s New York.

Both crime victims left their jobs following their assaults. Acevedo retired after 47 years at his store and Luna simply moved away.

The title of an old article by Susan Biali Haas M.D., writing at PsychologyToday.com, nails dealing with government leaders like Heastie: “Don’t Try to Reason with Unreasonable People.”

Two of the Doc’s bullet points stood out for me:

  • “Some people who seem to be ‘unreasonable’ may have a personality disorder.”
  • “When dealing with an unreasonable person, it’s important to give up the hope that they will become the person one wishes they would be.”

Now, I’m no doctor, but I don’t think a personality disorder is Heastie’s problem. I’m inclined toward his warped ideas on crime and deterrence stem from his adopted radical ideology. However, I can see how radical leftist ideology and mental illness could present as similar.

Hastie said, “I think we are going to come up with different ideas on how to deal with retail theft,’ he continued. ‘The question should not be, ‘Are you going to raise penalties because you want to deter crime?’ The question should be, ‘Do you want to raise penalties because you want people in jail longer?’”

Ouch! Intellectual brain freeze!

One does the other, right? We want to raise the penalties to deter crime by putting “people in jail longer.” When penalties are harsher more people will hesitate to commit crimes (deterrence). And, even better, criminals can’t prey on people while locked up (prevention). Hastie uses all the right words; he just puts them in the wrong order.

State Capitol Building, Albany, New York (Photo: Tyler A. McNeil, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0)

Others critics, like Michael Goodwin, in an opinion piece at the Post via MSN, writes, “Yet Heastie is not just another rank-and-file radical bloviating about a Marxist revolution and power to the people… he has a life-or-death grip on every piece of legislation that moves or doesn’t move in Albany, his admission illustrates why lawmakers have allowed and even encouraged the waves of crime and public disorder that are destroying New York.”

Career criminals who should be, or still be, in prison commit many of the violent crimes reported. It was a career criminal who allegedly shot and killed Officer Diller (mentioned above), a husband and father whose wife was robbed of him and whose little boy will now grow up without his dad.

The outrage against the multiple assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders at the hands of repeat offenders is excruciating because they never should have happened.

Criminal violence is bad enough, but when violent crimes are avoidable through the deterrence of stronger laws and prevention through longer sentences, these abominations are difficult for Americans to take.

When any government leader places a perverted ideology that favors violent criminals over law-abiding people, aren’t those leaders as much criminals as the criminals they protect who continue to prey on the people?