Governor Cuomo recently signed into law a bill which redefines stalking and aggravated harassment as crimes in New York. The statute goes into effect 90 days from Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
Court of Appeals Sets Aside New York’s Aggravated Harassment Statute
In the case of People v. Golb, 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 03426, the New York Court of Appeals declared the second degree aggravated harassment statute, was constitutionally vague and therefore no longer enforceable. As a result, the legislature had to draft a new law with regard to issues involving aggravated harassment.
The new statute creates a crime of stalking in the fourth degree. This crime involves the unauthorized tracking of a person or individual with a global positioning system (GPS) device or through other electronic means. This creates a definition of illegally following someone.
The new statute also contains a crime of second degree harassment, a misdemeanor. This falls under section 240-30 of the New York State Penal Law. Under this statute, an individual “knows or reasonably should know” that a communication will cause another person to “reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety or property or to the physical safety or property of a member of such person’s same family or household.” Then the crime of secondary harassment is committed.
The new statutes are intended to clarify the laws involving domestic violence in the State of New York.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer practicing in the Metropolitan New York area for more than 45 years.