This bill has been amended

Bill S7141-2009

Relates to the crime of tampering with a victim or witness and creates the crime of intimidating a victim or witness in the fourth degree

Relates to the crime of tampering with a victim or witness and creates the crime intimidating a victim or witness in the fourth degree.

Details

Actions

  • Apr 12, 2010: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Apr 8, 2010: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Apr 7, 2010: 1ST REPORT CAL.336
  • Mar 16, 2010: REFERRED TO CODES

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - Apr 7, 2010
Ayes (15): Schneiderman, Breslin, Duane, Parker, Huntley, Sampson, Klein, Perkins, Squadron, Volker, DeFrancisco, Bonacic, Golden, Lanza, Flanagan
Ayes W/R (1): Saland

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S7141

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the penal law, in relation to tampering with and intimidating a victim or witness

PURPOSE : This bill would close several existing gaps in the Penal Law in order to better protect victims and witnesses in domestic violence cases by: (1) authorizing new misdemeanor and felony-level punishment for conduct aimed at wrongfully inducing (or compelling) a person to refrain from obtaining, enforcing, extending or expanding an order of protection; (2) expanding the scope of all four witness tampering crimes -- which currently protect only those about to be "called as a witness" -- to include anyone about to "give testimony;" (3) expanding existing felony-level witness tampering crimes to include tampering with a witness or prospective witness in Family Court and Supreme Court matrimonial proceedings (current felony witness tampering crimes apply only to criminal proceedings); and (4)creating a new class A misdemeanor offense which is committed when a person wrongfully "induces or attempts to induce" another person who has information relating to a criminal transaction or a violation of an order of protection to refrain from reporting that information to a law enforcement officer or court.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 amends Penal Law §215.10 to expand the existing class A misdemeanor of Tampering with a Witness in the Fourth Degree to: (1) include wrongfully inducing or attempting to induce another person, "either directly or through an intermediary," to refrain from requesting the issuance, enforcement, extension or expansion of an order of protection; (2) include within the protections of that section persons who are about to "give testimony" in a proceeding (current law includes only those about to be "called as a witness"); and (3) change the title of that crime to "Tampering with a Victim or Witness in the Fourth Degree."

Section 2 amends Penal Law §215.11 to make corresponding changes to the class E felony of Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree. In addition, the bill would amend §215.11 to expand the scope of proceedings covered by the third degree crime -- which now includes criminal proceedings only -- to include Family Court and Supreme Court matrimonial proceedings.

Section 3 amends Penal Law §215.12 to make corresponding changes to the class D felony of Tampering with a Witness in the Second Degree.

Section 4 amends Penal Law §215.13 to make corresponding changes to the class B felony of Tampering with a Witness in the First Degree.

Section 5 creates the new class A misdemeanor of Intimidating a victim or Witness in the Fourth Degree (PL §215.14-a), which is committed when, knowing that another person possesses information relating to a criminal transaction or failure to comply with an order of protection, the defendant wrongfully induces or attempts to induce such other person to refrain from reporting that information to a prosecutor, law enforcement officer, grand jury or court.

Section 6 provides for the effective date which is 180 days after the bill shall have become a law.

EXISTING LAW : There is currently no penal Law offense that expressly prohibits the wrongful inducing or attempting to induce -- through force, threat of force, or otherwise -- a crime victim to refrain from seeking or enforcing an order of protection. Similarly, although there are currently felony-level "intimidating a victim or witness" crimes that prohibit the use or threatened use of force to prevent or deter persons with information about criminal conduct from coming forward with that information, there is currently no Penal Law offense that expressly prohibits the wrongful "inducing or attempting to induce" (i.e., without proof of force or threat of force) a crime victim or other individual who has information about such conduct from coming forward. Nor is there any existing Penal Law offense that expressly prohibits the wrongful inducing or attempting to induce a person who has information about a violation of an order of protection to refrain from communicating that information to law enforcement officials or a court.

JUSTIFICATION : Existing Penal Law provisions designed to protect victims and witnesses from intimidation and tampering are woefully inadequate. This is especially true in the domestic violence context. Current law provides little or no protection for victims of domestic violence from those who would wrongfully seek to prevent them from obtaining the judicial intervention that can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. This bill would address these inadequacies by, among other things, expanding the scope of protection of existing witness tampering crimes to include Family Court and matrimonial proceedings, and by creating new misdemeanor and felony level provisions aimed at punishing those who wrongfully attempt to prevent victims of domestic violence from obtaining the legal protection and relief they require.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : New Legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.

EFFECTIVE DATE : The act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall become law.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7141 IN SENATE March 16, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SCHNEIDERMAN -- 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 tampering with and intim- idating a victim or witness THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 215.10 of the penal law, the section heading and the closing paragraph as amended by chapter 664 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: S 215.10 Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the fourth degree. A person is guilty of tampering with a VICTIM OR witness IN THE FOURTH DEGREE when, knowing that [a] ANOTHER person is or is about to be called as a witness OR OTHERWISE GIVE TESTIMONY in an action or proceeding, OR IS INTENDING OR ABOUT TO REQUEST FROM A COURT, PROSECUTOR, POLICE OFFI- CER OR PEACE OFFICER THE ISSUANCE, ENFORCEMENT, EXTENSION OR EXPANSION OF AN ORDER OF PROTECTION, (a) he OR SHE wrongfully induces or attempts to induce such OTHER person, EITHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH AN INTERMEDIARY, TO REFRAIN FROM PROCEEDING WITH SUCH REQUEST OR to absent himself OR HERSELF from, or otherwise to avoid or seek to avoid appearing or testi- fying at, such action or proceeding, or (b) he OR SHE knowingly makes any false statement or practices any fraud or deceit with intent to affect the testimony of such OTHER person. Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor. S 2. Section 215.11 of the penal law, as added by chapter 664 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: S 215.11 Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the third degree. A person is guilty of tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the third degree when, knowing that [a] ANOTHER person is OR IS about to be called as a witness OR OTHERWISE GIVE TESTIMONY in a criminal, FAMILY COURT OR SUPREME COURT MATRIMONIAL proceeding, OR IS INTENDING OR ABOUT TO REQUEST FROM A COURT, PROSECUTOR, POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER THE ISSUANCE, ENFORCEMENT, EXTENSION OR EXPANSION OF AN ORDER OF PROTECTION:
1. He OR SHE wrongfully compels or attempts to compel such OTHER person, EITHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH AN INTERMEDIARY, to REFRAIN FROM PROCEEDING WITH SUCH REQUEST OR TO absent himself OR HERSELF from, or otherwise to avoid or seek to avoid appearing or testifying at such proceeding by means of instilling in him OR HER a fear that the actor will cause physical injury to such OTHER person or [another] A THIRD person; or 2. He OR SHE wrongfully compels or attempts to compel such OTHER person, EITHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH AN INTERMEDIARY, to swear falsely by means of instilling in him OR HER a fear that the actor will cause phys- ical injury to such OTHER person or [another] A THIRD person. Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the third degree is a class E felony. S 3. Section 215.12 of the penal law, as added by chapter 664 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: S 215.12 Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the second degree. A person is guilty of tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the second degree when he OR SHE: 1. Intentionally causes physical injury to a person for the purpose of obstructing, delaying, preventing or impeding the giving of testimony in a criminal, FAMILY COURT OR SUPREME COURT MATRIMONIAL proceeding by such person or another person or for the purpose of compelling such person or another person to swear falsely OR FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSTRUCTING, DELAYING, PREVENTING OR IMPEDING SUCH PERSON OR ANOTHER PERSON FROM REQUESTING FROM A COURT, PROSECUTOR, POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER THE ISSUANCE, ENFORCEMENT, EXTENSION OR EXPANSION OF AN ORDER OF PROTECTION; or 2. [He intentionally] INTENTIONALLY causes physical injury to a person on account of such person or another person having testified in a crimi- nal, FAMILY COURT OR SUPREME COURT MATRIMONIAL proceeding. Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the second degree is a class D felony. S 4. Section 215.13 of the penal law, as added by chapter 664 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: S 215.13 Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the first degree. A person is guilty of tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the first degree when: 1. He OR SHE intentionally causes serious physical injury to a person for the purpose of obstructing, delaying, preventing or impeding the giving of testimony in a criminal, FAMILY COURT OR SUPREME COURT MATRI- MONIAL proceeding by such person or another person or for the purpose of compelling such person or another person to swear falsely OR FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBSTRUCTING, DELAYING, PREVENTING OR IMPEDING SUCH PERSON OR ANOTHER PERSON FROM REQUESTING FROM A COURT, PROSECUTOR, POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER THE ISSUANCE, ENFORCEMENT, EXTENSION OR EXPANSION OF AN ORDER OF PROTECTION; or 2. He OR SHE intentionally causes serious physical injury to a person on account of such person or another person having testified in a crimi- nal, FAMILY COURT OR SUPREME COURT MATRIMONIAL proceeding. Tampering with a VICTIM OR witness in the first degree is a class B felony. S 5. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 215.14-a to read as follows: S 215.14-A INTIMIDATING A VICTIM OR WITNESS IN THE FOURTH DEGREE. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF INTIMIDATING A VICTIM OR WITNESS IN THE FOURTH DEGREE WHEN, KNOWING THAT ANOTHER PERSON POSSESSES (A) INFORMATION
RELATING TO A CRIMINAL TRANSACTION AND OTHER THAN IN THE COURSE OF THAT CRIMINAL TRANSACTION OR IMMEDIATE FLIGHT THEREFROM, OR (B) INFORMATION RELATING TO ANY VIOLATION OF OR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF AN ORDER OF PROTECTION, HE OR SHE WRONGFULLY INDUCES OR ATTEMPTS TO INDUCE SUCH OTHER PERSON TO REFRAIN FROM COMMUNICATING SUCH INFORMATION TO ANY COURT, GRAND JURY, PROSECUTOR, POLICE OFFICER OR PEACE OFFICER. INTIMIDATING A VICTIM OR WITNESS IN THE FOURTH DEGREE IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. S 6. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.

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