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NY to Bolster Anti-Terrorism Laws

bertrand writes: "New York Governor George Pataki called the state Legislature into special session today, and is asking for the passage of a package of laws concerning terrorism and expanding law-enforcement power. USA Today summarizes as follows:

    "Other provisions of the bills Pataki will lay before lawmakers Monday would:

   •Establish a new crime in New York of "terrorism." People are guilty if they are found to have committed crimes designed to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population" or to influence a policy or the conduct of government. Defendants on trial for such terrorist activities would face heightened penalties for their actions versus non-terrorist conduct.

   •A new crime of making a terrorist threat would subject a defendant to up to seven years in prison.

   •Soliciting the commitment of a terrorist act or supporting terrorism would become a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The same offense would be created in the second degree, with half the maximum prison time.

   •Hindering the prosecution of terrorism in the first degree could be a charge brought against people under another bill Pataki will ask the Legislature to pass. It would call for sentences of up to 25 years to life for people who conceal or harbor a terrorist, provide them money or transportation or suppress physical evidence. A conviction of the same crime in the second degree, for somewhat less egregious behavior, would still bring a prison sentence of 15 years to life.

   •Falsely reporting a bomb threat in any public building, under Pataki's proposal, would have offenders subject to up to seven years in prison. The same would go for people who place a false bomb in hopes that the public would believe it a real explosive device.

"Pataki said his legislation would also widen the discretion of prosecutors and police to use such things as wiretaps and video surveillance cameras when suspected terrorists are the targets of investigations." more."