Senator O'Mara says approved legislation gives police, prosecutors new tools to combat domestic violence

Thomas F. O'Mara

June 12, 2012

Albany, N.Y., June 12—The Legislature moved quickly today to approve a legislative agreement announced yesterday by Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to significantly strengthen New York’s domestic violence laws.

Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) voted in favor of the legislation in the Senate (S7638), which was later approved by the Assembly and now goes to Cuomo to be signed into law.

“This action represents yet another strong, bipartisan effort to enact comprehensive and landmark legislation this session. We continue to work together to make New York a better and safer place,” 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.