Ritchie Bill Would Make Electronic Monitor Tampering a Crime

Patty Ritchie

June 12, 2013

Legislation Sparked by Case of David Renz, Accused Killer Said to Have Defeated Device 46 Times

State Senator Patty Ritchie has introduced legislation to make it a crime to tamper with electronic monitoring devices, like the ankle bracelet that was supposed to be helping law enforcement keep an eye on accused killer-child rapist David Renz.

The bill (S.5422-A), which is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, a Buffalo-area Democrat and cosponsored in the Senate by Senator John DeFrancisco and Senator David Valesky,  would make it a felony—adding up to four years of additional prison time—for an offender who tampers with a device and commits another violent crime, and up to one year in jail if no other crime is involved.

Right now, tampering with a device can be a violation of parole or pre-sentencing release, but it is not a separate crime.

“Electronic monitoring devices are intended to help law enforcement keep watch over suspected or convicted criminals, who might otherwise be held behind bars,” Senator Ritchie said. “But this horrific case shows that they are far from fool-proof. My bill seeks to create a strong deterrent for continued criminal activity, a valuable tool for law enforcement, and an additional level of protection to keep the community safe.”

"It is critical that we make certain individuals who are required to wear electronic monitoring equipment held accountable for interfering with the device. These individuals are monitored for a reason and any tampering of it should be considered a crime," said Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak.

Law enforcers said that Renz removed his ankle monitoring device before attacking and killing Lori Bresnahan, an ex-Oswego school librarian, and raping a 10-year-old girl in a Central New York parking lot in March.

Renz was awaiting trial on federal child pornography charges, and reportedly tampered with the device as many as 46 times, removing and reassembling the bracelet with duct tape.

Senator Ritchie said she will push for passage of the measure before the scheduled end of the legislative session next week.