Governor Signs Grannys Law Legislation

Martin J. Golden

May 13, 2008



Governor David A. Paterson today announced the signing of legislation to help curb predatory attacks on New York's elderly. Governor Paterson was joined for the bill signing at St. Margaret’s House on Fulton Street by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and several members of the State Legislature, which overwhelmingly approved the legislation.

The law, known as "Granny’s Law," was sparked in part by last year’s brutal beatings of 101-year-old Rose Morat and 85-year-old Solange Elizee of Queens. If an assailant is 10 years younger than a victim, the bill will increase the penalty for assaulting a person 65 years or older from a class A misdemeanor to second-degree assault – a class D violent felony that is punishable by up to seven years in prison..

"It is unconscionable that anyone would assault a senior citizen, but we continue to witness these disturbing acts of violence," said Governor Paterson. "I am pleased that my colleagues in the Legislature worked together to pass this legislation, and that this bill provides a measure of safety for our elderly."

Senator Martin Golden, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor, said: "Millions of New Yorkers were outraged by the despicable and cowardly attacks against Rose Morat and Solange Elizee. A person capable attacking the elderly is not simply a mugger – they are a dangerous menace to society who should be kept behind bars for as long as possible. The bottom line is that anyone who physically attacks a senior citizen should be severely punished, and that’s why the additional penalties provided for by this law are very much needed."

Under current law, an intentional assault that causes physical injury to the victim constitutes third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. The charge is elevated to second-degree assault if there are certain aggravating factors, such as intentionally causing "serious" physical injury, intentionally causing physical injury with a deadly weapon, or causing injury to particular types of victims (i.e. police or peace officers, students, or teachers) who are more likely to be targeted by criminals.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, said: "Last year, 101-year-old Rose Morat and 85-year-old Solange Elizee were brutally attacked within a half-hour of each other, and New Yorkers were outraged by the cowardly, despicable act. As elected officials, our biggest responsibility is protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and I’d like to commend Senators Golden, Maltese, and Padavan for their tireless dedication in getting this legislation passed and signed into law today. It’s truly horrendous when criminals seek out and assault the elderly -- with this law, we are ensuring they will be properly punished."