Brief for Amici Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Argument: Conviction under § 353 requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted with a culpable state of mind. Section 353 must be construed to require mental culpability. There is no indication of clear legislative intent to make § 353 a strict liability offense. Current legislative initiatives reflect a consensus that § 353 has a mens rea requirement. The appellate term’s reliance on A.M.L. § 43 is misplaced because § 353 is not a public welfare and regulatory law. The trial court’s failure to provide a proper jury instruction was not harmless error and warrants reversal of Mr. Basile’s conviction.