Thousand Arrested Under NY Strangulation Law
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY –
Officials say nearly 2,000 men have been charged since New York made strangulation a separate offense last fall to help combat domestic violence. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The law has only been in effect for 15 weeks; and according to a New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services research brief, the results are impressive. There were 2,003 arrest events (either arrest or arraignment) between November 11th, 2010, and February 22nd, 2011, in which a suspect was charged with a strangulation offense. Nearly 83 percent of the arrest events statewide were for criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. Those convicted of felony strangulation could be sentenced to up to nine years in jail.
The following counties reported the most arrest events (charges brought at either arrest or arraignment) under the new statute: Albany, Broome, Bronx, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Queens, Richmond, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester. The law is similar to one in California.
Prior to the law, it was difficult to arrest or prosecute individuals accused of strangling their victims because in the vast majority of cases, there was no visible physical injury. Barasch believes the law enforcement community was eager and waiting for the tool they knew was necessary to prosecute this type of crime Researchers with the DCJS Office of Justice Research and Performance extracted strangulation charges from the agency's Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system, which captures arrest data, to determine whether the new statute was proving to be useful for law enforcement. (Information on crime victims is not available from CCH, and as a result, is not included in the research brief).
The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence cites nearly a half-million reported domestic incidents annually in New York, ranging from verbal disputes to homicides.