Public Gives A Big Thumbs-up To Senate Majority Bill Imposing Stiffer Penalties For Attacks On Seniors

Martin J. Golden

March 15, 2007

The Senate Majority’s proposed bill (S. 3684 - Golden) that would impose tougher penalties on individuals who brutally assault senior citizens received a tremendous vote of public confidence today in a new America Online Poll ( The introduction of the bill followed the recent vicious attacks on Queens residents 101-year-old Rose Morat and 85-year-old Solange Elizee.

The following question was posed today on the website, and the results as of 4:15 p.m. are posted below:

New York may make an assault on anyone over 70 a felony. Your view?
Good idea 93%
Not sure 4%
Bad idea 3%
Total Votes: 103,191

"Those despicable criminals who would assault and victimize seniors, our parents and grandparents, deserve punishment equal to the heinous character of their crimes," said Senator Andrew Lanza (R, Staten Island).

"The people have spoken and their message is clear -- they want tougher penalties and longer sentences for criminals who batter senior citizens," said Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), who serves as Chairman of the Senate Task Force on Critical Choices.

"We cannot allow seniors to be targeted and assaulted simply because they are not physically able to defend themselves," said Senator Serphin Maltese (Queens). "When anyone gets mugged and assaulted, I consider it to be a serious crime. But when a 101-year-old woman gets mugged and assaulted it’s an outrageous and potentially life-threatening crime that clearly calls out for more severe penalties."

"Preying on the elderly is despicable and those who took the poll on AOL resoundingly agree with my colleagues and me," Senator Frank Padavan (Queens) noted. "It sickens me that anyone would want to assault someone who physically can’t fight back, and our legislation will severely increase penalties on these cowardly delinquents."

While the assailant in these two cases could face robbery charges, under current law he would only face a misdemeanor charge for his physical attacks on the two elderly women. The legislation announced yesterday would make it a class D or class E violent felony to assault any senior over the age of 70. The bill will also make it a class D or class E violent felony to assault someone age 60 or older who suffers from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age. A class D violent felony conviction carries a potential penalty of up to 7 years in prison, while a class E felony conviction carries a potential penalty of up to 4 years in prison. As violent felony offenses, these crimes carry determinate sentences and the perpetrators would not be eligible for parole.