NY: DA Allows No Jail Time for Bias Assault

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes thinks a conviction for first-degree assault should carry no jail time - if the victim's OK with that.

That's just weird.

One year ago, a group of brass-knuckle-armed Orthodox Jews attacked Shahid Amber, a Pakistani, shouting, "Go back to your country!"

This week, David Brach, 17, and Yitzi Horowitz, 16, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault - that is, to a crime that involves inflicting serious injury. Yossi Friedman, 18, and Benjamin Wasserman, 17, pleaded to attempted second-degree assault as a hate crime.

All got conditional discharges; because Amber didn't want jail time for them, they got none. Hynes, citing the assailants' ages and their admissions that "personal hatred" was the motive for their crime, called it a "fair" outcome.

But fair for whom?

How was justice served?

Crimes are more than transgressions against their victims - they are grave affronts to the rule of law, to society.

Moreover, supporters of hate-crime statutes (Hynes is; we're not) claim such offenses injure more than just the victim - they are intended to intimidate the entire targeted group.

But DA Hynes - respected for his handling of some of New York's highest-profile racially motivated incidents - undermines both principles in this case.


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