Gabryszak: Assembly’s Bill Would Introduce Stiffer Penalties for Strangulation
June 11, 2010

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) announced that the Assembly passed legislation today that would create the new crimes of first- and second-degree strangulation and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation (A.10161-A).

“I have been a big proponent of creating legislation that would increase the penalty for the crime of strangulation,” Gabryszak said. “In 2008, Family Court Judge Lisa Rodwin brought to my attention that the penalty for strangulation is equivalent to that of a motor vehicle violation, and I was shocked. Together, we created legislation that addressed tougher penalties for the act of strangulation involving minors or domestic violence victims (A.5164).”

Gabryszak’s bill helped lay the ground work for this new legislation. Working with the sponsor, he helped write a bill that would create new crimes of strangulation that would make it easier for prosecutors to charge someone with the crime.

The measure amends the penal law by adding a new article and creating the crimes of strangulation in the first degree, a class C violent felony offense; strangulation in the second degree, a class D violent felony offense; and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, a class A misdemeanor.

Over the past several years, across New York State there has been an alarming increase in the number of reported assaults involving strangulation. According to the Erie County Family Justice Center, about one-third of the cases handled at the center involve strangulation.i According to recent studies, strangulation represents 10 percent of violent deaths in the United States each year.

“The need for a tougher penalty is apparent in Erie County, and I believe this legislation addresses that through the creation of these new crimes with increased penalties and helps ensure that offenders who commit this heinous act are successfully prosecuted. I urge the governor to sign this important measure into law as soon as possible,” Assemblyman Gabryszak said.

The Family Justice Center of Erie County Inc. provides free services to victims of domestic violence and their children. For more information on services they offer, call (716) 558-SAFE (7233) or go to

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