Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R,C-Medford) attended a press conference in Albany yesterday to support his colleagues’ introduction of Melanie’s Law, allowing courts to issue orders of protection for immediate family members or household members of victims of domestic violence, regardless of age. The press conference was led by Assemblyman Brian A. Cunningham, Sen. Michelle Hinchey, Sen. Rob Rolison, Assemblyman Anil Beephan and Cheryl Chianese, Melanie’s mother, who joined together to call for the law’s immediate passage.
Melanie Chianese’s life was tragically taken by her mother’s ex-boyfriend while he was under supervised release pending sentencing after pleading guilty to a domestic violence felony. Melanie’s Law closes a loophole in anti-domestic violence legislation to include persons related “by consanguinity or affinity to parties who are or have been in, on the order of protection.”“The necessity of Melanie’s Law shows the work we need to do as legislators to end domestic violence is not done. Melanie Chianese, a young mother herself, was killed by her mother’s ex-boyfriend. This could have been avoided had the law allowed her to be included in her mother’s order of protection. Melanie was ineligible to receive the order of protection herself due solely to her age of 29. Laws are made to protect us, and it’s unjust that Melanie was unable to be protected because of a loophole. Time and time again, we have seen proof domestic violence does not happen between just two people. Children, parents, siblings and pets are many times exploited by an abuser to further instill fear into the victim. As leaders of the state, we can end this now. We can protect people, such as Melanie, who are vulnerable to these unwarranted attacks. I am proud to support Melanie’s Law, and hope to bring some semblance of justice to her mother Cheryl who is advocating for the end of domestic violence to all,” said DeStefano.