Message From Assemblywoman and "Penny's Law" Sponsor,
Far too many times in New York State, violent juvenile predators have not received
appropriate sentencing for their crimes. The problem is that
our laws are not tough enough and we need sweeping juvenile justice
is a cavernous loophole in New York State law that must be closed. The
concept is very simple. If a juvenile commits a murder and is tried as an
adult, that person should be sentenced as an adult. To fix this
loophole so that justice can be served, I have introduced Penny's Law in
the New York State Assembly.
Brown was a wife, mother of two, and a well-known and respected nurse-midwife. She went for an afternoon jog with her two dogs on a recreational
trail near her home on Mother's Day in 1999. She never came back. Police
and volunteers launched a massive search, and around 1:00 p.m. the next day,
her body was found near the trail under leaves and debris. Penny had been
brutally raped and murdered in broad daylight on Sunday afternoon on a
public path in the middle of Salamanca.
The Penny Lea Brown case is just one
example of many where the sentence does not fit the crime. Edward Kindt,
who was age 15 at the time of the murder, has been convicted of viciously
raping and strangling Penny Lea Brown. To this day, Edward Kindt has shown
no remorse for his vile atrocities. During sentencing, the judge called
Kindt a "Sexual Predator" and told him, "You are a
threat any time you are in society." The judge lamented that his
hands were tied, that he gave Kindt the maximum sentence allowed under
current New York State law, and that is not enough.
had been relieved when they found out that Kindt would be tried as an
adult. Their relief turned into disbelief when they realized that it did NOT
mean that he would receive a longer sentence. Trying a juvenile as an
adult for murder in New York State basically means that the case is
switched from Family Court to Criminal Court. Most people would be surprised
to learn it does not mean stiffer penalties.
If Kindt had
been just a couple of months older, he would have received a maximum 25 years
to life. Instead, he was sentenced to only 9 years to life. It is possible that
he could be walking the streets, free to rape and kill again, in as little
as 6 years.
That fact is an outrage.
Under the current
system, justice will not be served for any victim who is murdered by a juvenile
or their families until we change the law. Right now, in New York State,
if you are brutalized, raped, and killed, the penalty for taking
your life is less if your predator is under a certain age.
Whether young or old,
a murder is a murder, and a sexual predator is a sexual predator.
Penny's death was a gruesome, savage
act. People who commit such acts do not belong in our communities. Our
families must be protected from them. They must be locked away.
"Penny's Law" would protect families by: