Requires exempting victims of sex trafficking from the DNA databank fee.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to exempting victims of sex trafficking from the DNA databank fee
To waive the DNA databank fee when the court finds the defendant is a victim of sex trafficking
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends subdivision 2 of section 420.35 of the Criminal Procedure Law, as amended by Chapter 385 of the Laws of 2014, to provide that a court shall waive any DNA databank fee and crime victim assistance fee where the judgment entered is a conviction where the arresting charge was under section 240.37 (loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense, provided that the defendant was not alleged to be loitering for the purpose of patronizing a prostitute or promoting prostitution) or 230.00 (prostitution) of the penal law, or when the court finds that a defendant is a victim of sex trafficking under section 230.34 of the Penal Law or a victim of trafficking under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Section two provides the effective date.
New York has been a leader in enacting laws that recognize that sexually exploited persons should be treated as victims and not as criminals. In furtherance of that principle, last year we changed the law (Chapter 385 of the Laws of 2014) to require courts to waive payment by sex trafficking victims of a mandatory surcharge, DNA databank fee and crime victim assistance fee where the victim is convicted of a misdemeanor or a violation. This legislation makes a technical amendment to require that courts waive as well the DNA databank fee where a person has been convicted of a designated offense as defined by section 995(7) of the executive law, which includes most misdemeanors.
The intent of Chapter 385 was to ensure that we do not act as an unwitting participant in setting up an obstacle to sex trafficking victims from escaping their lives of exploitation. Sex trafficking victims who are convicted of a misdemeanor likely have no money of their own upon release, with their traffickers waiting for their release, prepared to pay whatever fees are imposed. With the mandatory amounts paid by the trafficker, the trafficked victim becomes indebted to her trafficker, enabling the trafficker to increase his control over her and require her to return to the conduct that brought her to criminal court (i.e. prostitution). The DNA databank fee is the remaining mandatory fee that can be imposed on a sex trafficking victim convicted of a misdemeanor.
By waiving the DNA databank fee, we remove the means by which our legal system inadvertently facilitates having sex trafficking victims become indebted to their traffickers.
This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to convictions on or after the effective date as well as to charges for such offenses pending on the effective date for which sentence had not yet been imposed.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4394--A 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 18, 2015 ___________Introduced by Sen. LANZA -- 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 AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to exempting victims of sex trafficking from the DNA databank fee THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 420.35 of the criminal procedure law, as amended by chapter 385 of the laws of 2014, is amended to read as follows: 2. Under no circumstances shall the mandatory surcharge, sex offender registration fee, DNA databank fee or the crime victim assistance fee be waived provided, however, that a court may waive the crime victim assistance fee if such defendant is an eligible youth as defined in subdivision two of section 720.10 of this chapter, and the imposition of such fee would work an unreasonable hardship on the defendant, his or her immediate family, or any other person who is dependent on such defendant for financial support. A court shall waive any mandatory surcharge, DNA DATABANK FEE and crime victim assistance fee when: (I) THE DEFENDANT IS CONVICTED OF LOITERING FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENGAGING IN PROSTITUTION UNDER SECTION 240.37 OF THE PENAL LAW (PROVIDED THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS NOT CONVICTED OF LOITERING FOR THE PURPOSE OF PATRONIZING A PERSON FOR PROSTITUTION); (II) THE DEFENDANT IS CONVICTED OF PROSTITU- TION UNDER SECTION 230.00 OF THE PENAL LAW; (III) THE DEFENDANT IS CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION IN THE EVENT SUCH CONVICTION IS IN LIEU OF A PLEA TO OR CONVICTION FOR LOITERING FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENGAGING IN PROS- TITUTION UNDER SECTION 240.37 OF THE PENAL LAW (PROVIDED THAT THE DEFENDANT WAS NOT ALLEGED TO BE LOITERING FOR THE PURPOSE OF PATRONIZING A PERSON FOR PROSTITUTION) OR PROSTITUTION UNDER SECTION 230.00 OF THE PENAL LAW; OR (IV) the court finds that a defendant is a victim of sexEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05489-07-5 S. 4394--A 2
trafficking under section 230.34 of the penal law or a victim of traf- ficking in persons under the trafficking victims protection act (United States Code, Title 22, Chapter 78). S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to convictions occurring on or after such date and for convictions for which sentence has not been imposed prior to such effective date.