ALBANY, NY - A law named after a Sloan boy, who was horribly abused by his father in 2011, has been passed by the state Senate and Assembly. It will now head to Governor Cuomo for signature.
"Jay J's law," which will strengthen laws to protect children from repeat child abusers, passed the Senate unanimously around 2 a.m. Saturday.
"This is a historic vote, a long-awaited harrowed fought victory, and an important step towards finally securing justice for Jay J Bolvin," said state Senator Tim Kennedy, Democrat from Buffalo.
It looked as if it wouldn't happen, but lawmakers came to an agreement after two years of work and debate.
"We were elated, it was 2:10 a.m. exactly, I had watched that for 11 hours on a live Senate feed waiting for it to come up," said Kevin Retzer, Jay J's great uncle, who in part has been caring for the three-year-old.
Lawmakers have been working to improve the law, in response to the brutal beating of Bolvin by his own father, Jeremy Bolvin. The father broke 11 of Jay J's bones and caused him to have a seizure disorder.
Jay J was just an infant, living in North Tonawanda.
Despite this, the father was let off with what many believe was a mild sentence of a little more than a year behind bars.
This is because prosecutors couldn't consider a 2007 conviction of the father for breaking the arm of one of his sons.
Kennedy says that Jay J is still fighting through the injuries he suffered.
"The brutal beatings left Jay J with 11 fractured bones, a severe seizure disorder and developmental delays, he's fighting through every single day," said Kennedy.
Jay J's grandparents, Tabitha and Joseph Retzer traveled to Albany and lobbied in person for change numerous times.
"Jay J's father missed an aggravated assault charge by just one year and handcuffed the courts of a more severe penalty," Kennedy said.
Specifically, the law will change how far back the criminal justice system can look, when considering previous convictions for repeat child abusers and whether to file aggravated assault charges.
Right now, the state can only look back three years at a person's record. Under the law, prosecutors and police would be able to look back 10 years at a person's record.
Meantime, Jay J is learning how to walk and make noises, but cannot say words or letters. Jay's J's family is in the process of learning sign language to better communicate with him. Jay J gets 16 hours of therapy each week, from speech to physical therapy. Plus he's on a strict diet so he can process food.
"We look at Jay J and we see Jay J, we don't see a disabled child, we realize intellectually he is. We are pleased, very pleased with where we were initially told he would be and where he is now," said Retzer.
A twitter account related to the effort to get the bill passed tweeted the following early Saturday morning: "Thank you both the Senate & the Assembly for passing JJ's law".
As for the father, he is now eligible for parole. Bolvin has a conditional release date of April 2014. He could've gotten more time in prison, but prosecutors couldn't consider the 2007 conviction that Bolvin had. The law that's been passed would've prevented this from happening.