Revised Harassment Statute Set for Legislative Approval

, New York Law Journal


State leaders said Tuesday they have reached an acceptable way to rephrase a state criminal harassment statute that had been commonly invoked in domestic violence cases until New York's highest court struck it down for being unconstitutionally vague.

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Originally appeared in print as Revised State Harassment Statute Set for Legislative Approval

What's being said

  • Mohun Biswas

    "Sources familiar with the discussions that led to Tuesday‘s announced agreement said talks would continue in hopes of later adding mental and emotional harm to the statute"

    ^ Here, they need to be careful. The court struck down the original statute for chilling protected speech. If they include a mental and emotional harm, this new statute could have the same effect. Many forms of political speech, religious speech, argumentative speech, and expositional speech will harm another person‘s mental and emotional health; it is important that we no longer criminalize that.

    I say leave it to just physical threats.

    If I threaten to stab or shoot someone, then that should be a crime; few may object to that.

    But, if I threaten to embarrass someone in public or to make them cry, then that is not prosecutable.

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