Bill aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence clears Senate committee

02/20/2015 02:46 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would require a twelve-hour hold on a defendant being released on bail for domestic violence was passed on Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 137 , sponsored by Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset, would require a twelve-hour wait for domestic violence perpetrators if the pretrial assessment indicates a risk of possible future harm to the victim.

“The biggest advantage to this legislation is allowing the victim, as well as possibly the children, of being able to find safe harbor,” Girdler said. “We all know that the most dangerous times for the woman is when they’re trying to leave.”

Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, a former victim of domestic violence, voted against the legislation because the mandatory requirement would take away judge’s discretion.

“Anything almost can be a threat and most judges will err on the side of caution in the exercise of their duties in the protection of their constituents in accordance with the law,” Webb said. “I think the law is very adequate now. A lot of people who are charged are innocent.”

Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, supported the bill saying the intent is to keep victims from suffering reprisals from their attackers.

“It’s just another layer of protection for victims of domestic violence and, to me, it’s a small price to pay,” Carroll said. “I believe that it’s also a cooling down period and it’s going to benefit the defendant in this as well by giving them a chance to think a little bit about what’s going on, rather than immediately getting out and confronting the victim and perhaps having a more severe charge.”

The bill will now heads to the full Senate.


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