Bill Text: NY A01447 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for the confidentiality of residence and business addresses and telephone numbers of victims of or witnesses to a crime, except in cases where such information is needed by police and other officers investigating a crime; provides that such information may be released to any government agency which provides compensation or services to crime victims or witnesses.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-15 - referred to governmental operations [A01447 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A01447-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          1447
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 15, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  D. ROSENTHAL,  M. G. MILLER -- read once and
          referred to the Committee on Governmental Operations
        AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to confidentiality  of
          victims and witnesses addresses and telephone numbers
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The civil rights law is amended by  adding  a  new  section
     2  50-f to read as follows:
     3    §  50-f. Confidentiality of victim and witness addresses and telephone
     4  numbers. 1. The residence and business addresses and  telephone  numbers
     5  of any victim of or witness to a crime shall be confidential. No report,
     6  paper,  picture,  photograph, court file, or other document that relates
     7  to a crime and contains the residence or business address  or  telephone
     8  number  of a victim or witness, and that is in the custody or possession
     9  of any public officer or employee, including the  prosecuting  attorney,
    10  the  police, and any clerks, officials, or employees of any state court,
    11  shall be made available for public inspection, unless the residence  and
    12  business  addresses and telephone numbers of the victim and witness have
    13  been deleted. No such public officer  or  employee  shall  disclose  the
    14  residence  or  business  address or telephone number of such a victim or
    15  witness except to:
    16    a. the public officers and employees, including  police,  prosecutors,
    17  probation  and prison officers and employees, not to include counsel for
    18  the defense, who are charged with the duty of  investigating,  prosecut-
    19  ing,  or keeping records relating to the crime or the defendant, or with
    20  performing any other act when done pursuant to the lawful  discharge  of
    21  their duties;
    22    b.  any  government  agency  or  entity which provides compensation or
    23  services to victims or witnesses, or which investigates  or  adjudicates
    24  claims for such compensation or services;
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01048-01-9

        A. 1447                             2
     1    c.  any person or agency upon written consent of the victim or witness
     2  or the parents, spouse, or other person legally responsible for the care
     3  of the victim or witness except as may otherwise be required or provided
     4  by the order of a court; or
     5    d.  any  person  who,  either  prior to or after the trial of the case
     6  involving the victim or witness, makes application  to  a  court  having
     7  jurisdiction over the alleged crime, and is authorized by court order to
     8  receive such information. The court order shall issue only after:
     9    (i) the person making the application demonstrates to the satisfaction
    10  of the court that good cause exists for disclosure to that person;
    11    (ii)  the court is reasonably assured by the prosecuting attorney that
    12  the victim or witness is known not  to  be  at  risk  of  personal  harm
    13  resulting  from  the  disclosure,  or  is adequately protected from such
    14  risk; and
    15    (iii) notice has been given to the victim or witness affected  by  the
    16  order,  or  the parents, spouse, or other person legally responsible for
    17  the care of that victim or witness, and to the prosecuting  attorney  at
    18  least  one  hundred  twenty  hours before the signing of such order. The
    19  victim or witness, or the parents, spouse, or the person legally respon-
    20  sible for the care of that victim or witness, affected by the order  may
    21  appeal  to  the  appropriate court the decision to order disclosure, and
    22  there shall be no disclosure until such appeal is heard and decided.
    23    2. Prior to trial, upon request of counsel for the defendant to inter-
    24  view a victim or witness, the prosecuting attorney shall ensure that the
    25  victim or witness sought to be interviewed is informed of  that  request
    26  and of the right of the victim or witness to either grant or refuse that
    27  request.  The prosecutor shall ask if the victim or witness will consent
    28  to such an interview, and shall  ensure  that  the  defense  counsel  is
    29  informed  of  the  response  of  the victim or witness. If the victim or
    30  witness consents to be interviewed, the prosecuting  attorney  shall  so
    31  inform  the  defense  counsel,  and shall offer to the victim or witness
    32  space for a meeting in the prosecuting attorney's  offices  or,  at  the
    33  option of the prosecuting attorney, some other appropriate neutral site.
    34  The  prosecuting  attorney  shall  not be required to but may attend the
    35  meeting. The victim or witness shall be free to make other  arrangements
    36  to  contact  or  meet  with counsel for the defense, and the prosecution
    37  attorney shall not interfere with  nor  impede  on  those  arrangements.
    38  Nothing  in this section shall be construed as prohibiting defense coun-
    39  sel from contacting the victim or witness directly for the  purposes  of
    40  interviewing  the victim or witness, if the defense counsel has obtained
    41  lawfully the address or telephone number of the victim or witness from a
    42  source other than the prosecutor.
    43    3. During a trial or hearing related to a  criminal  prosecution,  the
    44  court  shall require that the residence and business addresses and tele-
    45  phone numbers of any victim of or witness to  the  crime  shall  not  be
    46  disclosed  in  open  court,  and  that  a victim or witness shall not be
    47  required to provide the addresses or telephone numbers of the victim  or
    48  witness  in  response  to defense or prosecution questioning, unless the
    49  court determines that there is a clear need for such disclosure  because
    50  the information is necessary and relevant to the facts of the case or to
    51  the  credibility  of  the  witness. The burden to establish the need and
    52  relevance for disclosure shall be on the defense or  the  party  seeking
    53  disclosure.  Prior  to  ordering  disclosure,  the  court  also shall be
    54  reasonably assured that the victim or witness is known not to be at risk
    55  of personal  harm  resulting  from  the  disclosure,  or  is  adequately
    56  protected from such risk.

        A. 1447                             3
     1    4.  The court having jurisdiction over the alleged crime may order any
     2  restrictions upon disclosures authorized in this  section  as  it  deems
     3  necessary and proper to preserve the confidentiality of the residence or
     4  business address or telephone number of the victim or witness.
     5    5. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require the
     6  court to exclude the public from any stage of the criminal proceeding or
     7  otherwise  interfere  with  a defendant's discovery rights, the public's
     8  right of access to governmental records, or the right of news  media  to
     9  report information lawfully obtained.
    10    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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