Golden Urges Assembly Action On "granny's Law"

Martin J. Golden

September 13, 2007

(Brooklyn) -- After a vicious Lower East Side attack earlier this week on a 95-yr old woman, State Senator Marty Golden today sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver to encourage his public support for "Granny’s Law."

The State Senate unanimously passed the "Granny’s Law" bill in March following the attacks of the101-year-old Queens grandmother, Rose Morat, who was mugged on her way to church and of 85-year-old Solange Elizee was also brutally beaten and mugged.

Senator Golden has continually urged Speaker Silver to bring this bill to a vote, "to ensure that criminals who perpetrate these heinous crimes are punished as violent felony offenses."
To date, Speaker Silver and the State Assembly have not yet acted on the measure.

"It’s unfortunate that this crime happened again," said Senator Golden. "Perhaps now that a crime like this took place in Shelly Silver’s district, he will respond to the concerns of his constituents and make it possible to lock these guys up."

The Senate bill would make it a class D or class E violent felony to assault any senior over the age of 70 and guarantee these crimes carry determinate sentences where the perpetrators will not be eligible for parole.

The full text of the letter sent to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is below.

September 12, 2007
The Honorable Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
250 Broadway
Suite 2307
New York, New York 10007

Dear Speaker Silver:
Following Monday's vicious attack on one of your constituents – a 95 year old woman who was beaten, kicked and trampled by a heartless criminal – I am urging you to change course and make a public commitment to approving "Granny’s Law" (S. 3684) in the State Assembly.
As you are aware, the State Senate unanimously approved "Granny’s Law" in response to the vicious attacks on 101-year-old Rose Morat, the Queens grandmother who was mugged on her way to church. The same attacker is also suspected in the beating and mugging of 85-year-old Solange Elizee, a crime that occurred just a half hour later.

Following these brutal attacks, the Senate reviewed current laws governing physical attacks against the elderly. We discovered that under current law such perpetrators would only face a misdemeanor charge for the physical attack portion of the incident.

Since the time that this horrific attack captured national attention, many more elderly New York residents have fallen prey to similar attacks -- most recently in your own Assembly district. Indeed, in the past four days alone there have been three separate incidents involving senior citizens being threatened and/or attacked.

These incidents, which occurred in three entirely separate regions of the State, include the following;

· On September 8, in Bay Shore on Long Island, a 32 year old man wielding a tire iron was arrested for attempting to rob a 74 year-old man;

· On September 9, 2007, in upstate Schenectady County an 88 year-old woman was brutally beaten and had bleach thrown in her eyes by two young attackers; and

· And on September 10, 2007 – in your own Assembly district – a 95 year-old woman was beaten and robbed outside her apartment at the East River Co-op on the Lower East Side. The attacker viciously threw her to the ground and kicked her – leaving marks on her chest and back.

The act of beating up an 80, 90 or 100 year-old person is, by its very nature, a potentially life-threatening act. Those who deliberately seek out and prey upon defenseless seniors are a dangerous menace to society, posing a unique and very serious threat to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

There is no question that the elderly are often targeted by criminals because of their inability to fight back and defend themselves. In my view -- a view shared by every member of the State Senate regardless of party -- the Legislature has an obligation to defend our senior citizens and to impose more appropriate penalties on those who would attack them.
When a senior is attacked in Upstate, on Long Island, or on the Lower East Side, I believe it is an outrage.

When an attack occurs and the perpetrator receives a mere slap on the wrist as a penalty, I believe it is an outrage.

With this in mind, I urge you to join with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, your fellow Democrats in the State Senate, and the members of the State Senate Majority, in supporting this vitally important legislation.

Senator Martin J. Golden
Senate Task Force on Critical Choices