TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to the consideration of
certain factors when determining the issuance of an order of
recognizance or bail
The bill will help protect more victims of domestic violence by
expanding criminal procedure law section 510.30. The bill will
require the court, when determining recognizance or bail in cases of
domestic violence, to consider certain enumerated factors which could
lead to intimidation or injury by the principal to the victim or
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one re-letters paragraph (b) as paragraph (c) of subdivision 2
of section 510.30 of the criminal procedure law and adds a new
paragraph (b). This new paragraph requires the court to consider
certain factors when determining recognizance or bail in cases of
domestic violence such as prior acts of violence or threats of
violence, prior orders of protection, prior arrests or convictions
for offenses against family or household members, prior violations of
orders of protection, and access to firearms or a history of firearm
Section two defines the effective date as the first of November
following the date on which it shall become law.
Domestic violence is a societal problem of enormous prevalence and
impact. It has been identified by the Surgeon General of the United
States as the number one health problem affecting American women, and
it floods the justice system of New York State as well as the courts
of every other state in the nation.
New York State has been in the forefront of addressing this problem by
passing many progressive laws over the past few decades, including
the mandatory arrest law, the law creating the registry of orders of
protection, an anti-stalking law, and a law requiring judges to
consider evidence of domestic violence in all child custody and
visitation cases. However, one important
area of the law has not been updated to take into account the unique
nature of domestic violence offenses: New York's bail provisions.
As a result, perpetrators of domestic violence offenses are often set
free on low or no bail and thereby allowed to stalk, harm and
sometimes kill their specifically targeted victims. In December 2002,
a perpetrator of domestic violence was released on $1,500 bail by a
city judge in Westchester County after an attempted assault with a
gun on his former girlfriend. Within days after his release on bail,
the perpetrator shot his former girlfriend in the head and killed
himself. As recently as July 2010, a similar tragic incident occurred
in Dutchess County when the perpetrator killed his wife before turning
the gun on himself. This incident occurred only days after his
release on bail, following one month in jail stemming from an
incident of domestic violence.
If judges determining recognizance and bail in domestic violence cases
were required to consider well established risk factors to the victim
such as a history of violence or threats of violence, prior orders of
protection, and the accused's access to guns, many victims and their
children would be spared additional harm and, in some tragic
incidences, their lives.
The bail statute currently does not consider the unique nature of
domestic violence cases. The criminal who commits a street crime
against a stranger, for example, is not likely to target the victim
for additional criminal activity while the case is pending and
afterwards. Precisely the reverse is true for domestic violence
perpetrators, who are highly likely to do so. Those who commit acts
of domestic violence do so to exercise power and control over their
specific victim, with whom they have a relationship. Domestic
violence has a high rate of recidivism, and tends to escalate in
frequency and severity over time. The initiation of a court case
against the perpetrator is a high-risk time for the victim, who is
perceived by the abuser as trying to escape the relationship.
Perpetrators often threaten and harm their victims during the
pendency of the case in order to force them not to cooperate with the
prosecution and to reconcile.
New York law does not allow the bail determination to be used for
"preventive detention," in order to protect the public from a
generalized threat of further criminal activity by an accused.
However, New York law does permit the bail determination to be used
when necessary to protect witnesses to the crime. Domestic violence
cases fall squarely within this rule because the victim of the
offense is the key and some- time the only witness and, as noted
above, is highly likely to be targeted by the perpetrator for further
threats or harm. Thus, in domestic violence cases, it is essential
that the judge determining recognizance or bail consider factors that
indicate a risk of harm to the victim-witness. This bill offers
guidance to judges by specifying factors including prior acts of
violence or threats of violence, prior orders of protection, prior
arrests or convictions for offenses against intimates or family
members, prior violations of orders of protection, and access to
Bail reform is necessary to protect the victim-witness of domestic
This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become a law.
Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.
By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.