Brittany's Law would create violent felons registry

Helen Buchel / family photo

A woman whose daughter and granddaughter were brutally murdered in Geneva has joined with State Senator Michael Nozzolio to push for "Brittany's Law." Named for 12-year-old murder victim Brittany Passalaqua, the legislation would create a statewide registry that would allow you to track the whereabouts of violent felony offenders after they are released from prison.

In November 2009, John Edward Brown murdered Helen Buchel and her daughter Brittany Passalacqua in their home in Geneva. Brown had been recently released from prison after serving a two and a half years for violently assaulting his own infant daughter in 2003.

"It is unconscionable that these horrific crimes could have been prevented if New York State had stronger measures in place to monitor violent offenders." Nozzolio said.

If passed by the full legislature, "Brittany's Law" would require violent felons to register with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services when they are released from prison. The state would then establish a registry which the public could access similar to the sex offender registry. The legislation also establishes annual registration requirements for offenders so law enforcement can monitor their whereabouts.

Senator Nozzolio has been working closely with Dale Driscoll, Passalaqua's grandmother and mother to Helen Buchel, in crafting the law. Driscoll said had her daughter known of Brown's violent past she would "not have let anyone like that around her children."

Driscoll says she's willing to go to Albany to personally lobby for Brittany's law. "It can't be as senseless as it was", she said, "Something good has to come out of this and the law needs to be changed before someone else dies."