As crime continues to grow more technologically advanced, criminal codes across the nation — many of which were principally written more than 100 years ago — become outdated. Legislatures in many states have recognized this and have taken steps to change their penal codes to cover crime committed with new technology. In New York State, a task force of district attorneys and other law enforcement and legal professionals has undertaken the task of making the state’s criminal code more easily applicable to modern white-collar crimes.
Convened near the end of 2012, the task force spent most of 2013 compiling reform proposals for consideration by the state legislature this year. Some important points include:
- Adjusting the definition of common law larceny — or theft — to more effectively cover intangible property like computer code and personal identity information
- Expanded definition of “computer material” in relation to cybercrime
- Grading of various fraud and theft offenses to account for the value of the property wrongfully appropriated and other factors
- Stricter laws relating to official corruption and elder fraud
It has been nearly three decades since New York’s penal code underwent a substantial review and adjustment. As a result, prosecutors and law enforcement are finding the application of these old laws to modern crime investigation and criminal prosecution to be ineffective. What’s more, the lack of grading for many offenses leaves many defendants facing potential sentences that simply do not fit the crime. The New York City defense attorneys at Bernfeld, DeMatteo & Bernfeld, LLP monitor these developments closely in order to properly advise and defend their clients.