Bill S7048-2013

Restricts the nature of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense to a charge of murder in the second degree

Restricts the nature of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense to a charge of murder in the second degree.

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  • Apr 21, 2014: REFERRED TO CODES

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BILL NUMBER:S7048

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law, in relation to restricting the nature of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense to a charge of murder in the second degree

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

To clarify that, for the purposes of the "extreme emotional disturbance" defense to the crime of murder in the second degree, it is not a reasonable explanation or excuse that the violent act was triggered by a non-violent sexual advance by the victim or the discovery of the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 125.25 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 791 of the laws of 1967, to clarify that a non-violent sexual advance or the discovery of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity does not constitute a reasonable explanation or excuse as an affirmative defense to second degree murder.

Section 2 of the bill states that the bill shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:

In August 2013, the American Bar Association passed a resolution urging state governments to take legislative action to curtail the availability and effectiveness of so-called "gay panic" and "trans panic" defenses. Such defenses effectively excuse or mitigate serious violent crimes on the grounds that the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity played a role in causing the crime to be committed.

Under current New York State law, the penal law provides an affirmative defense to the crime of murder in the second degree, when the defendant acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there is a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. This affirmative defense allows violent acts that may otherwise meet the elements of murder in the second degree to be prosecuted as lesser crimes.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7048 IN SENATE April 21, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to restricting the nature of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense to a charge of murder in the second degree THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 125.25 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 791 of the laws of 1967, is amended to read as follows: (a) The defendant acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse, the reasonableness of which is to be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the defendant's situation under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be. A NON-VIOLENT SEXUAL ADVANCE OR THE DISCOVERY OF A PERSON'S SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR GENDER IDENTITY DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A "REASONABLE EXPLANATION OR EXCUSE" AS USED IN THIS PARA- GRAPH. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall constitute a defense to a prosecution for, or preclude a conviction of, manslaughter in the first degree or any other crime; or S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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