Albany, NY (August 1, 2011) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a law to ensure that individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors will be barred from legally purchasing firearms. To explain his signing of this law, Cuomo uses the lame excuse of antiquated systems that needed upgrading, claiming that the law lacked provisions for submitting the information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used for background checks of those purchasing firearms. Differences between New York state and federal domestic violence statutes has created a gap in the law where the information from those found guilty of domestic violence crimes in New York courts is not transmitted to NICS. Under the new law, when a defendant is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor offense in New York, the court will determine whether the crime is related or situated to the federal domestic violence statute and if so, transmit the defendant’s information to the Division of Criminal Justice Services which passes it on to the NICS.
According to a report issued by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), since the establishment of the Domestic Incident Report, New York has taken a giant step in documenting the incidence of domestic violence for the first time ever. Approximately 450,000 incidents are reported to police departments each year, and we know there are many more incidents that never come to the attention of the criminal justice system. From its inception through 2005, 1,411,264 orders of protection have been entered into the NYS Family Protection Registry.
Major Red Flag – A Family Offense can be as minor as stalking, harassing, menacing, etc. If a Family Court judge makes this determination without you present to defend yourself, be prepared for your entire life to turn upside down. The issuance of an Order of Protection is not an indication of guilt, so then why does this law now entitle a lower court judge to make that determination and send that information further?
RED FLAG 1 – Orders of Protection issued prior to the August 1 law clearly states “Under Article 8 of the Family Court Act, a petition filed in the Court and good cause having been shown, and John Doe having not been present in Court, NOW, therefore it is ordered that John Doe observe the following conditions and behavior… It is a federal crime to buy, posses, or transfer a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or other firearm or ammunition while this Order remains in effect, and after conviction of a domestic violence-related crime, even after this Order has expired. Apparently, this is a standard format of all orders of protection, and the court doesn’t even bother making the determination, and simply sticks it in.
RED FLAG 2 – The new law will require the courts in New York to determine whether the crime conforms to the federal domestic violence statute. If it does, the defendant’s information will be forwarded to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, which then passes the data on to the federal government. This means that not only must they advise you of the federal law, but they now have the power to ruin your life even more, as they must submit your name to the registry.
RED FLAG 3 – The measure was sponsored by Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County. Saland said there were four domestic violence deaths in Dutchess County in the past year. Are they only concerned when a police officer dies? The measure follows the deaths of Jessica Welch and Poughkeepsie Officer John Falcone, who were both killed by Welch’s husband in Poughkeepsie in February. Welch and her husband Lee Welch had a history of domestic violence. Falcone arrived at the scene near the Poughkeepsie train station after the woman was shot. After a tussle, Falcone was shot and killed.
A Study of the NY federal domestic violence statute
The 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), with additions passed in 1996, outlined grant programs to prevent violence against women and established a national domestic violence hotline. In addition, new protections were given to victims of domestic abuse, such as confidentiality of new address and changes to immigration laws that allow a battered spouse to apply for permanent residency.
According to the VAWA Act, a domestic violence misdemeanor is one in which someone is convicted for a crime “committed by an intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim that required the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon” (Section 922 (g)). Under these guidelines, an intimate partner is a spouse, a former spouse, a person who shares a child in common with the victim, or a person who cohabits or has cohabited with the victim.
The VAWA regulations states that in order to receive Federal funding, states must adopt certain responses. The Act reads: VAWA 1994: (1) To implement mandatory arrest or pro-arrest programs and policies in police departments, including mandatory arrest programs and policies for protection order violations (Part U, SEC. 2101). This act has had a profound effect on state laws governing domestic abuse.
Apparently, new laws were implemented to allow for funding. It is concerning that it was not specifically the intent of Congress categorically to exclude men in this Act. In fact, males will remain eligible under the Violence Against Women Act of 2000—whether it be for shelter space under the Family Violence Protection and Services Act, or counseling by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or legal assistance in obtaining a protection order under the Legal Assistance for Victims program. As long as the program has implemented mandatory policies in accordance with the VAWA?
Psychopath Husbands getting an Order of Protection Against Wives to gain access to VAWA Funding
The 2005 renewal of VAWA added this requirement: “Nothing in this title shall be construed to prohibit male victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from receiving benefits and services under this title.”
So now, psychopaths husbands and abusive spouses can use the legal system to abuse even more. What Governer Cuomo may not have informed the public is the issues of Family Courts. In any Family Court in New York, a Temporary Order of Protection is issued, usually Ex Parte as an emergency. This may only be issued after a finding of a “Family Offense”. The New York Family Court – Part 4 – § 842 Statute pertaining to Order of Protection directs the court to make the determination of the risks and order the surrender or revocation of the firearm license.
Certainly, an accusation that requires the issuance of an order of protection is a serious matter. However, just as in all cases, an accusation is not a finding of guilt and the ramifications of loosing one’s rights is significant.
RED FLAG 1 – The court may also award custody of the child, during the term of the order of protection to either parent, or to an appropriate relative within the second degree.
RED FLAG 2 – the court may in addition to the issuance of an order of protection pursuant to this section, issue an order for temporary child support in an amount sufficient to meet the needs of the child, without a showing of immediate or emergency need.
RED FLAG 3 – Family Court and Criminal Court have concurrent jurisdiction over “family offenses”, Procedural Laws Involving Family Offenses.
What constitutes a family offense? disorderly conduct, harassment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, menacing in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, reckless endangerment, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree or an attempted assault . . .” (Same as Criminal Procedure Law section 530.11) If the proof presented does not establish by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the respondent has committed one of the previously described acts, then the Court is unable to make a finding of a family offense and the proceeding must be dismissed. Yet too often because a respondent did what was alleged in the petition, even though it does not constitute one of the crimes, the order of protection is granted. It is most problematic when this is done on an ex-parte basis.
Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. Sociopathy, also called psychopathy, is a personality disorder characterized by deceit on a scale most of us cannot imagine. These men and women are not crazy; they know exactly what they are doing.
Sociopathic men and women do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. The sooner you can get away from them, the better off you’ll be. Psychopaths are seldom embarrassed about their legal, financial or personal problems. Rather, they see them as temporary setbacks, the results of bad luck, unfaithful friends or an unfair and incompetent system.
How many have been hurt by these laws?