"Nixzmary's Law" was proposed in January 2006 by New York State senator Joseph Bruno, shortly after the events. The law is designed to deter or prevent child abuse related crimes by charging parents connected to the crime of the death of their children with first degree murder, the maximum punishment for which in New York State would be 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Since passing of the law, reports have increased to New York States' child abuse hotline.

The Senate passed "Nixzmary's Law," a bill (S.6481-A) that would require a sentence of life without parole for parents or guardians who kill a child.

The bill is named for Nixzmary Brown, a seven year old Brooklyn girl who was brutally beaten and left for dead last month. Her mother and stepfather have been charged with her murder. Just last week, Quachon Brown, a four year old boy was found dead in a squalid apartment in the Bronx, beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend. The deaths are the latest in a string of tragic deaths of children from families who were under investigation. In October of 2005, seven year old Sierra Roberts died after her father slammed his knee into her abdomen and beat her with a belt and in November of 2005, 16 month old Dahquay Gillians drowned in a bathtub when his mother left him unsupervised.

This legislation would create the crime of aggravated murder of a child and mandate a sentence of life without parole for the parent, guardian or other person in a position of trust, who abuses and tortures a child under the age of 14, causing the death of the child or intentionally causes the death of a child.

Existing law mandates the sentence of life without parole for the death of a child less than 14 years of age only in those cases when a person 18 years of age or more commits the crime while committing a felony sex crime against the child. In all other cases, a person who tortures and abuses a child, causing the child's death, or intentionally causes the death of a child, can be paroled after serving a minimum term, no matter how horrific the crime.

The Senate passed legislation (S.3433), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) that would establish the crimes of endangering the welfare of a child in the first and second degrees, a class E felony and a class A misdemeanor, respectively.

The Senate also passed a bill (S.6289), sponsored by Sen. Stephen Saland (R-C, Poughkeepsie), that would provide that a person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child if they leave a child under the age of seven unsupervised in a car when heat conditions present a significant risk to the health and safety of the child. "Adults who knowingly or recklessly place children at risk by leaving them in a car unattended should know that this will result in a charge of endangering the welfare of a child," said Senator Saland. "We want to increase awareness regarding the rapidly rising temperature in cars. This has the potential to be particularly dangerous in changing seasons when we have mild days that might not at first glance seem capable of producing threatening temperatures in a car."

Between 1998 and 2004, 230 children have died from being left in cars, and in 2005, by mid-summer 19 deaths were recorded as a result of children being left in cars. Studies indicate that in outside temperatures ranging from 72 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside of a vehicle rises approximately 19 degrees in the first ten minutes, 29 degrees after 20 minutes, 34 degrees after 30 minutes and 43 degrees after 60 minutes. Legislation (S.1513 passed by the Senate would create the crime of endangering the welfare of a child if a person commits a violent act in the presence of a child.

Another measure passed is one that would close a loophole that allows violent criminals who sexually assault children who are related to them to be charged with incest, a class E non-violent felony, and receive only probation.

Other Senate bills would improve the child protection system by ensuring caseworkers are properly trained, giving investigators access to the criminal records of individuals they are investigating and providing educational resources for adoptive and foster parents to help parents deal with the challenges of raising a child. 2-09-06 


Return to Nixzmary's story
Click here for pictures of Nixzmary's memorial services
Click here to read about Nixzmary's law





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