Domestic Violence

Named after a girl from Geneva who was murdered, Brittany's Law has passed through the New York Senate by a 50 to 11 vote. This is the next step toward becoming an official law, though it still needs to get through the Assembly. That could prove much harder to do.

After all, the New York State Senate has given a nod to the law annually for the last five years, starting in 2011. Every year, the Assembly has then neglected to vote, meaning the bill dies until the following year. Supporters hope this year will be different, and they're giving the Assembly another chance.

The Proposal

The law is named for Brittany Passalacqua, who was stabbed and killed when she was just 12 years old. Her mother was killed as well. The law proposes that a public registry be created, listing the names of those who have been convicted on felony charges for domestic violence issues. The registry would also have pictures and tell people where the felons are living after they get out of jail. In many ways, this is similar to what is already done for those convicted as sex offenders.

Could It Have Saved Them?

The girl's grandmother thinks that her daughter and granddaughter could have been saved by the registry. The mother, Helen Buchel, was dating a man named John Brown. He'd already assaulted and injured his own infant daughter, and he served three years for it. When he met Buchel, though, he lied and said he'd been in a fight trying to defend another woman. Now, the grandmother says her daughter never would have dated the man if there were some way that Buchel could have learned the truth about him. Then, he wouldn't have been in her home, where he could murder her and Brittany.

New Obligations

It's hard to know if the bill will make it into law, with the track record it has right now. However, it's important for New York residents to keep an eye on it, as it could significantly change sentencing obligations in the future. As those on the sex offenders registry know, following the regulations is very important, and neglecting to do so can result in new charges and convictions, bringing about more time served. Those accused of domestic violence could find themselves in the same situation.

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