Sure, we all agree that the holidays are a stressful time. We're forced to reunite with families that we may or may not have gotten along well with, there's more traffic, and all the stores are more crowded than usual.
Does this really give us an excuse to punch old ladies? Dane Cook suggests that certain things are so bad as to drive one to punch babies, but that's just a joke. Jacquetta Simmons, on the other hand, was not joking when she punched 70-year-old Grace Suozzi, a Batavia, N.Y., Walmart greeter last Christmas Eve, according to the New York Daily News. While Simmons has already been found guilty, her lawyer argued that she merely swung her arm with no intention to hit Suozzi, according to the Associated Press.
The convicted Walmart greeter puncher faces up to seven years in prison because of New York's "Granny Law." What is this law and what is it supposed to prevent?
Clearly, the idea is to stop elder abuse in the same way the law already protects child abuse. While we may not think of all people over 65 as being in need of protection, there must be some point at which a line is drawn.
The actual law is part of New York's penal law, under assault crimes. Even though this is not a separate section of New York's laws, it is an elder abuse law because it specifically protects against physical abuse of those over 65 by anyone more than 10 years younger than the victim.
Where punching someone with a fist is a third degree assault and a class A misdemeanor, a similar punch to someone over 65 is a second degree assault, which is a class D felony. This means that New York has taken a significant step in protecting its elders.
However, it probably came as a bit of a shock to Jacquetta Simmons that her simple outrage and Walmart greeter punch would possibly land her in prison for up to seven years. At least Grace Suozzi's ordeal can be a lesson for New Yorkers: The next time they want to punch their grandma, they may want to think twice because of New York's "Granny Law."
- Looking for an Elder Law Lawyer? (FindLaw)
- Financial Abuse of the Elderly: Elder Abuse Protection (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)
- Actor Mickey Rooney Testifies About His Experience With Elder Abuse (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)