Assembly urged to act on Brittany’s Law before end of session

For the eighth consecutive year, the New York State Senate today approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara to enact what’s known as “The Domestic Violence Protection Act-Brittany’s Law.”

The legislation would require convicted domestic violence offenders to register with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) following their release from prison, hospitalization or institutionalization.

The registry information would be available to the public through a registry similar to New York’s existing Sex Offender Registry. The legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Western New York Senator Catharine Young.

“There are too many brutal, tragic cases of a domestic violence convict being released from prison and committing another violent, often fatal attack on unsuspecting victims, most often a woman and her children. If you know that someone you’re starting a relationship with has a history of domestic violence, it at least gives you a chance to think twice before any harm comes to you or your children,” said O’Mara. “The public has a right to know and, most importantly, a right to the protection this registry would provide. The Assembly Democrat leadership needs to start putting victims’ rights ahead of violent criminals.”

“Brittany’s Law” memorializes 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua, and her mother, Helen Buchel, of Geneva, New York, who were brutally murdered in 2009 by a paroled domestic violence offender. Buchel had begun dating the killer, John Edward Brown, without knowing that he was a recent parolee after being incarcerated six years earlier for violently assaulting his infant daughter.

The legislation is currently in the Assembly Corrections Committee. It’s sponsored by Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, among others.

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