Teenage activist and NJ legislator lobby for new law

March 12, 2012 | Posted By: | Stories of Change |

TENAFLY, NEW JERSEY –  After Micaela Mangot saw Crime After Crime last summer, the teenager was so moved by the story of the film’s protagonist Debbie Peagler that Micaela spent months organizing a screening of the film in her home state of New Jersey. Her efforts have now paved the way for a new law to improve how the criminal justice system handles the cases of victims of domestic violence in the state.

At the screening in February, State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) found herself just as moved as Micaela had been the previous summer. The discussion afterwards prompted Senator Weinberg to make an on-the-spot pledge to take action, eliciting enthusiastic applause inside the crowded theater. The senator promised her constituents that she would propose new state legislation on behalf of victims of domestic violence and wrongful incarceration. (See local coverage here.)

Senator Weinberg is now drafting the legislation, based largely on New York’s proposed Domestic Survivors Justice Act. Proponents of the New York bill have also used Crime After Crime screening events to gain public and legislative support, and they aim to secure the votes needed in the New York legislature to pass the bill into law later this year.

Meanwhile in California, Assembly Bill 593, also known as “The Sin by Silence Bill,” is advancing in the state legislature. This bill will significantly strengthen the California law that allows incarcerated victims of domestic violence to petition for their freedom.

Crime After Crime filmmaker Yoav Potash and the lawyers featured in the film plan to continue to support these social impact efforts nationwide, with a goal of showing the film at every law school in America.

Micaela Mangot and Senator Weinberg

Teenager Micaela Mangot brought the film “Crime After Crime” to the attention of New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Senator Weinberg is now working to pass “Debbie’s Law” in New Jersey