Ortiz Pushes Electronic Tagging to Prevent Domestic Violence

Press Conference Highlights the Need for Significant Legislation
May 6, 2008
New York, NY – Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn-51 AD), held a press conference today to solicit support for passage of his legislation, A.5424 (S.4796, Lanza), which was introduced in an attempt to prevent domestic violence and save lives. The Assemblyman was joined today by Senator Lanza, various members of the Assembly, Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. and Delores Maddis, whose niece was killed by an ex-boyfriend against whom she had an order of protection.

Assemblyman Ortiz bill A. 5424, would require any person against whom an order of protection is issued, to wear an electronic monitoring device for the term of the restraining order. The monitoring device would allow pinpoint tracking of the individual wearing the device and any tampering with the device would be a felony.

“If offenders are electronically tagged and we are able to determine their whereabouts, victims can be warned when the offender has violated the order of protection, and the offender can be apprehended before they are able to commit another act of violence”, Ortiz stated. “Opponents of the bill have called it a drastic and Orwellian measure. However, if it takes a drastic measure to prevent domestic violence and put an end to senseless murders, then this is a necessary precaution,” Ortiz continued.

Assemblyman Ortiz believes that this is a much needed measure to help prevent domestic violence. It is estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in 2006 there were 50,088 reported cases of domestic violence in New York State. Even more alarming in the same year, 133 homicides were a result of domestic violence and 28 of those were children.

Senator Lanza, who carries the same bill (S. 4796) in the Senate agrees with these sentiments. “The effects of domestic abuse are devastating and far reaching and we must provide the necessary tools needed to address this problem,” said Senator Lanza (R – Staten Island). “The legislation I have introduced would require GPS devices be issued with orders of protection. Defendants routinely violate orders of protection and this legislation will go far in strengthening victim’s confidence that they will be protected.”

This legislation has been supported throughout the state, including Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. “There have been far too many tragedies in this state where orders of protection have failed to adequately provide the protection they were intended to. For the better part of a decade, federal authorities and several states, including states of similar population to New York, have used GPS monitoring systems as a condition of bail and as an alternative to incarceration during criminal proceedings. As science and technology advance so must our efforts to protect the citizens of New York. I am grateful for Assemblyman Ortiz’s introduction and continued support of this important legislation,” stated Richmond County D.A., Daniel M. Donovan, Jr.

The bill passed the Senate during the 2007 legislative session and Ortiz hopes that the push from the Senate will help to move this bill from the Codes Committee in the Assembly and onto the floor for passage.