senate Bill S7848

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the privacy rights of crime victims

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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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Jun 13, 2014 referred to codes

S7848 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A10107
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Civil Rights Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง50-f, Civ Rts L

S7848 - Bill Texts

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Relates to the privacy rights of crime victims; prohibits public servants from disseminating or broadcasting of images of crime victims.

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BILL NUMBER:S7848

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to
the privacy rights of crime victims

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: A public servant, or anyone acting as
a public servant who intentionally broadcast or publishes an image of
a crime victim outside of their official duties can be subject to a
civil action to recover damages suffered by reason of such wrongful
disclosure.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends the civil rights law by adding a new section 50-f.

Section 2 is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: In March 2009, a 26 year-old woman named Caroline
Wimmer was brutally murdered in her West Brighton, Staten Island
apartment. Caroline was a charming and fun-loving young woman, popular
amongst her friends and beloved by her family. Emergency personnel
arrived on the scene shortly after Caroline's horrified mother found
her on the floor of her bathroom. Inexplicably and shockingly, one' of
the EMTs on the scene - Mark Musarella took a picture of Caroline and
later posted it on his Facebook page.

Despite the egregiousness of this act, Musarella could only be charged
with the simple misdemeanor of official conduct; he would later plead
own to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, a mere violation no
more serious than trespassing or possession of a small amount of
marijuana. He also received only 200 hours of community service and no
jail time.

New York State law must be updated to address situations like this. It
is clear from the outcome of Mark Musarella's prosecution that current
law is inadequate in this area. This bill would bring the Civil Rights
Law right of privacy section into the modern age and ensure that any
public official who commits a ghastly, insensitive and appalling act
such as this can be subject to a civil action to recover damages
suffered by reason of such wrongful disclosure.

It will further help deter such actions and try to ensure that no
family will have to experience the double horrors that the Wimmer
family faced. Further, this law would strongly promote the training of
public servants to encourage proper and respectful treatment of crime
victim images and discourage egregious acts like this.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

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

                                  7848

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 13, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  SAVINO -- 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 the privacy  rights
  of crime victims

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

  Section 1. The civil rights law is amended by  adding  a  new  section
50-f to read as follows:
  S  50-F.  RIGHT  OF  PRIVACY;  DISSEMINATION  OF  THE IMAGE OF A CRIME
VICTIM. 1. THE IMAGE OF A CRIME VICTIM, WITHIN THE  MEANING  OF  SECTION
SIX HUNDRED FORTY-ONE OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, SHALL BE DEEMED CONFIDENTIAL
TO  THE EXTENT PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION. NO PERSON WHO IS A PUBLIC SERV-
ANT, OR WHO IS PERFORMING THE OFFICIAL DUTIES OF A PUBLIC  SERVANT,  WHO
IN  THE  COURSE  OF HIS OR HER OFFICIAL DUTIES RECORDS A STILL OR MOTION
PICTURE IMAGE OF  A  CRIME  VICTIM,  SHALL  INTENTIONALLY  BROADCAST  OR
PUBLISH SUCH IMAGE OF SUCH CRIME VICTIM OUTSIDE OF THE COURSE OF CONDUCT
OF  HIS  OR  HER  OFFICIAL  DUTIES,  EXCEPT THAT NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE
CONSTRUED TO IMPAIR OR DIMINISH THE  AUTHORITY  TO  USE  SUCH  STILL  OR
MOTION  PICTURE  IMAGE  FOR  AN  AUTHORIZED  OFFICIAL PURPOSE, INCLUDING
AUTHORIZED TRAINING, NOR THE OBLIGATION TO DISCLOSE SUCH IMAGE  PURSUANT
TO A COURT ORDER OR AS MAY OTHERWISE BE REQUIRED BY LAW.
  2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
  (A)  "BROADCAST" MEANS ELECTRONICALLY TRANSMITTING A VISUAL IMAGE WITH
THE INTENT THAT IT BE VIEWED BY A PERSON.
  (B) "DISSEMINATE" MEANS TO GIVE, PROVIDE, LEND, DELIVER,  MAIL,  SEND,
FORWARD,  TRANSFER  OR  TRANSMIT, ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE TO ANOTHER
PERSON.
  (C) "PUBLISH" MEANS TO (I) POST, PRESENT, DISPLAY, EXHIBIT, CIRCULATE,
ADVERTISE OR ALLOW ACCESS, ELECTRONICALLY OR OTHERWISE, SO AS TO MAKE AN
IMAGE OR IMAGES AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC; OR (II)  DISSEMINATE  WITH  THE
INTENT  THAT  AN IMAGE OR IMAGES BE POSTED, PRESENTED, DISPLAYED, EXHIB-
ITED, CIRCULATED,  ADVERTISED  OR  MADE  ACCESSIBLE,  ELECTRONICALLY  OR
OTHERWISE AND TO MAKE SUCH IMAGE OR IMAGES AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD15577-01-4

S. 7848                             2

   3.  IF  AN  IMAGE OF A CRIME VICTIM, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF
THIS SECTION, IS BROADCAST OR PUBLISHED IN VIOLATION  OF  SUCH  SUBDIVI-
SION,  ANY PERSON INJURED BY SUCH BROADCAST OR PUBLICATION, MAY BRING AN
ACTION TO RECOVER ACTUAL AND/OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES SUFFERED BY REASON  OF
SUCH WRONGFUL BROADCAST OR PUBLICATION. IN ANY ACTION BROUGHT UNDER THIS
SECTION,  THE COURT MAY AWARD REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES TO A PREVAILING
PLAINTIFF.
  4. ANY PERSON WHO, UPON APPLICATION TO  A  COURT  HAVING  JURISDICTION
OVER  SAID ACTION, DEMONSTRATES TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT THAT AN
AUTHORIZED, OFFICIAL PURPOSE EXISTED FOR SUCH BROADCAST OR  PUBLICATION,
SHALL HAVE A DEFENSE TO SUCH ACTION. SUCH APPLICATION SHALL BE MADE UPON
NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES AS WELL AS THE CRIME VICTIM AND ANY PERSON LEGALLY
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE OF SUCH CRIME VICTIM.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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