State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) described this weekend's brutal beating and robbery of an 88-year-old Rotterdam woman as "a tragic reminder" of the need for increased penalties for criminals who commit crimes against the elderly.
He called on the State Assembly to pass "Granny's Law," which would classify assault against a vulnerable elderly person as a violent felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison without parole. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senator Farley, passed the Senate unanimously on March 27, 2007.
"Although in this case the perpetrators have been charged with felony first-degree robbery, under current law it is likely that the actual assault may only be chargeable as a misdemeanor," Senator Farley explained. "The proposed new law would ensure that any assault against a vulnerable senior citizen could be prosecuted as a violent felony. Whether it's upgrading an assault charge from a misdemeanor to a violent felony, or it's adding an additional violent felony count to felony robbery charges, this legislation would give prosecutors a helpful tool in their arsenal against criminals."
The Senate-passed legislation was introduced following the serial muggings of two elderly women -- one of whom was 101 years of age -- in New York City. An AOL.com poll taken in mid-March found that 93% of the 103,191 respondents supported a law making such assaults a felony. Having passed the Senate, the bill has been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee, where it is sponsored by 54 Assemblymembers.