The New York State Board of Parole will be deciding two important matters in the coming weeks, and I want to be clear how fervently the Assembly Minority Conference stands with the families of the victims of these heinous crimes. The two killers, Juan Peinado, who brutally murdered a 12-year-old boy in 1996, and George Acosta, who killed a police officer while out on parole, deserve to be locked up forever — plain and simple.
Peinado, who killed Danny Meyer as he was heading to his all-star baseball game, was already denied parole in 2021 after a massive public-outreach campaign to keep him in prison. Unfortunately, Meyer’s family has to relive the pain of his murder again just two years after having to fight to keep their son’s killer behind bars. I encourage anyone who believes Peinado should stay in prison to sign the recently launched petition by Assemblyman Brian Maher (R,C–Walden).
Additionally, the fact that George Acosta is also up for parole is equally troubling. This is a career criminal who was in prison for killing a 16-year-old, released on parole and then shot three police officers and killed one of them. He has no business being anywhere other than behind bars, and I implore the parole board to take the risk he poses to the public seriously.
To that end, our Assembly Minority Conference has offered a number of legislative solutions aimed at protecting victims and their families. Assemblyman Maher sponsored legislation (A.4041) to ensure those who murder children under 13 years old will receive a mandatory life sentence with no opportunity for parole and I have sponsored legislation (A.5225) to reform the composition of the parole board and require a unanimous determination from the board members before an inmate be released.
Second chances are an important part of our criminal-justice system, and I believe there are many instances where individuals should be presented with an opportunity to make amends. Unfortunately, not everyone deserves such latitude, and in instances where the public is in danger, we must take every possible measure to ensure the most serious offenders are not given the wrong type of second chance — a second chance to take another life. Releasing these individuals is a mistake, and I sincerely hope the board decides to put the families of these victims and the public ahead of criminals.
William (Will) A. Barclay, 54, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.