On Monday New York State Senate passed Brittany’s Law.
It wasn’t the first, second, or third time the proposed legislation had gotten through one of the state’s chambers. It was the eighth.
The legislation would establish a violent offender’s registry, and was named after 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua, who was brutally murdered along with her mother, 34-year-old Helen Buchel, in Geneva in 2009.
The man convicted of killing Brittany and her mother, John Edward Brown, was a parolee released from prison after serving only 2.5 years of a 3-year sentence for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003.
The measure would require violent felony offenders to register with the State Division of Criminal Justice Services upon discharge, parole, or release from any state or local facility, hospital, or institution, and it would allow the dissemination of and access to certain information to the public. It would also establish annual registration requirements and guidelines to allow state and local law enforcement agencies to monitor the whereabouts of violent felony offenders.
Though several other states already have some form of a violent felony offender registry, New York State has not yet taken constructive steps to track the whereabouts of violent felony offenders who, as research indicates, are likely to repeat violent crimes upon release from prison.
Senator Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) said, “Once again, the Senate has passed Brittany’s Law so that we can protect our citizens from violent felony offenders and prevent tragedies such as the one that happened to Brittany and her mother. And once again, we are waiting for the Assembly Majority and the Governor to take action and put this critical measure up for a vote. The Assembly Majority and the Governor claim they support victims of domestic violence, and this is one step they can take to help victims.”
She added, “We need to give our law enforcement officers and the public a way to track these violent offenders once they return to our communities. We have a registry for gun owners, for sex offenders, and even – in New York City – for those who abuse animals, yet there is no registry to keep track of violent felons. Those convicted of sex crimes must register, so a similar system for those convicted of violent crimes just makes sense. Thank you to my Senate colleagues for once again supporting this much-needed, commonsense legislation. On behalf of Dale Driscoll, Brittany’s grandmother and Helen’s mother, I strongly urge the Assembly Majority and the Governor to do the same.”
On Tuesday, Dale Driscoll, Brittany Passalacqua’s grandmother, and staunch advocate for the legislation was on Inside the FLX talking about the process, and what she believes is preventing the measure from getting a full-vote in New York State Assembly.