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Violent Felony Offender Registry Would Save Lives; Child Advocates Petition for Law Changes

By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski)

I am a sponsor of legislation that would create a violent felon registry, similar to the sex offender registry.  This registry would enable the public to better protect itself against heinous crimes that cannot be undone.

The bill, “Brittany’s Law” was drafted after a woman and her daughter were brutally murdered in Geneva, NY, by a parolee.

Six years earlier, the offender had assaulted his infant daughter. Surviving family members believe their daughter and granddaughter would still be alive today if there was such a registry already in place.

According to the bill, many other states have some type of a violent felony offender registry.  Unfortunately, New York is not among those states yet that have taken steps to track the whereabouts of violent felony offenders who, as research indicates, are likely to repeat violent crimes.  The bill would establish a registry similar to how the sex offender registry already works.  Violent offenders would have to register with local law enforcement upon entering into the community and follow certain guidelines to keep address information current.

The man charged in the brutal attack was out on parole and had a lengthy history of arrests, including assault with a hammer.  John Edward Brown, a parolee, was released from prison after serving only 2 1/2 years of a 3 year sentence for violently assaulting his infant daughter in 2003.  He murdered Kelen Buchol and her daughter Brittany Passalacque in Geneva in 2009.  These are just two examples of how the early parole of a dangerous criminal has led to tragedy.  In the wake of these and other violent attacks, it is clear we must increase our efforts to further protect our citizenry.

‘Guilty, but mentally ill’

Another case in Oneida County also merits our laws be changed to better protect the public.

A defendant, David Trebilock, was recently found “guilty” but “not responsible due to mental disease or defect” for stabbing and killing 6-year-old Lauren Belius.  The family is petitioning to change this law, to give the courts the option to sentence the defendant as “guilty, but mentally ill.”  This sentence would carry with it a period of confinement in a mental hygiene facility, equal to the sentence of imprisonment.  There is currently legislation in the Senate that proposes to create such a sentence.

First-degree murder sentence for child killers

I also support automatically classifying the homicide of a child a first-degree murder offense, another aspect of New York State law the family of Lauren Belius is trying to change.  There is a bill in the Assembly that would create this classification.

Another bill in the Assembly that would work to better protect children is the Child Assault Reform Act (CARE). This bill would increase penalties for those who injure or kill a child.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.

My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.

You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

2 Comments

  1. Such laws create a culture of fear. Most of these suggestions are ill-thought out. What exactly constitutes “violent,” sir? Did you know that possession of child porn is considered a “violent” crime and offenders must be housed in a medium security prison facility instead of a lower level facility because the crime is considered “violent”? Certainly the act is morally wrong in every way, but I fail to see how it can rationally be classified as violent or a violent act against a child. And as far as the CARE act goes, don’t we already have serious consequences on the books for that? And what exactly constitutes “injuring” a child? (killing is obvious of course, so I am not including that.) Again, I point to child porn which cites a concept known as “re-victimization” of a child (anyone under 18, not under 12, or under 14) as causing injury to a child. Are you going to increase the already ineffective penalties for a crime of fantasy, not action? (in case you are about to argue that viewing child porn is an action, please review the meaning of the word “action”). Why don’t you just include divorce and bullying, as these hurt children also. Your meanings and wordings are far too broad to be applied without grave injustice. I do support creating the category of “guilty, but mentally ill.” And lastly, why on earth should the murder of a child be any different than the murder of anyone else? This endless deification of children in law has gone over the top. Why wouldn’t the murder of an adult be just as important? That adult might be the parent or caretaker of a child. If that parent is gone, imagine the nearly unendurable injury done to the child. Don’t you see the causal links here? We have come full circle to “injury of a child” in the murder of an adult. And how on earth are you going to deal with the unendurable pain of the children of a sex offender who was murdered by a vigilante who thought he was carrying out justice. What are you going to tell those children, when, if it was left up to public opinion, the murderer would walk free, and with hero’s medals. for god’s sake, I implore you to do some sound research before you propose any more laws like these.

  2. There’s a problem with registries as a whole and that is it doesn’t really address the human factor. “People change!” An 18 year old that commits a crime in stupidity at that young age isn’t the same person when he’s 50. Things change and so do people. There is an exception that could be argued for people that are mentally ill. People on anti-psychotic drugs concern me more than a felon or registered sex offender that has been through probation, therapy and time served. People change, but psychotics typically don’t. Lets get to the root of the problem. Many of those that are extreme criminals have mental illness and should be on a registry but not for people that have been through the grinder of probation and/or parole that are otherwise normal and have paid their debt to society like the registered sex offenders. If they pose a threat then make there probation longer other than that registration is really just an extension of probation and is a life sentence on sorts.

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