April 1, 2010
Attack on building is hate crime, N.Y. court rules
A person can be guilty of a hate crime even if his victim is a building and not a person, a New York court found.
The state’s Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday that Mazin Assi’s conviction under New York’s hate crimes statute for throwing firebombs at a Bronx synagogue in 2000 was valid.
Assi was convicted in 2003 of attempted arson and criminal mischief as hate crimes and sentenced to five to 15 years in prison. In an appeal, Assi claimed that his conviction under the hate crimes law should be reversed since he attacked property and not a person.
“It is self-evident that, although the target of the defendant’s criminal conduct was a building, the true victims were the individuals of Jewish faith who were members of the synagogue,” Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in the court’s opinion, according to the New York Daily News.