Senate Passes Bill to Create a Registry of Violent Offenders

May 12, 2014

The New York State Senate today approved “Brittany’s Law,” a bill that would increase the safety and awareness of communities by creating a public registry of convicted violent felons. The bill (S1850B), 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.

Senator Nozzolio said, “Brittany’s Law represents a major step forward for New York in the fight against violent crime and domestic abuse crimes. 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 and former Chairman of the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, I am committed to enacting tougher sentencing laws for violent criminals, reinforcing laws to protect women and children from domestic violence, and strengthening the rights of crime victims to prevent future tragedy from occurring.”

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

Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), said, "The tragic death of Brittany Passalacqua - and the horrific mutilation of Andrew Lesperance of Massena - underscores the need for a registry of violent offenders. We have a responsibility to keep our communities safe. Brittany's Law will bring good out of tragedy, by giving families the information they need to know who is living in their neighborhood. The state's sex offender registry has helped many; we're expecting the same for the violent offender database. I thank Senator Nozzolio for his leadership on this bill, and urge my Assembly colleagues to join us in passing this important piece of legislation."

The legislation would require all individuals convicted of a violent felony to register with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) upon discharge, parole or release from any state or local facility, hospital or institution. The registry would be accessible to the public, similar to the registry of sex offenders that the State currently has in place. The legislation also establishes annual registration requirements for offenders to allow local law enforcement agencies and the State to monitor the whereabouts of these individuals.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.