Survivors Advocacy Practice

CAL’s Survivors Advocacy Practice represents survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking who are seeking post-conviction relief.

In 2019, New York passed a law, effective August 12, 2019, allowing for survivors of domestic abuse to apply for resentencing to reduced, determinate sentences. The resentencing law, C.P.L. § 440.47, enacted as part of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act, recognizes that trauma can have lingering effects and lead to criminal legal system involvement.

The law’s aim is to mitigate the harsh effects of punishment for those whose crimes can be directly linked to their history of abuse.

Under this new law, those who can show that they are serving a prison sentence of more than eight years, have no predicate violent felonies, were not convicted of any enumerated exclusion offenses, and can demonstrate a connection between the abuse they suffered, and their “criminal behavior” are eligible to apply for resentencing.

The Survivors Advocacy Practice is identifying CAL’s existing clients who might benefit from this law and shepherding those who meet the eligibility criteria through the application process. In addition, because the law provides a right to counsel, CAL is working with defense providers, advocates, and other stakeholders across New York State to ensure that everyone who is eligible to petition for resentencing has access to legal help to do so.

In 2021, New York passed the START (Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together) Act. This new law allows survivors of human trafficking to apply to vacate, dismiss, and seal criminal convictions that resulted from human trafficking. Under the new law, all crimes are eligible for vacatur. In addition, all types of trafficking survivors are eligible to apply, whether they were victims of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or both. CAL’s Survivors Advocacy Practice is identifying individuals who might be eligible to file a motion under the START Act. If you or someone you know might be eligible to apply, please get in touch with the Survivors Advocacy Practice.

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