Keeping Kids Safe: Majority Mandates Life Without Parole For Child Killers
Child Protection Act of 2010 Strengthens Penal Law, Establishes New Penalties for Murder & Rape of a Child
The Senate Democratic Majority passed some of the strongest laws in the country making those responsible for the intentional death of a child punishable to the very fullest extent of the law – life without the opportunity for parole.
The Majority’s legislation, the Child Protection Act of 2010 (S7705/Hassell-Thompson) establishes the class A-I felony of aggravated murder of a child; under this charge the sentence is life imprisonment without parole. Aggravated murder includes:
- Intentional killing of a person under 14 while in the course of committing rape, criminal sexual acts, aggravated sexual abuse or incest against such child.
- Depraved indifference or intentional killing of a person under 14 while being legally responsible for the care of such child.
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Mt. Vernon), Chairwoman of the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections, and lead sponsor of this bill said, “This legislation, known as the Child Protection Act of 2010, was introduced in response to the need to enhance protection for children and has the potential to stop serious forms of child abuse before they turn fatal. Currently, even if abuse is inflicted regularly for years, only a misdemeanors can be charged. There are many cases where children who are the most vulnerable are abused for long periods of time and are ultimately killed. This legislation will provide law enforcement and the courts with more effective tools to protect children before the abuse turns fatal.”
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson said, “As a father, I can think of no worse crime than a deadly act of violence against a innocent child. Punishing those who commit such offenses to the fullest extent of the law is the only way to stop these crimes from ever starting. Now, armed with some of the strongest laws in the country, our children can walk the streets free from fear. I applaud the efforts of Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, lead sponsor of the Senate’s bill to protect children from senseless violence.”
Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) said, “The murder or harm of a child at the hand of the people who are supposed to protect them—caregivers and parents—is inconceivable, but unfortunately still occurs. Though nothing can bring the victims back, this legislation will ensure that families and victims get justice, and that those who cause harm to the vulnerable and defenseless children who depend on them will get the harsh punishment they deserve."
Senator William T. Stachowski (D-Lake View) said, “The abuse of a child should never be tolerated in any form whatsoever. We have the ability at the state level to change the law and create better protections for vulnerable children. After critical examination of New York’s current child protection laws, we believe we can greatly improve upon the system that is designed to safeguard them from harm. In addition, we will increase the punishments for anyone who would hurt an innocent child. I am confident that this legislation will result in tougher and more effective laws.”
Senator Martin Malave Dilan (D-Brooklyn) said, “The Child Protection Act is yet another measure of our commitment to protecting New York children. It’s time the penalties imposed on those that commit these heinous crimes be the most severe we can administer. This legislation assures that the cycle of violence against children is broken early and that children can safely and confidently confront their attackers in court.”
Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) said, “Our children are our most precious possession and their safe custody our most earnest duty. The Child Protection Act of 2010 (S7705) will increase awareness of issues encompassing the protection of our progeny and afford additional and special protections. It is an important instrument in an arsenal that attempts to increase the security of our offspring. I salute Senator Hassell-Thompson for her dedicated and diligent efforts.”
The law also strengthens other parts of the state’s penal law, establishing the offenses of aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated abuse of a child in the first, second and third degrees, and aggravated endangering the welfare of a child. Additionally, the law:
- Defines a new class D violent felony of aggravated abuse of a child in the second degree and a new class C violent felony of aggravated abuse of a child in the first degree.
- Provide that a prosecution for aggravated murder of a child or aggravated manslaughter of a child cannot be terminated upon the consent of the parties.
- Provides that a child witness called to testify before the grand jury may be accompanied by a social worker, psychologist, or other professional to provide emotional support when giving testimony regarding a charge of aggravated murder of a child, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated abuse of a child in the first, second or third degree or aggravated endangering the welfare of a child.
- Provides that a person convicted of the new crimes of aggravated murder of a child, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated abuse of a child in the first, second or third degree or aggravated endangering the welfare of a child must give a DNA sample for inclusion in the DNA database.
- Renames the crime reckless assault of a child by a child day care provider to aggravated abuse of a child in the third degree. This E felony, which formerly only applied to day care providers, now would apply to a parent, guardian or person in a position of trust who recklessly causes physical injury to a child under age 14.
For more information visit http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S7705