New York lawmakers approved legislation Thursday establishing that squeezing someone's throat or covering the nose and mouth to block breathing is a new felony crime of strangulation.
Sponsors say such assaults are common in domestic violence cases. But since they aren't specifically addressed in the penal law, attackers too often have been convicted of low-level crimes like menacing or harassment.
As well as being potentially lethal, strangulation is used by abusers to silence and intimidate, victim advocates say.
The legislation still needs Gov. David A. Paterson's signature. It would also establish a misdemeanor crime of obstructing breathing or blood circulation. Paterson's administration had also introduced a version of the bill. - AP