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Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

New York State Senator Seeks Increased Penalties for Witness Intimidation

July 02, 2012
Syracuse, NY - U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer is in town today proposing legislation to make witness intimidation a federal crime - with increased prison penalties - in the wake of several violent crimes in Syracuse. According to a news release from the senator, Syracuse police are having trouble turning up witnesses and leads in a May 11 stabbing on a busy downtown street corner, a June 9 fatal shooting on Mariposa Street and a Father's Day shooting that left a Putnam Street man paralyzed. Schumer contends police and prosecutors are being hindered by that lack of information. His proposed legislation would increase penalties on those, like street gang members, who intimidate witnesses to keep them from cooperating with law enforcement. Schumer's legislation would make witness intimidation a federal crime and increase the penalty to 30 years in prison in cases of attempted murder or physical violence against a witness. It would increase the penalty to 20 years in prison for other types of witness intimidation.