As the legislature winds to a close in Albany, a coalition of prison reform and domestic violence activists are hoping to convince the Republican-controlled Senate to bring one more bill to the floor for a vote.
Supporters say the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act would allow judges to factor physical and mental abuse into sentencing decisions in felony criminal cases.
District Attorneys are opposing the bill, arguing that it would allow too many people to claim that domestic violence was a factor in their crimes.
Kim Dadou steps to the podium in a conference room in Albany. She smiles nervously at the cameras and the reporters, running a hand over the scars on her neck.
“I served seventeen years in prison for the death of my abuser,” Dadou says. “I was a victim before I was a defendant.”
After being convicted of first degree manslaughter, Dadou was sentenced under New York’s mandatory minimum laws – laws that don’t allow judges to consider domestic violence as a factor.
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