Creates the crime of dissemination of an image of a crime scene; makes a person guilty of such crime where the person is a public servant and, while in the course of the public servant's official duties, records a still image or motion picture of a crime victim and broadcasts or publishes such images or motion pictures outside of the course of conduct of the public servant's official duties; makes such crime a class A misdemeanor.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting the dissemination of an image of a crime victim by public servants
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: "Caroline's Law" would make it a class A misdemeanor for a public servant -- or anyone acting as a public servant -- to broadcast or publish an image of a crime victim outside of their official duties.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would add a new section 250.70 to the penal law to make it a class A misdemeanor - punishable by up to one imprisonment and a fine for a public servant or anyone acting as a public servant to broadcast or publish an image of a crime victim outside of their official duties.
JUSTIFICATION: In March 2009, a 26 year-old woman named Caroline Wimmer was brutally murdered in her West Brighton, Staten Island apartment. Caroline was a charming and fun-loving young woman, popular amongst her friends and beloved by her family. Emergency personnel arrived on the scene shortly after Caroline's horrified mother found her on the floor of her bathroom. Inexplicably and shockingly, one of the EMTs on the scene - Mark Musarella took a picture of Caroline and later posted it on his Facebook page.
Despite the egregiousness of this act, Musarella could only be charged with the simple misdemeanor of official conduct; he would later plea down to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, a mere violation no more serious than trespassing or possession of a small amount of marijuana. He also received only 200 hours of community service and no jail time.
New York State law must be updated to address situations like this; it is clear from the outcome of Mark Musarella's prosecution that current law is inadequate in this area. This bill would bring the relevant Penal Law section into the modern age and ensure that any public official who commits a ghastly, insensitive and appalling act such as this will face a serious criminal charge and potential jail time. It will further help deter such actions and try to ensure that no family will have to experience the double horror that the Wimmers did. Further, this law would strongly promote the training of public servants to encourage proper and respectful treatment of crime victim images and discourage egregious acts like this.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011 - Died in the Codes Committee.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after becoming law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3958--B 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 10, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. SAVINO, ADAMS, CARLUCCI, ESPAILLAT, GOLDEN, JOHNSON, KLEIN, LANZA, LARKIN, PERKINS, VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Codes in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to prohibiting the dissem- ination of an image of a crime victim by public servants THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Caroline's Law". S 2. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 250.70 to read as follows: S 250.70 DISSEMINATION OF AN IMAGE OF A CRIME VICTIM. 1. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF DISSEMINATION OF AN IMAGE OF A CRIME VICTIM WHERE (A) THE PERSON IS A PUBLIC SERVANT OR IS PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF A PUBLIC SERVANT IN RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY CALL; (B) WHILE IN THE COURSE OF HIS OR HER OFFICIAL DUTIES, RECORDS A STILL IMAGE OR MOTION PICTURE OF A CRIME VICTIM; AND (C) BROADCASTS OR PUBLISHES SUCH IMAGES OR MOTION PICTURES OUTSIDE OF THE COURSE OF CONDUCT OF THE PUBLIC SERV- ANT'S OFFICIAL DUTIES. 2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION: (A) "BROADCAST" MEANS ELECTRONICALLY TRANSMITTING A VISUAL IMAGE WITH THE INTENT THAT IT BE VIEWED BY A PERSON. (B) "DISSEMINATE" MEANS TO GIVE, PROVIDE, LEND, DELIVER, MAIL, SEND, FORWARD, TRANSFER OR TRANSMIT, ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE TO ANOTHER PERSON.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08550-05-2 S. 3958--B 2
(C) "PUBLISH" MEANS TO (I) POST, PRESENT, DISPLAY, EXHIBIT, CIRCULATE, ADVERTISE OR ALLOW ACCESS, ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE, SO AS TO MAKE AN IMAGE OR IMAGES AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC; OR (II) DISSEMINATE WITH THE INTENT THAT AN IMAGE OR IMAGES BE POSTED, PRESENTED, DISPLAYED, EXHIB- ITED, CIRCULATED, ADVERTISED OR MADE ACCESSIBLE, ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE AND TO MAKE SUCH IMAGE OR IMAGES AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. DISSEMINATION OF AN IMAGE OF A CRIME VICTIM IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.