| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 13 A New York woman was sentenced
on Monday under the state's "Granny Law" to one year in jail for
punching an elderly Wal-Mart greeter in the face after a
Christmas Eve shopping spree.
It was the second time the upstate New York woman,
Jacquetta Simmons, 28, was sentenced in Genesee County Court,
after her original sentence of five years in prison was
successfully appealed with the argument that it was too harsh
for a first-time offender.
"One punch shouldn't be enough" to trigger New York's tough
Granny Law, which calls for harsher penalties for crimes against
the elderly, said Simmons' lawyer, Earl Key.
Her legal team said the new sentence of a year behind bars
was more appropriate.
Prosecutor Lawrence Friedman disagreed.
"This does not do justice to the victim at all," Friedman
On Christmas Eve 2011, Wal-Mart employee Grace Suozzi, then
70, routinely asked to see a shopping receipt as Simmons, who
was a college student, exited the store in Batavia, New York.
Instead, prosecutors said, Simmons punched Suozzi in the face,
fracturing her nose and knocking her to the ground.
Simmons was convicted of assault and sentenced under New
York's Granny Law, which ramps up penalties for intentionally
harming someone over the age of 65 if the defendant is 10 or
more years younger than the victim.
An increasing number of cases are being prosecuted under the
law, which was passed in 2008 to protect New York senior
citizens. In New York City in 2013, a total of 191 people were
charged under the law compared with 129 arrested the previous
year, according to police statistics.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Leslie Adler)