senate Bill S4865

Amended

Relates to providing witnesses with facility dogs

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 29 / Apr / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 15 / Nov / 2013
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CODES
  • 15 / Nov / 2013
    • PRINT NUMBER 4865A
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 10 / Mar / 2014
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 29 / Apr / 2014
    • DEFEATED IN CODES

Summary

Relates to providing witnesses with facility dogs.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7159
Versions:
S4865
S4865A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Criminal Procedure Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 67 ยงยง67.00 - 67.10, CP L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4865

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation
to providing witnesses with facility dogs

PURPOSE: To facilitate testimony the truth finding process through fair
and accurate testimony by providing a judge with the discretion to allow
certain witnesses the ability to testify in the presence of a facility
dog.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill entitles the bill "Rosie' s Law."

Section 2 of the bill sets forth the legislative intent,

Section 3 of the bill adds a new article sixty-seven to the criminal
procedure law to allow a judge at their discretion to permit either a
victim or witness of a crime of violence or sexual assault, a child or
physically, mentally or psychologically impaired person to have a facil-
ity dog present while testifying.

Section 4 of the bill sets forth that the bill will take effect imme-
diately.

JUSTIFICATION: The purpose of a trial is to get to the truth of a
matter, However, participating in courtroom or other legal proceedings
(e.g., depositions, forensic interviews) is arguably one of the most
emotionally trying events that most people experience. The stress is
compounded for certain individuals. The presence of a well trained dog
can significantly reduce the anxiety associated with these experiences
thereby improving the efficiency and quality of a persons communi-
cations.

The use of dogs in the courtroom has expanded rapidly in the United
States and is now spreading worldwide, as a mechanism for calming and
supporting individuals involved in courtroom proceedings. The scientific
evidence for the physical and mental calming effects of appropriately
bred and trained dogs is now overwhelming, and includes both physical
and psychological effects across short and long time frames

For instance, there is strong evidence of short-term physical effects:
petting an animal produces short-term decreases in blood pressure and/or
heart rate In fact, these effects may be seen even in individuals simply
in the presence of a dog Of less relevance to this discussion are the
many studies illustrating pronounced long-term positive effects on phys-
ical health as well.

There are also well-documented short-term (and long-term) effects on
psychological health, including positive effects on social communication
and ability to make social contacts, reduction in feelings of loneliness
and isolation, and improvements in depression and self-esteem.

The use of facility dogs can help bring about an important change in how
we meet the emotional needs of all involved in the criminal justice
system.

This law is named for Rosie who was the first Assistance Dog allowed by
a New York State court to accompany a witness into the witness box
during testimony. During the testimony, Rosie lied motionless on the
floor of the witness stand, using only her snout to press into the
teen's lower leg to bring calm when needed. Rosie enabled the child
victim to testify in court against the man who had repeatedly abused
her. Rosie, a beautiful Golden Retriever, who became known worldwide as
"Rosie the Courthouse Dog" passed away on November 12, 2012 at the age
of 13. This law will honor Rosie and ensure that more courthouses are
opened to facility dogs such as Rosie to allow for a more efficient,
effective and compassionate justice system.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act will take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4865

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 29, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  GIPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law,  in  relation  to  providing
  witnesses with facility dogs

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. This act shall be known and  shall  be  cited  as  "Rosie's
Law".
  S  2.  Legislative  intent.  Testifying  in court is an unfamiliar and
stressful event for most people and certain individuals are at a greater
predisposition to be impacted by the stress. The stress can  hamper  the
ability  of a witness to provide testimony in a proceeding and interfere
with the truth finding process. It has  been  shown  that  when  certain
individuals are permitted to have a facility dog assist them in a court-
house setting it helps reduce victim or witness anxiety.  The purpose of
this legislation is to facilitate the truth finding process through fair
and accurate testimony. If in order to facilitate testimony that is fair
and  accurate,  the  court determines by a preponderance of the evidence
that a victim or witness who is either under the age of  18,  physically
or  mentally  impaired  or a victim or witness of a crime of violence or
sexual assault could suffer emotional distress while testifying in court
that could impair the ability of the victim or  witness  to  effectively
communicate,  the  court may order that a facility dog or the equivalent
thereof, if available, may  accompany  the  victim  or  witness  to  the
witness stand or be visible to the victim or witness in the courtroom.
  S  3. The criminal procedure law is amended by adding a new article 67
to read as follows:
                               ARTICLE 67
               USE OF FACILITY DOGS FOR CERTAIN WITNESSES
SECTION 67.00 DEFINITIONS.
        67.10 USE OF FACILITY DOGS; GENERAL RULE.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10376-02-3

S. 4865                             2

S 67.00 DEFINITIONS.
  AS  USED IN THIS ARTICLE "FACILITY DOG" MEANS A DOG THAT IS A GRADUATE
FROM AN ASSISTANCE DOG ORGANIZATION ACCREDITED BY ASSISTANCE DOG  INTER-
NATIONAL.  A  FACILITY DOG MUST BE PARTNERED WITH A WORKING PROFESSIONAL
FACILITATOR, BE SKILLED AT MAINTAINING A  CALM  MANNER,  AND  HAVE  GOOD
SOCIAL  BEHAVIOR  IN A VARIETY OF ENVIRONMENTS. A FACILITY DOG MUST ALSO
BE ACCUSTOMED TO INTERACTING WITH INDIVIDUALS WITH  PHYSICAL,  EMOTIONAL
AND/OR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.
S 67.10 USE OF FACILITY DOGS; GENERAL RULE.
  1.  A COURT SHALL PERMIT THE USE OF A FACILITY DOG WHEN, IN A CRIMINAL
PROCEEDING INVOLVING THE PROSECUTION OF AN OFFENSE COMMITTED AGAINST  OR
WITNESSED  BY A PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, OR PSYCHOLOGICALLY IMPAIRED PERSON
OR A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN OR A VICTIM OR WITNESS OF  A  CRIME
OF  VIOLENCE  OR SEXUAL ASSAULT, THE COURT DETERMINES BY A PREPONDERANCE
OF THE EVIDENCE THAT IT IS LIKELY THAT SUCH WITNESS WILL  BE  UNABLE  TO
EFFECTIVELY  COMMUNICATE  IF REQUIRED TO TESTIFY WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF
SUCH FACILITY DOG AND THAT THE PRESENCE OF SUCH FACILITY DOG WILL FACIL-
ITATE SUCH TESTIMONY.
  2. WHEN THE COURT DECLARES THAT THE USE OF A FACILITY DOG IS APPROPRI-
ATE, IT SHALL INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT THE FACILITY DOGS  ARE  USED  IN  A
COURTHOUSE  SETTING TO HELP REDUCE VICTIM OR WITNESS ANXIETY AND THAT NO
SIGNIFICANCE SHOULD BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE DOG'S  PRESENCE,  NOR  DOES  IT
SUGGEST THE COURT'S OR COUNSEL'S ENDORSEMENT OF THE TESTIFYING VICTIM OR
WITNESS.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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