A Buffalo woman has been freed after spending 21 years in prison for murder, thanks to a new law.

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Credit: WGRZ

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Patrice Smith has been freed after serving 21 years behind bars for killing her alleged abuser. According to WGRZ, she has been freed due to a new law, the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. A judge reduced her sentence to 12 years, so with time served, she was able to get out of prison earlier than her original sentence of 25 years to life. New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who signed the act into law in 2019 said,

"The vast majority of incarcerated women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and too often these women wind up in prison in the first place because they're protecting themselves from an abuser. By signing this critical piece of our 2019 women's justice agenda, we can help ensure the criminal justice system takes into account that reality and empowers vulnerable New Yorkers rather than just putting them behind bars."

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Patrice was found guilty, at the age of 16-years-old, for strangling and suffocating Reverend Robert Robinson, Sr. in 1998. According to court documents,

"Defendant sought to establish that she was under an extreme emotional disturbance because of her sexual relationship with the deceased over a period of months and his sexual advances on the night of the killing."