New law aims to prevent domestic violence - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

New law aims to prevent domestic violence

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ALBANY, N.Y. - In light of the recent triple stabbing in Albany that left one woman dead and two others injured, a law recently signed by Governor Cuomo aims to prevent domestic violence cases like it in the future.

Michael Anderson, of Albany, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Tonette Thomas and two counts of attempted murder for allegedly also stabbing her sister Shaquasia Thomas and their aunt, 43-year-old Gwynn Carter.

According to Albany Police, Anderson has been arrested five times since 2004 for misdemeanors - some of which included domestic violence. Many are now questioning if the tragedy could have been prevented, especially since Governor Cuomo has signed a new law that will strengthen domestic violence laws in NYS.

Tina Marie Smith is a survivor of domestic violence, escaping to Albany after being brutally attacked by her husband.

"He at one point was on top of me, punching me in my head, punching me in my face. Choking me just saying 'swear to god you're not going to leave' and all I could do was say I can't say that and the next thing I knew I was waking up so I had been beaten unconscious," said Smith.

Smith is now the founder of Diamond Mind, an organization that gives skills to individuals and families to end domestic violence.

She believes a new law signed by Gov. Cuomo will help end the cycle; the law creates a new class E felony for aggravated family offense which allows law enforcement to prosecute those who commit specific misdemeanors and have a prior conviction against a family or household member to now be prosecuted as felons.

"The laws now are in place so that if a person does commit a domestic violence case that they're not just going to walk back out," said Smith.

The law also calls for a high risk team which would group police with domestic violence professionals like Smith to identify high risk cases.

"To gather a group with police officers and survivors and educators. That would be phenomenal and it wouldn't have to take a long period of time," said Smith.

Assemblymen James Tedisco says his legislation, the Chronic Criminal Act will help stop offenders from committing more violent crimes in the future.

"If you commit four misdemeanors over the period of a ten year area you would be classified as a Class E Felon and you could be convicted of a Class E felony and you can get four years in jail," said Tedisco.

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