Statement on the Enactment of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act
The New York City Bar Association applauds Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for adopting the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act into law. The City Bar has long supported this measure, which will grant judges greater leeway to consider alternative sentencing for survivors of domestic violence where the abuse they suffered was a significant contributing factor to their criminal behavior and will empower currently-incarcerated survivors to petition for re-sentencing on those grounds. This Act will mitigate the terrible costs of domestic violence borne by survivors and their children. It will also lift a substantial burden from the public, which shoulders the cost of incarceration and of care for children of incarcerated parents. Appropriate candidates will be returned to their families and homes, without jeopardizing public safety or imposing an undue administrative burden on the courts.
“This bill gives judges the discretion they need to render appropriate sentences for survivors of domestic abuse” said City Bar President Roger Juan Maldonado. “Victims of abuse are victims of manipulation and fear. The City Bar has championed this reform as a key step towards recognizing that harsh sentences for victims of coercion benefit neither the defendant nor the public.” The City Bar commends the Governor and Legislature for enacting this bill to protect some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.