Prison lawsuit could fuel divorce, claims US laywer

Divorce|News|January 6th 2013

A lawyer for an imprisoned New York state school employee has told a court that an ongoing attempt to sue Steven C Raucci for his pension cheque could lead to a surge in spouses divorcing jailed partners.

Raucci, 64, a former school maintenance manager in Schenectady, was jailed for 23 years to life in 2010 for planting bombs on the properties of imagined enemies.

Since his imprisonment, his wife Shelley, who has power of attorney, has been cashing Raucci’s monthly $5,800 pension fromNew York state.

Last year, two of Raucci’s victims announced plans to sue him under New Yorkstate’s so-called ‘Son of Sam’ law,  named after a notorious 1970s serial killer. This requires the authorities to inform victims when a criminal receives a total of $10,000 from any source.

The New York State Office of Victim Services then applied for a preliminary injunction requesting that Raucci’s pension money be held in a special account where it could potentially be seized by his victims.

Alan J Pierce, a Syracuse  attorney representing Raucci and his wife Shelley, said that if the case goes ahead, the spouses of prisoners risked losing both their property and partner’s pensions to crime victims, forcing the spouses to sue for divorce from the jailed husbands or wives.

“With all sympathy due to the crime victim, I don’t think the Legislature intended to …create battles between innocent spouses and crime victims that will go on and on…you’re going to find that as soon somebody is indicted, let’s say for murder, the spouse is going to file for divorce if they are entitled to a pension.”

The case continues.

Photo of Schenectady City Hall by O World of Photos via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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