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‘Stand Your Ground’ bill unlikely to pass in Democratic-dominated Albany despite fresh calls


A new push to make New York a “Stand Your Ground” jurisdiction appears destined to fail in the Democrat-dominated state Legislature despite calls from bodega owners following the arrest for murder of Manhattan deli worker who defended himself on the job with deadly force.

“I don’t believe that there would be significant support in the Assembly for legislation on ‘Stand Your Ground,’” Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), who chairs the Codes Committee tasked with criminal justice matters, told The Post Monday.

The “Stand Your Ground” statutes in at least 28 other states provide a legal defense for people who used force to avoid death or serious injury – a standard that the United Bodegas of America says New York should adopt. 

“That’s what New York City needs,” Fernando Matteo, a spokesman for the group, told The Post over the weekend. 

Such laws have been especially controversial – particularly in the case of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in 2012.

Jose Alba was charged with murder for reportedly murdering an assailant in self-defense.
Jose Alba was charged with murder for reportedly murdering an assailant in self-defense.
Alec Tabak

Zimmerman was acquitted the following year after claiming he acted in self-defense. 

The case of bodega worker Jose Alba has provided supporters of “Stand Your Ground” legislation with a sympathetic figure to promote their cause. 

A video of the attack shows Alba being confronted behind the counter by a man who shoves him down before appearing to threaten him verbally. Alba then slipped past his attacker, grabbed a knife and then allegedly stabbed the man to death.

“It was either him or the guy at the moment,” Alba’s daughter Yulissa told The Post last week. 

Alba was subsequently charged with murder and sent to Rikers Island before being released on bail.

“The DA has to consider has a lot to consider with respect to this particular case, but when we talk about stand your ground, I firmly believe that that has been a concept that has been subjected to a lot of abuse around the country, and I just don’t think that’s the direction we should be going in,” Dinowitz added.

Fernando Mateo, founder and spokesman for United Bodegas of America, said the organization is pro-Stand Your Ground.
Fernando Mateo, founder and spokesman for United Bodegas of America, said the organization is pro-Stand Your Ground.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

A Republican-sponsored bill would make such prosecutions more unlikely in the future by changing current state law that requires New Yorkers to retreat before resorting to deadly force. 

“It’s no surprise that they feel that people should have to retreat,” bill sponsor state Sen. George Borello (R-Western NY) told the Post of his Democratic colleagues.

The chances of the bill passing would greatly increase if GOP gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk) beats incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, this November.

“I believe that you have a right to Stand Your Ground. [If] someone comes in, forces you to defend yourself, the government shouldn’t be forcing you to run away,” Zeldin told The Post last month.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said it probably wouldn't be feasible to get "Stand Your Ground" laws past New York's lawmakers.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said it probably wouldn’t be feasible to get “Stand Your Ground” laws past New York’s lawmakers.
William Farrington

A Hochul spokeswoman did not return messages seeking comment about whether she would sign such a law if passed.

Other powerful Democrats are hardly getting behind efforts to expand Stand Your Ground to the Big Apple.

“The NYPD has been entrusted to protect the people of New York City, and that is who the mayor believes should continue to defend New Yorkers every day,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Adams, said in an email.

Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-Western NY) said a Zeldin victory would open the way to advance the bill he is sponsoring with Borello.

He added in jest that Hochul – who has changed her position on issues like gun rights and immigration in the past – could get behind the effort given the right conditions.

“There is hope for this bill under Kathy Hochul because she blows in the wind,” DiPietro said.



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