2018 Criminal Justice Reforms

NY’s Governor to Push to Criminalize Revenge Porn, Provide More Discovery to Defense Attorneys

January 15, 2018

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Earlier this month during his “State of the State” address, Governor Andrew Cuomo detailed various efforts on his 2018 agenda that would impact the criminal justice system.

One such effort would be to criminalize so called “revenge porn” and extortion. The Governor would like to criminalize the disclosing or threatening to disclose sexually compromising images or videos with the intent to cause material harm to the victim’s mental or emotional health or to compel the victim to undertake some sexualize. Such legislation would also criminalize compelling a person to expose him or herself or engage in sexual conduct by threatening to harm the victim’s health, safety, business, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships. New crimes would be created, such as Unlawful Publication of Sexual Images (A misdemeanor), Sexual Extortion in the 3rd Degree (E Felony), Sexual Extortion in the 2nd Degree (D Felony), and Sexual Extortion in the 1st Degree (C Felony). Each would require the defendant to register as a sex offender.

The Governor has also proposed important changes to the criminal justice system. In addition to revising bail and pre-trial detention and improving a defendant’s access to speedy trial, the proposed changes would expand the discovery process and allow defense attorneys to have more access to evidence and information favorable to the defense. Attorneys would also be privy to the prosecution’s intended exhibits, expert opinion evidence, witnesses’ criminal history information, and search warrant information. Additional legislation is also being proposed that would ban asset seizures unless there was an arrest, and would prohibit asset forfeitures in cases where a defendant is acquitted of criminal charges.

As to the state’s system of prisons and jails, the Governor will work to have the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) close over 1,200 solitary housing unit beds throughout New York State’s prisons, and to improve the re-entry process for the formerly incarcerated to assist them with their successful re-integration into the community. He will also work with the State Commission of Correction to improve the rights and safety of those incarcerated in local jails.

Finally, the Governor has also promised to seek to eliminate statutes of limitation for all sexually-related criminal cases when committed against a person who is less than 18 years of age. Such proposed changes include, among other things, an extension of the statute of limitations for civil claims, and the elimination of the need to file a notice of claim with a public entity before being able to bring a lawsuit against that entity

Click here to read more about Governor Cuomo’s 2018 agenda.