senate Bill S124

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Expands scope of criminal mischief to include cases wherein a person intentionally damages property of another with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 06, 2010 referred to codes
Jan 07, 2009 referred to codes

S124 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Penal Law

S124 - Bill Texts

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BILL NUMBER: S124

TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the penal law, in relation to criminal mischief in
certain cases


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
Expands the scope of the crime of criminal mischief to include cases
wherein a person intentionally damages property of another with the
intent to harass, annoy, or alarm, in order to address cases of
domestic violence that include property damage.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Section 1 of the bill amends the Penal Law sections 145.00; 145.05,
and 145.10, to add an element to each count of criminal mischief to
cover a situation where a person, with intent to harass, annoy, or
alarm another person, intentionally damages property in which the
other person has a possessory or proprietary interest, which property
may include marital property. Section 2 of the bill amends the
Criminal Procedure Law to add criminal mischief to the list of family
offenses. Section 3 of the bill amends the Family Court Act to add
criminal mischief to the list of family offenses.

JUSTIFICATION :
This law corrects the holding in PEOPLE v. PERSON 658 N.Y.S.2d .372
(2nd Dep't 1997) that a husband can not be charged with criminal
mischief when he destroys the personal property of his estranged wife
because the property was marital property in which the husband had a
proprietary interest. In that case, Mr. Person forcibly entered Ms.
Person's dwelling, assaulted her, and destroyed her clothing,
toiletries, the contents of her handbag, and various items of
household furnishings. Although convicted of criminal mischief in the
fourth degree at the trial level, the Appellate Division reversed,
holding that "because the defendant had an equitable interest in the
items he was charged with damaging or stealing... he could not be
charged with these crimes." The PERSON case misapplies the Domestic
Relations Law, which defines marital property for purposes of
equitable distribution, to a domestic violence crime under the Penal
Law. As the New York State Commission on Domestic Violence Fatalities
stated in its 1997 report to the Governor: "The court in PERSON
appears to have equated marital property for purposes of distribution
between the parties Upon divorce, with household property in which a
spouse has at least a proprietary interest. The explanatory comment
published with the Criminal Mischief sections of the Penal Law states:
'Property is that of another person...if anyone, other than the
defendant, has a possessory or proprietary interest in such tangible
property. The Commission recommended legislation to clarify that the
criminal mischief sections of the Penal Law do apply when a person
destroys marital or jointly owned property, committing a form of
domestic violence. Aggressors in domestic disputes often commit
domestic violence by destroying or damaging property of their victim
with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm. This type of behavior is a
form of domestic violence which the PERSON case in effect sanctions.
The case directly contradicts the strong public policy in this State
of protecting the victims of domestic violence. The bill implements
this policy by amending each count of criminal mischief to include
sanctions where a person has a possessory or proprietary interest with
the intent to annoy, harass or alarm that other person. Lastly, the
bill includes the crime of criminal mischief in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
degree in the list of crimes that can constitute a family offense
under the Criminal Procedure Law and the Family Court Act so that
victims of this form of domestic violence have the option of going to
Family Court for an order of protection when a person commits domes-
tic violence by destroying property.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
S.7612 of 2008
04/17/08 Referred to Codes

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become law.
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