Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 Indiana House Bill 1342 Domestic Violence shelters, GPS tracking, and other matters

Indiana HB1342 has been introduced by Representative Karlee Macer. This bill has eight sections which cover multiple Domestic Violence matters including providing shelters in each county, mandatory GPS tracking for offenders, and statistical reporting.

This first section amends IC 5-2-6-3, the statute that established the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, by adding a provision for the compilation and reporting of crimes involving Domestic Violence. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is required to compile information concerning crimes that occur in Indiana and involve domestic violence, and submit the information to the National Incident-Based Reporting System(NIBRS) maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Institute shall also assist counties in establishing and operating Domestic Violence shelters under the proposed new chapter IC 12-18-9, shown in the third section.

The second section amends IC 5-2-6.7-10 by requiring that the victim services division of the Indiana criminal justice institute to make grants to a city, town, county, or township or other qualified entities. Current law provides that the division may make the grants.

The third section adds IC 12-18-9 as a new chapter. It reads;
Chapter 9. Domestic Violence Shelters
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, "domestic violence" includes conduct that is an element of an offense under IC 35-42 or a threat to commit an act described in IC 35-42 by a person against another person who: (1) is or was a spouse of; (2) is or was living as if a spouse of; (3) has a child in common with; (4) is a minor subject to the control of; or (5) is an incapacitated individual under the guardianship or otherwise subject to the control of; the person regardless of whether the act or threat has been reported to a law enforcement agency or results in a criminal prosecution.
Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "shelter" refers to a domestic violence shelter established under section 3 of this chapter.
Sec. 3. (a) Each county shall establish and operate a domestic violence shelter in the county to assist victims of domestic violence in the county.
(b) The expenses of establishing and operating a shelter shall be paid from the county general fund. However, a county may accept: (1) appropriations from the general assembly; and (2) grants, gifts, and donations from any other source; to assist in operating a shelter.
Sec. 4. The Indiana criminal justice institute established under IC 5-2-6-3 shall assist counties in establishing and operating shelters under this chapter.

The fourth section amends IC 34-26-5-9, the Civil Protection Order Act by providing that upon a finding of a violation of an order for protection, the court shall require a respondent to wear a GPS tracking device; and may prohibit the respondent from approaching or entering certain locations where the petitioner may be found. The current language of the statute provides that the court may require a respondent to wear a GPS tracking device.

The fifth section amends IC 35-33-1-1.7, which pertains to detention of Domestic Violence arrestees, by changing the hold time from eight hours to 24 Hours.

The sixth section amends IC 35-38-1-7.1, which relates to the sentencing of defendants, by adding an additional mitigating factor. Under this section the court would be allowed to consider as a mitigating circumstances that the victim of the crime involving the use of force against him or her had committed an act of domestic violence against the convicted person.

The seventh section amends IC 35-44.1-2-12, which is an employment security provision for persons participating in criminal prosecutions, by adding a specific Domestic Violence provision. An employer would be prohibited from dismissing, withholding benefits, or threatening to do either if the employee participated in certain legal proceedings. These include attending a court proceeding or participating in a law enforcement investigation related to a criminal case in which the employee is a crime victim or attending a court proceeding related to a civil case in which the employee is a victim of domestic or family violence. This provision also protects employees for whom an order for protection has been issued under IC 34-26-5 on the employee's behalf or the employee is a victim of family violence as defined in IC 31-9-2-42.

The final section amends IC 35-50-2-9, which also relates to the sentencing of defendants, by adding an eighth qualifier as a mitigating circumstance for the crime of murder. Like the sixth section this section would allow the court to consider as a mitigating circumstances that the victim of the crime of murder against him or her had committed an act of domestic violence against the convicted person.

Domestic Violence reduction is of great interest to me. My Domestic Violence Goal is: To have the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics contact the State of Indiana to ask why our Domestic Violence rates are much lower than any other state.

Representative Macer’s bill would be a step toward that goal of mine. Essential to reducing Domestic Violence is to acknowledge the demographic of perpetrators as well as those targetted and to provide services to both. Progress has been made federally through VAWA reauthorizations.

The 2006 VAWA reauthorization added this provision in Section 3, Grant Provisions:
‘‘(8) NONEXCLUSIVITY.—Nothing in this title shall be construed to prohibit male victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from receiving benefits and services under this title.”

This new provision in the 2013 VAWA reauthorization under Section 3, Grant Provisions, follows and qualifies the above listed paragraph on Nondiscrimination:
`(B) EXCEPTION – If sex segregation or sex-specific programming is necessary to the essential operation of a program, nothing in this paragraph shall prevent any such program or activity from consideration of an individual’s sex. In such circumstances, grantees may meet the requirements of this paragraph by providing comparable services to individuals who cannot be provided with the sex-segregated or sex-specific programming.

Note that the legal definition of discrimination includes providing a lower level of service. Thus, the “comparable services” clause in VAWA must be construed as providing similar services that do not in any way represent a lower or inferior level of service. In addition, most provisions in the 2013 VAWA reauthorization now use gender-neutral terms, e.g., “victims” instead of “women.”

In Indiana we do not have specific language in statute that requires providers receiving grants to be truthful about who are the perpetrators of Domestic Violence as well as those targetted. One provider, the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, has only recently started using some gender neutral language in printed materials that they distribute but overwhelmingly the ICADV still views female and male as synonymous with victim and perpetrator respectively.

A provision of this bill which elicits some objection is removing judicial discretion from ordering GPS monitoring for those found to have violated a DVPO. A benefit that I have seen in an actual court case I attended was when a man had been accused of violating a DVPO while he was on probation. However, records of the GPS tracking from the probation office indicated that he was not where he was alleged to have been violating the order. In that case it was to his benefit.

Domestic Violence is an unfortunate effect of combination of complex factors that must be addressed as an integrated system if it is truly to be ameliorated.

Click here to see other 2015 Indiana Child Custody and Child Support Payment bills.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Make a suggestion for me to write about.

Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

Connect with me for the latest Indiana child custody related policy considerations, findings, court rulings and discussions.

View Stuart Showalter's profile on LinkedIn

Subscribe to my child custody updates

* indicates required
©2008, 2015 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.


No comments: