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LAS Scores a Victory for Domestic Abuse Survivors

Jonathan McCoy, a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society, scored a major win for survivors of domestic abuse with a successful resentence petition under the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA) for a client – Jane Doe – who served seven and a half years at New York’s Bedford Hill Correctional Facility.

After successfully petitioning the court, the judge resentenced Ms. Doe to five years of incarceration with four years of community supervision, ultimately granting her release, as reported by Prism.

McCoy and domestic violence advocates across New York called the case a major victory for DVSJA, with the Court affirming that she was a victim of domestic violence and did not deserve years of punitive incarceration, and hoped that the victory was a signal that judges and prosecutors are shifting their understanding of survivor-defendants.

“Our criminal legal system has long ignored the damaging role trauma has played in the lives of our clients, as well as the further harm jail and prison causes,” McCoy said. “We urge other courts and District Attorneys to provide similar relief under the Domestic Violence Survivors’ Justice Act.”