Senate Passes Bill to Create a Registry of Violent Offenders

June 11, 2013

The New York State Senate today approved “Brittany’s Law” to increase the safety and awareness of communities by creating a registry of convicted violent felons. The bill (S1850A), sponsored by Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-C, Fayette), establishes a statewide violent felony offender registry by requiring certain convicted felons to register with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) upon release from prison. 

“Brittany’s Law represents a major step forward for our state in the fight against violent crime,” Senator Nozzolio said. “By putting new measures in place to track violent offenders and keeping our communities informed of their whereabouts, Brittany’s Law will save lives.  As Chairman of the Senate Codes Committee,  I will continue my aggressive efforts to enact tougher sentencing laws for violent criminals, reinforce laws to protect women and children from domestic violence, and strengthen the rights of crime victims to prevent future tragedy from occurring.”

“The recidivism rate of violent offenders necessitates the need for a new law that will help keep our communities safe,” said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), a co-sponsor of the measure. “Our goal is to avert future tragedies for New York families who will never recover from losing a loved one because this registry isn't in place. New Yorkers have the right to know when violent offenders are living in their midst and this initiative will help law enforcement identify criminals who continually commit violent acts.”

Brittany’s Law is named for 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua who was murdered in 2009 along with her mother Helen Buchel in Geneva, Ontario County. The killer, John Edward Brown, was on parole at the time of the murder. He was released from prison after serving 2 ½ years of a three-year sentence for assaulting his infant daughter in 2003.

The bill requires violent felony offenders to register with DCJS upon discharge, parole, or release from any facility, hospital, or institution. Similar to the state’s Sex Offender registry, violent felons would be assigned risk levels. Annual registration requirements and corresponding procedural guidelines would be established to allow local law enforcement agencies and the state to monitor the whereabouts of violent felony offenders. The measure would also allow the dissemination of and access to certain information in the database to the public.

The bill is under consideration by the Assembly.