June 19, 2012

State Senator Mike Nozzolio today announced that he and his Senate colleagues have renewed their commitment to adopting a tougher stance against violent crime by once again enacting “Brittany’s Law” (S.3645D), legislation Senator Nozzolio sponsored to create a statewide registry tracking violent felony offenders.

“Brittany’s Law represents a major step forward for our State in the fight against violent crime. By putting measures in place for law enforcement to track violent offenders and keeping our communities informed of their whereabouts, Brittany’s Law will save lives,” said Senator Nozzolio, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. “I thank State Senator Joseph Griffo for his invaluable efforts in developing this legislation and commend all of my colleagues for their continued support of this important measure.  I will not stop fighting to enact Brittany’s Law to prevent future tragedy from occurring.”

The State Senate first adopted Brittany’s Law last year, but the New York City-controlled leadership of the State Assembly refused to bring the legislation to a vote. Senator Nozzolio and Senator Griffo have continued to fight hard to see the measure become Law, working with law enforcement officials and crime victims’ advocates, including Dale Driscoll, grandmother to Brittany Passalacqua, for whom the law is named.

Words cannot express the gratitude my family and I share for all the hard work Senator Nozzolio has put into continuing to fight for Brittany’s Law,”  said Dale Driscoll. “These horrific crimes were heartbreaking for our family, but if this legislation prevents another family from suffering what we have been through, my daughter and granddaughter will not have died in vain. People should have the right to know who they’re bringing into their lives.”

In November of 2009, 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua was brutally and savagely murdered along with her mother, Helen Buchel, at their home in Geneva. The perpetrator was John Edward Brown, a violent convicted felon who had been released from prison early after serving only 2 ½ years for assaulting his infant daughter in 2003. Brown had been put on parole just months before he committed the murders.

Since these tragic murders occurred, Senator Nozzolio has worked closely with Dale Driscoll to develop legislation that would establish tougher penalties for violent offenders so they can no longer threaten the lives and safety of innocent people in our communities.

Brittany’s Law would require all individuals convicted of a violent felony to register with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) upon release from prison. 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.

“All we need now for the violent offender registry to become a reality is for the State Assembly to adopt Brittany’s Law. New York State currently requires all convicted sex offenders to register with the State and keeps track of those individuals.  It makes no sense that we do not do the same for those who commit violent felony crimes against our citizens. We cannot continue to put innocent New Yorkers at risk,” said Senator Nozzolio.