Bill S4092-2011

Expands the definition of victim for purposes of making statements at sentencing to allow more than one relative to speak

Expands the definition of "victim" for purposes of making statements at sentencing of defendant to allow more than one family member to speak; provides that members of a victims family includes parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, aunts and uncles.

Details

Actions

  • Feb 13, 2012: referred to codes
  • Feb 13, 2012: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Feb 13, 2012: PASSED SENATE
  • Feb 7, 2012: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Feb 6, 2012: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Jan 31, 2012: 1ST REPORT CAL.160
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jan 4, 2012: returned to senate
  • Jan 4, 2012: died in assembly
  • Jun 1, 2011: referred to codes
  • Jun 1, 2011: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Jun 1, 2011: PASSED SENATE
  • May 16, 2011: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 11, 2011: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 10, 2011: 1ST REPORT CAL.561
  • Mar 17, 2011: REFERRED TO CODES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - May 10, 2011
Ayes (16): Saland, DeFrancisco, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Lanza, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Gianaris, Duane, Huntley, Parker, Perkins, Squadron, Espaillat
VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - Jan 31, 2012
Ayes (15): Saland, DeFrancisco, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Lanza, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Gianaris, Duane, Parker, Perkins, Squadron, Espaillat
Excused (1): Huntley

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4092

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to expanding the number of a victim's family members who may speak at the sentencing of a defendant

PURPOSE: This bill would permit additional members of a victim's family to speak at the sentencing phase of a criminal proceeding.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Provides that this act shall be known as the "Victims' Voices for Justice Act".

Section 2: Amends Section 380.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law to permit more than one member of a victim's family the opportunity to make a statement at the sentencing phase of a criminal proceeding in the event the victim is deceased, physically or mentally incapacitated, or otherwise unable to express himself or herself before the court. "Domestic partner" shall be included in the definition of "spouse," and are therefore permitted to speak on behalf of the victim.

Section 3: Sets forth an immediate effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Current law permits a member of a victim's family to make a statement at sentencing if the victim is unable to speak or is deceased. However, courts have interpreted this provision as prohibiting more than one member of the victim's family from speaking, thus preventing parents, grandparents and children from addressing the court prior to sentencing.

The need for this legislation is highlighted by the following case. Early in 1999 the parents of murdered police officer Anthony Sanchez were prohibited from making a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of the trial of Scott Schneiderman, a debt-ridden stockbroker, who shot and killed Officer Sanchez while fleeing a robbery.

According to the court, the law only allows a single victim impact statement, which in this case was made by the victim's widow, Elizabeth. This bill removes this limitation and permits the family of a victim to testify on how the criminal's act affected their life and the life of the victim. In the Sanchez murder case, the popular 11-year veteran police officer and father was repeatedly fired upon and lay dying alone. Unfortunately the parents and his brothers and sisters were not permitted to tell the judge and the convicted murderer how his death had shattered their lives. This bill will remedy this injustice.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-2010: S.4282 (Valesky)- Referred to Codes 2007-2008: S.2369 (Volker) - Passed Senate 2005-2006: S.1524A (Volker) - Passed Senate 2003-2004: S.243 (Volker) - Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4092 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 17, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to expanding the number of a victim's family members who may speak at the sentencing of a defendant 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 the "victims' voices for justice act". S 2. Subparagraph 2 of paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 380.50 of the criminal procedure law, as separately amended by chapters 173 and 198 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows: (2) if such victim is unable or unwilling to express himself or herself before the court or a person so mentally or physically disabled as to make it impracticable to appear in court in person or the victim is deceased, [a member] THEN MEMBERS of the family of such victim INCLUDING THE SPOUSE, PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, SIBLINGS, AUNTS AND UNCLES, or the legal guardian or representative of the legal guardian of the victim where such guardian or representative has personal knowledge of and a relationship with the victim, unless the court finds that it would be inappropriate for such person to make a statement on behalf of the victim. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBPARA- GRAPH, THE TERM "SPOUSE" SHALL ALSO INCLUDE A DOMESTIC PARTNER. THE TERM "DOMESTIC PARTNER" MEANS A PERSON WHO RESIDED WITH THE VICTIM AND WHO CAN PROVE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COMMITMENT, AND INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN SUCH PERSON AND THE VICTIM. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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