The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court’s imposition of an upward departure from the SORA risk assessment guidelines, explained that the existence of a family relationship with the victim, standing alone, does not warrant an upward departure:
People seek an upward departure, they must identify an aggravating factor that tends to establish a higher likelihood of reoffense or danger to the community not adequately taken into account by the Guidelines, and prove the facts in support of the aggravating factor by clear and convincing evidence … .
Here, as we held in People v Rodriguez (_____ AD3d _____, 2021 NY Slip Op 03475 [2d Dept]), the existence of a familial relationship between the offender and the victim, standing alone, does not constitute an aggravating factor for purposes of granting an upward departure. That relationship has already been taken into account by the Guidelines … , in which the board deliberately excluded familial relationships from the assessment of points on the RAI [risk assessment instrument] and expressly determined that intrafamilial offenders do not pose a comparatively higher risk of recidivism or danger to the community … . People v Velasquez, 2021 NY Slip Op 03625, Second Dept 6-9-21