Andrew Cuomo on Crime

Democratic Governor


Signed police reform package, including ban on chokeholds

The governor has repeatedly called for the repeal of 50-A, a statute used by police departments to keep disciplinary records secret. Included in the package is a repeal of 50-A, a ban on chokeholds and a ban on false race-based 911 calls. One bill will clarify that a person not under arrest has the right to record police activity and maintain custody and control of the recording. The governor called the package "nation-leading criminal justice and police reform bills."
Source: U.S. News & World Report on 2022 New York gubernatorial race , Dec 12, 2020

Supports higher minimum wage for prison industry workers

Of course, in New York you get criticized for everything. There were complaints that it was an exploitation of the prison population to have inmates making hand sanitizer. I agree inmates are paid too little for the work they perform, and I have supported a higher minimum wage for inmates. But the fact that the prisoners were already making hand sanitizer and had been for years fell on deaf ears. The fact that the prison industry program was also voluntary fell on deaf ears. But as I have learned, an executive must make a decision that is right even if not everyone agrees. It is a difficult balance to do the right thing rather than the popular thing when your position is dependent on the support of the people. The only path and rational I have found is to always assume that you are serving your last term and that what matters most is your legacy of success and integrity.
Source: American Crisis, by Andrew Cuomo, p.64 , Oct 13, 2020

Bail reform is right, but complicated

Bail reform is right. You have a criminal justice system that basically says now you get arrested, if you can make bail you're released, if you can't make bail you sit in Rikers for two years and get abused until you have your day in court. Bail is predicated on wealth. That's not justice. Changing the system, which we started to do, is complicated and then has a number of ramifications. There's no doubt this is still a work in progress and there are other changes that have to be made.
Source: 2020 New York State of the State address , Jan 8, 2020

Eliminate cash bail

We need to reform our criminal justice system by eliminating cash bail once and for all. And enacting speedy trial. And discovery reform.

ACLU commentary on California's elimination of cash bail; NPR, 8/29/18: Every day, people who have not been convicted of a crime are incarcerated pretrial because they're too poor to afford cash bail. The California Legislature eliminated this cash bail industry, and that's a good thing. But it replaces this current system with another system that could be even worse, by creating broad new categories of people who will now be presumed to be subjected to pretrial incarceration--essentially algorithms that pop out a number that tells a judge what risk you are. Communities of color are over-policed & come in contact with the criminal justice system much more frequently. If you build an algorithm that gives you a worse score on a risk assessment because you have been arrested before, then that perpetuates racial bias in the criminal justice system.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to the New York legislature , Jan 15, 2019

Focus on enforcement: $45M for anti-gang operations

When it comes to public safety, we spent a hundred millions dollars to fight MS-13 the fight goes on, let's invest another $45 million dollar in anti-gang operations, violence prevention, and school base support. We have a growing problem of online sexual offenses against children. We want to launch a specialized police unit to prosecute these predators, nothing could be worse. Let's pass the New York City speed camera laws and stop playing politics that they did last year.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the New York legislature , Jan 15, 2019

Equal justice requires bail reform; eliminate the money

What's happening now is if you can't pay the bail, you sit in jail; If you can make the bail, you get out. That's not justice. That's two forms of justice, one for the rich and one for the poor. We want to change the law this year, get rid of the money, and the judge decides either you're a significant risk to public safety, in which case you stay in, or you're released on your own recognizance. Whether you're rich or poor, you're black or white, same standard.
Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention , Jan 15, 2018

Raise the Age: prosecute 16- and 17-year olds as juveniles

Proposal #62: Raise the Age: New York is one of only two states in the nation that has no legal authority to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles. "Raise the Age" is a movement advocating for juvenile responses to crimes committed by minors.

The governor's Commission recently recommended a comprehensive set of reforms that would change how the justice system treats all youths. They are carefully designed to preserve public safety by maintaining District Attorney control over serious crimes of violence; allow for violent felony offenses given Youthful Offender status to be considered in sentencing if the youth continues to commit such offenses; and provide for the capacity to impose longer sentences for the most egregious crimes of violence. The Commission estimates that, if implemented, these reforms will prevent between 1,500 and 2,400 crimes against people every five years across the State.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 New York Legislature , Jan 21, 2015

Recruit more minorities into law enforcement

Proposal #63: Restore trust between community and law enforcement: Underlying the American dream of economic opportunity is a foundational belief and trust in our justice system. But that belief and trust has been questioned, presenting a problem in both perception and in reality. To restore trust and respect between community and law enforcement the Governor proposes a number of recommendations, which include the following:
  1. Create a statewide Reconciliation Commission to address police/community relations in affected neighborhoods.
  2. Recruit more minorities into law enforcement.
  3. Obtain and make publicly available race and ethnic data on summonses, misdemeanors, and other police actions statewide.
  4. Fund replacement vests, body cameras and bullet-proof glass for patrol cars in high crime areas.
  5. District Attorneys may issue a report in police cases where an unarmed civilian dies and the case is not presented to the grand jury or the grand jury fails to indict.
Source: State of the State address to 2015 New York Legislature , Jan 21, 2015

Death penalty is bad policy but good politics

A sense of chaos can have a profound effect on politics and what voters expect from their political leaders. America has always stressed and argued over the tensions between liberty and order, freedom and certainty. When disorder prevails, the premium becomes high for ideas that can, or seem to, promise a return to stability and safety. Against this backdrop, crime and punishment became the must-address topic for the candidates. Even though mayors have no say in capital punishment cases or law, expanding the method of execution became a hot-button topic in the race. My father believed that state-sanctioned killing appealed to our worst impulses. He said the city needed more cops, experienced judges, and an overhaul of the criminal justice system. He was right as a matter of policy, but wrong as a matter of politics.
Source: All Things Possible, by Andrew M. Cuomo, p. 36 , Oct 14, 2014

End "stop and frisk"; it stigmatizes young black males

We are one New York, and as one New York we will not tolerate discrimination. There is a challenge posed by the "stop and frisk" police policies. Roughly 50,000 arrests in New York City for marijuana possession, more than any other possession. Of those 50,000 arrests, 82% are black and Hispanic. Of the 82% that are black and Hispanic, 69% are under the age of 30 years old. These are young, predominately black and Hispanic males. These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a permanent record. It's not fair. It's not right. It must end. And it must end now. The problem is the disconnect because marijuana on a person is a violation, marijuana in public view is a misdemeanor. There must be parity. Decriminalize the public view with 15 grams or less so there is fairness and parity in the system and we stop stigmatizing these people, making it harder to find a job, making it harder to get into to school, making it harder to turn their lives around at a very young age.
Source: 2013 State of the State Speech to NY Legislature , Jan 9, 2013

Videotape all interrogations for serious crimes

The State must do more to ensure the integrity and reliability of evidence pertaining to confessions. False confessions have been shown to contribute to wrongful convictions. In order to help prevent wrongful convictions based on false confessions, as well as to protect law enforcement from erroneous allegations of coercion, interrogations of persons arrested for serious offenses such as homicide, kidnapping and certain sex offenses should be recorded on video. It is time that New York joined the 18 states and District of Columbia that have, either legislatively or by judicial action, implemented this practice.

Governor Cuomo will propose that videotaped interrogations be required for suspects in serious crimes, including homicides, kidnapping and violent sex crimes.

Source: NY Rising 2013 State of the State booklet , Jan 9, 2013

Prisons are not an economic development program

We eliminated over 3,800 prison beds and 370 juvenile facility beds--because we finally accepted that prisons are not an economic development program. In addition to the closure of Tryon Boys Residential Center in January 2011, we shut four residential juvenile facilities and downsized another four. We have worked to put a greater emphasis on prevention and on community-based alternatives to incarceration.
Source: 2012 New York State of the State Address , Jan 4, 2012

Collect DNA for all crimes, to exonerate the innocent

I propose that we expand our DNA databank. This databank helps establish guilt and innocence; it has provided leads in over 2,700 convictions and--just as important--led to 27 exonerations of the wrongfully accused. Currently, DNA is collected only from those convicted of less than half the crimes on the books in New York State. Among the exclusions are numerous crimes that are often precursors to violent offenses. As a result, we are missing an important opportunity to prevent needless suffering of crime victims. We are also failing to use the most powerful tool we have to exonerate the innocent. I will propose a bill requiring the collection of a DNA sample from any person convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor. DNA can be the key to exonerating the innocent, convicting the guilty, and protecting all New Yorkers in a fair and cost-effective way. Let's put New York on the cutting edge of criminal justice and become the first state in the nation to collect DNA on all crimes.
Source: 2012 State of the State into New York voting record A2958 , Jan 4, 2012

Incarcerating juveniles increases likelihood of offending

Our infrastructure is stuck in 20th century ideas while our practice has moved into the 21st. Recognizing that incarcerating low to medium risk juveniles actually increases the likelihood of future offending, we have turned to newer and more effective methods that will reduce the rate of adult reoffending.

My Administration will commit to reforming the system--making sure that our troubled youth populations are best served with meaningful programming, so that they may go on to live productive lives.

Source: 2011 State of the State speech to New York legislature , Jan 5, 2011

Other governors on Crime: Andrew Cuomo on other issues:
NY Gubernatorial:
Andrew Giuliani
Andrew Yang
Bill de Blasio
Cynthia Nixon
Eric Adams
George Pataki
Howie Hawkins
John DeFrancisco
Kathy Hochul
Kirsten Gillibrand
Larry Sharpe
Lee Zeldin
Letitia James
Marc Molinaro
Mike Bloomberg
Rob Astorino
Shaun Donovan
Tom Suozzi
Zephyr Teachout
NY Senatorial:
Alex Merced
Charles Schumer
Chele Farley
Dave Webber
Kirsten Gillibrand
Marc Molinaro
Scott Noren
Wendy Long
Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
CA Recall:
S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Former U.S.Rep Doug Ose(R)
vs.Laura Smith(R)
vs.Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner(R)
vs.Radio Host Larry Elder(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
vs.Gavin Newsom(D)
NJ: Incumbent Phil Murphy(D)
vs.State Rep. Jack Ciattarelli(R)
vs.Candidate Hirsh Singh(R)
vs.GOP Chair Doug Steinhardt(R)
VA: Incumbent Ralph Northam(D,term-limited)
vs.Former Governor Terry McAuliffe(D)
vs.CEO Glenn Youngkin(R)
vs.A.G. Mark Herring(D)
vs.State Sen. Amanda Chase(I)
vs.Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax(D)
vs.State Rep. Jennifer Carroll Foy(D)
vs.State Rep. Lee Carter(D)
vs.State Sen. Jennifer McClellan(D)
vs.State Rep. Kirk Cox(R)
vs.CEO Pete Snyder(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.Former Gov. Matt Bevin(? R)

vs.Senator Rand Paul(? R)
vs.State Auditor Mark Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Biden Adviser Cedric Richmond(? D)
vs.Senator John Neely Kennedy(? R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2022:
AK: Incumbent Mike Dunleavy(R)
vs.Bill Walker(I)
vs.Les Gara(D)
vs.Billy Toien(L)
AL: Incumbent Kay Ivey(R)
vs.Chris Countryman(D)
vs.Stacy Lee George(R)
vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R)
AR: Incumbent Asa Hutchinson(R,term-limited)
vs.Trump Adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders(R)
vs.A.G. Leslie Rutledge(R,withdrew Nov.2021)
vs.Ricky Dale Harrington(L)
vs.Anthony Bland(D)
AZ: Incumbent Doug Ducey(R,term-limited)
Mayor Marco Lopez(D)
vs.Former news anchor Kari Lake(R)
vs.Secretary of State Katie Hobbs(D)
vs.State Treasurer Kimberly Yee(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Matt Salmon(R)
vs.Steve Gaynor(R)
vs.State Rep.Aaron Lieberman(D)
vs.Jorge Rivas(R)
vs.Karrin Taylor Robson(R)
CA: Incumbent Gavin Newsom(D)
vs.S.D.Mayor Kevin_Faulconer(R)
vs.Former Gov. nominee John Cox(R)
vs.Kevin Paffrath(D)
CO: Incumbent Jared Polis(D)
vs.Mayor Greg Lopez(R)
vs.Heidi Ganahl(R)
CT: Incumbent Ned Lamont(D)
vs.Bob Stefanowski(? R)
FL: Incumbent Ron DeSantis(R)
vs.Former Gov.Charlie Crist(D)
vs.Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried(D)
vs.Annette Taddeo(D)
GA: Incumbent Brian Kemp(R)
vs.Minority Leader Stacey Abrams(D)
vs.Senate candidate Shane Hazel(L)
vs.State Rep.Vernon Jones(R)
vs.2020 candidate Kandiss Taylor(R)
vs.Senator David Perdue(R)
HI: Incumbent David Ige(D,term-limited)
vs.Marissa Kerns(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Josh Green(D)
vs.Vicky Cayetano(D)
vs.Paul Morgan(R)
vs.State Rep.Kirk Caldwell(D)
IA: Incumbent Kim Reynolds(R)
vs.Deidre DeJear(D)
vs.State Rep.Ras Smith(D)
ID: Incumbent Brad Little(R)
vs.Raul Labrador(R)
vs.Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin(R)
vs.Ammon Bundy(R)
vs.Ed Humphreys(R)
IL: Incumbent J.B. Pritzker(D)
vs.State Sen.Darren Bailey(R)
vs.Paul Schimpf(R)
vs.Jesse Sullivan(R)
KS: Incumbent Laura Kelly(D)
vs.Jeff Colyer(R)
vs.State Sen.Derek Schmidt(R)
vs.Chase LaPorte(R)
Gubernatorial Debates 2022 (continued):
MA: Incumbent Charlie Baker(R)
vs.Lt.Gov.Karyn Polito(R)
vs.State Rep. Geoff Diehl(R)
vs.Harvard Professor Danielle Allen(D)
vs.State Sen.Ben Downing(D)
vs.State Sen.Sonia Chang-Diaz(D)
vs.Shiva Ayyadurai(I)
MD: Incumbent Larry Hogan(R,term-limited)
vs.State Del.Robin Ficker(R) vs.State Del.Peter Franchot(D) vs.State Del.Kelly M. Schulz(R) vs.Secretary John B. King(D) vs.Ashwani Jain(D) vs.State A.G. Doug Gansler(D) vs.County Exec. Rushern Baker(D) vs.Secretary Thomas Perez(D) vs.Wes Moore(D) vs.Dan Cox(R)
ME: Incumbent Janet Mills(D)
vs.Former Gov. Paul LePage(R)
MI: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer(D)
vs.Chief James Craig(R)
vs.Police Chief Tudor Dixon(R)
vs.Garrett Soldano(R)
vs.John E. James(? R)
MN: Incumbent Tim Walz(DFL)
vs.Mayor Mike Murphy(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Jensen(R)
vs.Michelle Benson(R)
vs.Paul Gazelka(R)
NE: Incumbent Pete Ricketts(R,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Senator Bob Krist(R)
vs.Chuck Herbster(R)
vs.Jim Pillen(R)
vs.Brett Lindstrom(R)
vs.Carol Blood(D)
NH: Incumbent Chris Sununu(R)
vs.Dan Feltes(D)
vs.Karen Testerman(R)
NM: Incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham(D)
vs.Commissioner Jay Block(R)
vs.State Rep.Rebecca Dow(R)
vs.Mark Ronchetti(R)
NV: Incumbent Steve Sisolak(D)
vs.A.G.Adam Laxalt(R)
vs.North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee(R)
vs.Dean Heller(R)
vs.Joe Lombardo(R)
vs.Mayor Michele Fiore(R)
NY: Incumbent Andrew Cuomo(D,resigned)
vs.Acting Gov.Kathy Hochul(D)
vs.Rob Astorino(R)
vs.Andrew Giuliani(R)
vs.US.Rep.Lee Zeldin(R)
vs.Tom Suozzi(D)
vs.Attorney General Letitia James(D)
OH: Incumbent Mike DeWine(R)
vs.Former Rep.Jim Renacci(R)
vs.Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley(D)
vs.Mayor John Cranley(D)
OK: Incumbent Kevin Stitt(R)
vs.State Sen. Ervin Yen(R)
vs.Connie Johnson(D)
vs.Joy Hofmeister(D)
OR: Incumbent Kate Brown(D,term-limited)
vs.Gov. nominee Bud Pierce(R)
vs.Paul Romero(R)
vs.Casey Kulla(D)
vs.Kerry McQuisten(R)
vs.Tina Kotek(D)
vs.Nicholas Kristof(D)
vs.Tobias Read(D)
PA: Incumbent Tom Wolf(D,term-limited)
vs.U.S.Rep. Lou Barletta(R)
vs.Commissioner Joe Gale(R)
vs.A.G.Josh Shapiro(D)
vs.William McSwain(R)
vs.U.S.Rep.Melissa Hart(R)
vs.State Sen.Scott Martin(R)
RI: Incumbent Gina Raimondo(D,to Cabinet)
vs.Gov. Dan McKee(D)
vs.Secy.Matt Brown(D)
vs.Mayor Allan Fung(R ?)
vs.Luis-Daniel Munoz(D)
vs.RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea(D)
vs.Seth Magainer(D)
vs.Helena Foulkes(D)
SC: Incumbent Henry McMaster(R)
vs.US.Rep.Joe Cunningham(D)
vs.State senator Mia McLeod(D)
SD: Incumbent Kristi Noem(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
TN: Incumbent Bill Lee(R)
vs.Carnita Atwater(D)
vs.J B Smiley(D)
TX: Incumbent Greg Abbott(R)
vs.Beto O`Rourke(D)
vs.Chad Prather(R)
vs.State Sen.Don Huffines(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Allen West(R)
vs.Deidre Gilbert(D)
VT: Incumbent Phil Scott(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
WI: Incumbent Tony Evers(D)
vs.CEO Jonathan Wichmann(R)
vs.Rebecca Kleefisch(R)
WY: Incumbent Mark Gordon(R)
vs.Rex Rammell(R)
vs.Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss(? D)
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Page last updated: Dec 31, 2021