Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Toughen Parole Requirements for Persistent Sex Offenders
Bills were sponsored by Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi in response to a recent murder case in Utica
(ALBANY) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed two bills sponsored by State Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-IP/Rome) and Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi (D-WF-IP/Utica) designed to toughen requirements and procedures for repeat sex offenders.
Griffo and Brindisi’s legislation requiring that paroled sex offenders photos be kept up to date, and requires that all records of sex offenders being interviewed for parole release be reviewed by the State Office of Mental Health to determine if the release is appropriate will both become state law in 30 days.
Both bills were introduced following the rape and murder last November of a Utica motel owner by Robert Blainey, a serial rapist who had recently been released from prison even though he had recently told parole officials it was not safe for him to be returned to society. After his release, Blainey significantly changed his appearance, and was able to hide from authorities for several weeks until he committed murder and escaped to Pennsylvania. He was quickly apprehended and later pleaded guilty to the crime.
“These new laws will address flaws in the system,” said Griffo. “I vowed that I would do everything in my power to advocate and pass the measures necessary to protect people of Oneida County and not let New York families, already victimized once by predators, to be victimized a second time by that system. Today, we moved to show that no community anywhere in this state should have to live in the kind of fear that gripped Oneida County because of gaping holes in existing policies. We believe that had these measures been in place, there could have been a far different chain of events than the tragedy that transpired last fall in Utica. We’re pleased that Governor Cuomo saw the need to plug the holes in the system by signing these measures which have the overwhelming support of lawmakers, law enforcement and the public.”
“These laws are common sense measures that will help protect New Yorkers from violent sex offenders who try to skirt parole requirements or who are not mentally fit for release from incarceration,” Brindisi said. “I commend Governor Cuomo for working with Senator Griffo and I to help protect our families and loved ones from violent persistent sexual predators and to provide law enforcement and the public with the most up to date information to catch these individuals if they violate parole requirements.”
Specifically, A.8917/S.6785 will require State OMH experts to review the transcript of the parole interviews of violent offenders to determine if they should be civilly confined because they pose a risk to public safety. The second bill (A.9229/S.7569) requires that parole officials have up to date photos of violent sexual offenders on file, in the event that the parolee changes their appearance.
Both Griffo and Brindisi said they plan to reintroduce legislation in the next legislative session that will require that violent felony offenders serve their maximum sentence if their release poses an imminent threat to society, and that would also provide for additional discharge planning for anyone being released from civil confinement.