Bill S476-2013

Requires victims be notified of right to make a victim impact statement and allows them to personally appear at parole hearing and make such a statement

Requires the district attorney to notify victims by letter of the final disposition of the case within sixty days of such disposition; such letter shall also notify victims of their right to make a victim impact statement and allows them to personally appear at parole hearing and make such a statement.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CODES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S476

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to requiring victims be informed of right to make victim impact statement to division of parole and to appear at parole hearing

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Crime victims would be automatically notified of upcoming parole hearings of their assailants, allows them to testify at those hearings, and obligates district attorneys to inform crime victims of their right to file a victim impact statement. Currently, most crime victims are unaware of their right to file written crime victim impact statements or be informed of upcoming parole hearings of their attackers.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 440.50 of the criminal procedure law, as amended by section 80 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, is amended by requiring district attorneys to inform crime victims of their right to submit a written victim impact statement to the state division of parole and of the right to be informed of their assailant's parole hearing, and allows crime victims to appear at the parole board hearing to make a statement before the parole board.

JUSTIFICATION: While a victim impact statement already exists, few crime victims are aware of their right to submit this statement, nor are most informed of their right to be notified when their assailant is up for parole. Less than 5% of crime victims file written victim impact statements, suggesting that most are unaware of the right to do so.

The effect that a crime can have on its victim(s) can be devastating, but the criminal justice system does not encourage crime victims to voice the impact an offense has had on them mentally, physically, emotionally or financially. The district attorney's office, which is in lose communication with the victims, rarely informs them of their right to file victim impact statements. The victim impact statement, if available, is put in the criminal's permanent file with the Division of Parole, and is reviewed by the parole board examining an inmate's application for early release.

When parole boards review an inmate's application for release, insufficient consideration is given to the effect the criminal's action has had on the victim(s) Parole board members need to be reminded of the reason the inmate is in prison and the nature of the crime committed. Increasing the response rate for victim impact statements and allowing crime victims the opportunity to speak at parole board hearings will present to parole boards a reminder of the impact the criminals' actions have had on their victims.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This bill was previously introduced.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal costs to inform victims by mail of their assailant's parole hearing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately upon enactment.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 476 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- 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 requiring victims be informed of right to make victim impact statement to divi- sion of parole and to appear at parole hearing THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 440.50 of the criminal procedure law, as amended by section 80 of subpart B of part C of chapter 62 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows: 1. [Upon the request of a victim of a crime, or in any event in all cases in which the final disposition includes a conviction of a violent felony offense as defined in section 70.02 of the penal law or a felony defined in article one hundred twenty-five of such law, the] THE district attorney shall, within sixty days of the final disposition of the case, inform the victim by letter of such final disposition. If such final disposition results in the commitment of the defendant to the custody of the department of corrections and community supervision for an indeterminate sentence, the notice provided to the crime victim shall also inform the victim of his or her right to submit a written, audio- taped, or videotaped victim impact statement to the department of corrections and community supervision or to [meet] personally [with a member of the state board of parole] APPEAR at [a time and place sepa- rate from] the personal interview between a member or members of the board and the inmate and make such a statement, subject to procedures and limitations contained in rules of the board, both pursuant to subdi- vision two of section two hundred fifty-nine-i of the executive law. The right of the victim under this subdivision to submit a written victim impact statement or to meet personally with a member of the state board of parole applies to each personal interview between a member or members of the board and the inmate. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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