Republican Peter Hatzipetros, a self-described right-leaning libertarian, is running for South Queens Assembly District 23 in the Nov. 3 general election.
Though he has no prior experience in politics, Hatzipetros has recently made a name for himself in the tech sphere through his law practice focusing on the lesser explored legal terrain of cryptocurrency. But instead of focusing his platform on business or tech issues, Hatzipetros has primarily framed his candidacy as a law-and-order bid to save the city from rising violence, in addition to creating more STEM opportunities in schools and restore respect for law enforcement.
His opponent, incumbent Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park) successfully defended her district from Matthew Pecorina, a staffer for Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), in 2018 by a 37-point margin after winning her seat in 2016 against a Republican opponent by nearly the same amount.
In addition to his current position as a cryptocurrency lawyer, Hatzipetros previously worked in criminal defense for two years at Astoria law firm Pardalis & Nohavicka, and has referred to that experience to ground his criticism of the Legislature’s landmark criminal justice reforms last year, which he calls his “first priority” on his online platform.
In line with NYPD brass, his website suggests that the passage of the New York state’s expansive bail reform is to blame for the current uptick in violent crime and called for rolling it back further than the changes to the law that passed in the governor’s 2020 budget. Though a New York Post analysis of Compstat data showed little connection between most people released under the reforms and the summer’s spike in shootings, in conversation with the Chronicle, Hatzipetros narrowed his criticism of two broader legal ramifications of the bail and discovery laws.
Hatzipetros’ issue with the discovery law is that it requires state prosecutors to provide the defendant information on who the investigating officer is as well as information about any testifying witnesses. Hatzipetros believes that the change will limit the number of witnesses willing to testify in trial and put police investigators in danger.
His criticism of the bail law is that he sees stopping elected judges from using their discretion as a dangerous precedent.
In addition to opposing her support of the legislation, Hatzipetros has accused Pheffer Amato of not doing enough to keep residents informed about the content of bail reform and discovery laws before she voted for it.
“I’m all about transparency. People need to know what goes on behind closed doors. It’s time we come back to leaders of common sense and not nonsense,” Hatzipetros said.
Though Hatzipetros told the Chronicle that his experience in criminal defendence ranged from anything from misdemeanor larceny to violent crimes, his Linkedin profile states that during his stint at Pardalis & Nohavicka, he focused on employment and labor law, civil rights violations and contract disputes.
Another aspect of his uniformed services protections would include a bill that specifies the job responsibilities of first responders because he believes firefighters’ duties are overly broad.
Hatzipetros said that his decision to create his own firm revolving on providing legal counsel, risk management assessment and business consultation to crypto companies spawned from his own past mistakes with the volatile market.
After his father died, Hatzipetros took over his own stock portfolio, and liquidated it to invest heavily in cryptocurrency. Though he claimed that investments made him a quarter million dollars, he lost those gains shortly after in a cryptomarket plunge. From then on, he decided that he would use his…
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