Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests
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Cuomo Seeks Cut in Frisk Arrests
Posted by CN Staff on June 04, 2012 at 04:58:57 PT
By Thomas Kaplan
Source: New York Times 
New York -- Wading into the debate over stop-and-frisk police tactics, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to ask legislators on Monday for a change in New York State law that would drastically reduce the number of people who could be arrested for marijuana possession as a result of police stops. The governor will call for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, administration officials said. Advocates of such a change say the offense has ensnared tens of thousands of young black and Latino men who are stopped by the New York City police for other reasons but after being instructed to empty their pockets, find themselves charged with a crime.
Reducing the impact of the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk policy has been a top priority of lawmakers from minority neighborhoods, who have urged Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, to pay more attention to the needs of their communities. The lawmakers argue that young men found with small amounts of marijuana are being needlessly funneled into the criminal justice system and have difficulty finding jobs as a result. By deciding to get involved in the biggest law enforcement issue roiling New York City, Mr. Cuomo is again inserting himself into the affairs of the city in a way that has been welcomed by some and resented by others. He previously brokered the resolution of a dispute over legalizing street hails of livery cabs, and he ordered the city to stop requiring that food stamp applicants be fingerprinted. In this case, the governor would be acting against the wishes of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and in spite of a September directive from the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who instructed officers not to arrest people who take small amounts of marijuana out of their pockets or bags after being stopped by the police. The Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group critical of the Police Department’s marijuana arrest policies, found that only a modest decline in the arrests followed Mr. Kelly’s memorandum. Though the governor’s legislation does not address the high number of stops by the police, it would take aim at what many black and Hispanic lawmakers as well as advocacy groups say has been one of the most damaging results of the aggressive police tactics: arrest records for young people who have small amounts of marijuana in their pockets. “For individuals who have any kind of a record, even a minuscule one, the obstacles are enormous to employment and to education,” said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “When it’s really a huge number of kids in the community who go through this, and all have the same story, the impact is just devastating.” The police in New York City made 50,684 arrests last year for possession of a small amount of marijuana, more than for any other offense, according to an analysis of state data by Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College. The arrests continued — one in seven arrests made in the city was for low-level marijuana possession — even as Commissioner Kelly issued his directive. Mr. Bloomberg has opposed ending arrests for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. His administration has argued that the arrests serve to reduce more serious crime by deterring drug dealing and the violence that can accompany the drug trade. A spokesman for the mayor declined to comment Sunday. Mr. Cuomo plans to announce his support for the change at a news conference at the Capitol. While his push comes late in the year’s legislative session, which is scheduled to end June 21, the governor has been successful in his first 17 months in office at focusing attention on a limited number of legislative priorities and persuading lawmakers to address them quickly. “This proposal will bring long overdue consistency and fairness to New York State’s Penal Law and save thousands of New Yorkers, particularly minority youth, from the unnecessary and life-altering trauma of a criminal arrest and, in some cases, prosecution,” an administration official said in an e-mail. It would also save law enforcement “countless man-hours wasted” on arrests and prosecutions “for what is clearly only a minor offense,” the official added. Officials in the Cuomo administration said the marijuana-possession arrests were problematic in part because they subjected New Yorkers, many of them young, to the process of being booked, retaining a lawyer and carrying the stigma of having been arrested. And they argued that the arrests were harming the relationship between the police and young people. More than a dozen states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, including Connecticut last year and California the year before. In New York, the Legislature in 1977 reduced the penalty for possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana to a violation, which carries a maximum fine of $100 for first-time offenders. But it remains a misdemeanor if the marijuana is in public view or is being smoked in public, and lawmakers and drug-reform advocates have argued that the misdemeanor charge is often unfairly applied to suspects who did not have marijuana in public view until the police stopped them and told them to empty their pockets. “Now it’s in public view,” Professor Levine said. “If you go by the police reports, all around New York City, there are people standing around with their palms outstretched with a bit of marijuana in them.” From 2002 to 2011, New York City recorded 400,000 low-level marijuana arrests, according to his analysis. That represented more arrests than under Mr. Bloomberg’s three predecessors put together — a period of 24 years. Most of those arrested have been young black and Hispanic men, and most had no prior criminal convictions. Mr. Cuomo’s action comes after a number of state legislators and City Council members, many of them representing neighborhoods with large minority populations, have sought ways to force change at the Police Department. In Albany, some lawmakers have proposed legislation that would prevent police officers from stopping people based only on their race or ethnicity, and that would create an inspector general to oversee the Police Department. And Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of Brooklyn, and State Senator Mark J. Grisanti, Republican of Buffalo, have pressed a bill to end low-level marijuana arrests. Mr. Cuomo’s proposal would reduce the penalty for the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view to a violation. It would continue to classify public marijuana smoking as a misdemeanor, unlike the bill proposed by Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Grisanti, which would decriminalize it. A version of this article appeared in print on June 4, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Cuomo Seeks Cut In Frisk Arrests.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Thomas KaplanPublished: June 4, 2012Copyright: 2012 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #23 posted by schmeff on June 05, 2012 at 10:34:36 PT
Comment #12
It makes sense that the Amish have good herb, they will help a neighbor in need - and will maintain a positive and cheerful disposition as they help you build your barn. From all accounts, they are noted for their sensibility.
Compare that to the tight-sphincter, hate-filled prohibitionists, most of whom, metaphorically, are barn-burners. 
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 18:04:23 PT
Oh I knew that is what you meant. The children were out hand cutting the fields for hay tonight. It amazes me how hard they work.
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Comment #21 posted by runruff on June 04, 2012 at 18:00:15 PT
I meant that as a good thing as in; the world would be a better place.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 17:26:31 PT
I have always liked the Amish. They are sweet people and don't believe in any form of violence. They are honorable people. The lawyer that is handling Settlement said he has never had one problem with the Amish that deal with him.
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Comment #19 posted by greenmed on June 04, 2012 at 17:24:23 PT
Bloomberg Backs Plan
I love it when a plan comes together!Thank you Governor Cuomo for the sane approach, and Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Kelly for telling which way the wind is blowing.Lawrence O'Donnell will host ‎Ethan Nadelmann to discuss this very topic this evening 10PM (10:45) ET on MSNBC.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 17:23:40 PT
Thank you! I have it posted now. We are winning. It's great.
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Comment #17 posted by konagold on June 04, 2012 at 16:59:54 PT
Bloomberg Backs Plan to Limit Arrests for Marijuan
Bloomberg Backs Plan to Limit Arrests for Marijuana
By THOMAS KAPLANNYT : — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Monday that he would support a proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to significantly curb the number of people who could be arrested for marijuana possession as a result of police stops.Mr. Cuomo urged lawmakers on Monday to change state law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view, an offense that critics say leads to unfair charges against thousands of people who are ordered to empty their pockets during police stops that have proliferated under the Bloomberg administration's stop-and-frisk practice.Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had previously defended low-level marijuana arrests as a way to deter more serious crime, said in a statement that the governor’s proposal “strikes the right balance” in part because it would still allow the police to arrest people who were smoking marijuana in public.Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, announced his plans to seek the change in state law at a news conference at the Capitol on Monday. The governor said he would seek to downgrade the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in public view from a misdemeanor to a violation, with a maximum fine of $100 for first-time offenders.The New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, attended the news conference as a way of demonstrating the city’s support for Mr. Cuomo’s proposal. Echoing the mayor, he described the governor’s proposal as a “balanced approach.”Mr. Kelly noted that when he had been asked in the past about the city’s high number of marijuana arrests, he responded that people unhappy with the arrests should lobby the Legislature to change state law, which he called a better option “than having police officers, New York City police officers, turn a blind eye to the law as it was written and as it is still written.”“This law will make certain that the confusion in this situation will be eliminated,” he said, adding, “Quite frankly, it will make the application of this law much clearer.”Mr. Cuomo’s proposal followed a memorandum to officers that Mr. Kelly issued in September clarifying that they were not to arrest people who take small amounts of marijuana out of their pockets after being stopped by the police. Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Kelly said the governor’s proposal was consistent with the city’s directive.Mr. Cuomo said changing the law was a better approach in the long term, saying, “I think it puts the police in an awkward position to tell them: enforce some laws, don’t enforce other laws.”“This is nice and clean: change the law, period,” the governor added.Critics of the Police Department’s marijuana-arrest policies have complained that Mr. Kelly’s memorandum has had little effect. But a city spokesman said that since the commissioner’s memorandum the number of low-level marijuana arrests has fallen by nearly a quarter. 
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Comment #16 posted by runruff on June 04, 2012 at 16:37:23 PT
Just a moment to imagine?
What the world would be like if we all lived by the same principles and values as the Amish?
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 16:08:07 PT
Back in Lancaster County they have a lot of traffic. The Amish have been moving to Ohio and other states because they can't afford the price of land back east anymore and it's congested now. We see Amish on the roads all the time and people drive slow out here since we know we could see a buggy around any turn. They are hard working people. They are pacifists. I like that.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 04, 2012 at 16:01:34 PT
"Amish person water skiing"
No. I can't say as such a thing as ever occurred to me, either.Yes. I see that Ohio and Pennsylvania.... your main stomping grounds are the heart of Amish country.Cool.Except the part about the buggy wrecks. That's awful. They showed one. Like car wrecks... it was awful.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 14:15:09 PT
This is funny. I don't think he is Amish but it made me laugh. It's called an Amish Interview:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 13:44:49 PT
From what I have been told about the Amish on the east coast some of them have good herb.
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Comment #11 posted by schmeff on June 04, 2012 at 13:37:29 PT
Just Wonderin'
...what opinions the Amish community might have regarding the sacred herb. Negative, I'd guess, but that may just be a misconception resulting from my relative ignorance of Amish culture.I'm imagining a day in the future, after FOM has become better acquainted with her new neighbors, when that particular conversation takes place over the back garden gate.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 12:51:09 PT
The show was probably Amish: Out of Order. We really are enjoying the series. The Amish are in different phases of modernizing. The new neighbors are using electric now. They will convert to another system when they can get to it. We were raised around Amish country. The one buggy is decked out with patent leather. They have a speed boat sitting in their yard. I don't know why though. I never saw an Amish person water skiing. LOL!
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on June 04, 2012 at 12:29:40 PT
Your new neighbors! That's just wonderful. I watched something on TV the other evening about the Amish... trying to grasp more of what your new neighbors are like.They sound wonderful.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 10:17:53 PT
Governor Cuomo
Thank you so much. We need common sense desperately.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 10:15:55 PT
Afterburner, Beautiful
They were great. I love this song so much. I was watching our new neighbor's children jumping on their big trampoline last night in their cute Amish clothes with such joy. Watching them come back from Church with the horse in a full out trot and the sun shining on the buggy was wonderful too. I think selling the property to this very nice Amish family with 9 children was what we have been hoping for. They have 7 horses, 2 ponies, a couple dogs and a cow. I feel so lucky today.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on June 04, 2012 at 09:12:27 PT
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
Looks like someone did take the time to talk to him and explain things and he did listen. How wonderful is that? A streak of sanity shoots through the insanity of American politics. Thank you, Mr. Cuomo. Thank you so much.
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on June 04, 2012 at 09:11:19 PT
FoM #1
I always loved that song as much as America, the Beautiful, my birth country. My wife used to sing a different version, which I liked too, about Canada, my adopted country:This Land is Your land - The Travellers - 1955 Choice 342 - Canada: This Land is Your Land. 
It was recorded by Woody Guthrie in 1967 on Centennial Album called "This Land" English version and was sung in French as well! out the scenery in these two Canadian versions above.In those days we didn't see the borders as that important, just the freedom of people and the love of God's nature. In some ways those feelings still remain today in spite of international terrorism and the ham-fisted attempts to make travelers safe. 
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on June 04, 2012 at 08:40:51 PT
Bloomberg, Stop Persecuting People. Cuomo, Thanks.
Bloomberg, another politician with admitted cannabis use in his past. What's wrong with these people? If he had been caught, he wouldn't even be mayor of New York. He seems to believe he is above the law, thinking, "I am a dark overlord. Bow down and worship."Like the crack/powder disparity which was addressed at the federal level, this New York State proposal has a good chance of passing as another example of equal justice. It is, however, only a baby step.
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Comment #3 posted by Oleg the Tumor on June 04, 2012 at 08:40:42 PT:
Give 'm hell, Andy!
I can see his point. Who wants to be governor of a state that turns out thousands of unemployable people each year?Nuts. This is all nuts, no other way to describe it.EARTH TO NEW YORK:  You are about to be hit by the train that you have been trying to ignore all these years. 
Cannabis is no longer the elephant in the room. It's just a plant.In the final analysis of our age, it is the absence of truth, and the struggle for control over leadership that is the true "elephant in the room". Like anything else that is absent, there's not much to see – yet it continues to expand…
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Comment #2 posted by Paul Pot on June 04, 2012 at 06:51:32 PT:
Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist.......
Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist, Bloomberg, racist............
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 04, 2012 at 06:50:24 PT
Check Out Song 9 on Americana By Neil Young
I didn't buy this CD of Neil Youngs but the 9th song on this link is really good. A Crazy Horse production of This Land Is Your Land. Enjoy!
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