senate Bill S1451

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Provides a private right of action against a person who intentionally discloses the identity of a victim of a sex crime

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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 08, 2014 referred to codes
Jan 09, 2013 referred to codes

Co-Sponsors

S1451 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Civil Rights Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§50-b & 50-c, Civ Rts L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S2482
2009-2010: S1686

S1451 - Bill Texts

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Provides a private right of action against a person who intentionally discloses the identity of a victim of a sex crime.

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BILL NUMBER:S1451

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the civil rights law, in relation to a private right of action
for the intentional disclosure of the identity of a victim of a sex crime

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends §50-b of the Civil Rights Law to allow
for release of certain documents where they are sufficiently redacted
to prevent identification of a victim of a sexual offense.

section two of the bill amends §50-C of the Civil Rights Law to
clarify who has a cause of action when the victim's identity is
intentionally disclosed in violation of the Civil Rights Law.

Section 3 is the enacting provision.

JUSTIFICATION:
During the 1991 legislative session, §50-b of the Civil Rights Law was
amended and a new §50-C was added. Section 50-b had protected against
the disclosure of the identity of the victim of a sex offense who had
been under the age of eighteen at the time of the alleged commission
of the offense. As amended, §50-b pertains to all victims of sex
offenses, irrespective of age.

The intent of §50-b is obvious - that the government should not
permit disclosures of records that would identify victims of sex
offenses.
Nevertheless, the language of §50-b is so broad that any record
containing the name or other identifier pertaining to a victim must
be withheld
see Fappiano v. New York City Police Department, 95 NY2d
738, (2001).

As a consequence, while victims' identities have been protected, so
have the identities of defendants. While §50-b is clearly
well-intentioned, it should not be used as a shield against
disclosure of all information relating to the alleged commission of a
sex offense and it certainly should not be used to protect defendants.

Due to the breadth and vagueness of the current statute, public
officials have been reluctant to disclose any information concerning
sex offenses for fear of litigation. To reduce the chilling effect of
the statute it requires further clarification.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2005-06: S.4907-A Senate Codes Cmte./A.10614 Assembly
Governmental Operations Cmte.
2007-08: S.892 Senate Codes Cmte./A.4610 Assembly Governmental
Operations Cmte.
2009-10: S.1686 Reported and Committed to Codes/A.2911 Governmental
Operations Cmte.
2011-12: S.2482 Senate Codes

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:


None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

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

                                  1451

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. FLANAGAN, MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN  ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to a private right of
  action for the intentional disclosure of the identity of a victim of a
  sex crime

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

  Section  1.  Subdivision 1 of section 50-b of the civil rights law, as
amended by chapter 320 of the laws  of  2006,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  1.  The identity of any victim of a sex offense, as defined in article
one hundred thirty or section 255.25, 255.26 or 255.27 of the penal law,
or of an offense involving the alleged transmission of the human immuno-
deficiency virus, shall be  confidential.  No  report,  paper,  picture,
photograph,  court file or other documents, in the custody or possession
of any public officer or employee, which identifies such a victim  shall
be  made  available  for  public  inspection.  No such public officer or
employee shall disclose any portion of any police report, court file, or
other document, which tends to identify such a victim except as provided
in subdivision two of this section.  WHERE ANY REPORT,  PAPER,  PICTURE,
PHOTOGRAPH, COURT FILE, POLICE REPORT OR OTHER DOCUMENT WHICH IDENTIFIES
OR  TENDS TO IDENTIFY SUCH VICTIM MAY BE SUFFICIENTLY REDACTED TO INSURE
SUCH VICTIM IS NOT IDENTIFIED SUCH DOCUMENT MAY  BE  DISCLOSED  ONLY  TO
ASSIST LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES IN INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING SUCH
OFFENSE.
  S  2. The opening paragraph of section 50-c of the civil rights law is
designated subdivision 1 and a new subdivision 2 is  added  to  read  as
follows:
  2.    IF  THE IDENTITY OF THE VICTIM OF A SEX OFFENSE IS INTENTIONALLY
DISCLOSED IN VIOLATION OF SECTION FIFTY-B OF THIS ARTICLE  AND  HAS  NOT

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05632-01-3

S. 1451                             2

OTHERWISE  BEEN  DISCLOSED, THE VICTIM, OR IF THE VICTIM IS DECEASED THE
VICTIM'S FAMILY, WHOSE IDENTITY WAS DISCLOSED MAY  BRING  AN  ACTION  TO
RECOVER DAMAGES ACTUALLY SUFFERED BY REASON OF SUCH WRONGFUL DISCLOSURE.
IN ANY ACTION BROUGHT UNDER THIS SECTION, THE COURT MAY AWARD REASONABLE
ATTORNEY'S FEES TO A PREVAILING PLAINTIFF.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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