O'Mara: New domestic violence law gives police and prosecutors, victims and families important new protections and tools

Thomas F. O'Mara

October 26, 2012

Albany, N.Y., October 26—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation unanimously approved by the Legislature earlier this year to strengthen New York’s domestic violence laws.

State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) strongly supported and voted in favor of the measure (S.7638) when it was approved by the Senate in early June.

“This new law represents yet another strong, bipartisan effort to enact comprehensive and landmark legislation that has statewide impact.  We continue to work together to make New York a better and safer state,” said O’Mara, a former assistant district attorney (ADA) in Manhattan and district attorney (DA) in Chemung County.  “This specific action builds on the fundamental responsibility to protect victims of domestic violence from unconscionable acts of harassment and violence.  It gives law enforcement additional and important tools to combat and prosecute these terrible and tragic crimes.”  

Highlights of the domestic violence legislation include the following:

> Establishing a domestic violence fatality review team to examine factors involved in deaths related to domestic violence;

> Expanding factors for bail consideration including prior violations of orders of protection;

> Creating a new felony-level crime of Aggravated Family Offense, where the defendant and victim are members of the same family or household;

> Elevating the crime of Harassment from a violation to a Class A misdemeanor, where the defendant and victim are members of the same family or household; and

> Prohibiting a person who was served with an order of protection or charged in the death of a decedent from controlling the disposition of the person’s remains.