For Immediate Release - April 01, 2014

Domestic Violence Package

    On April 1, 2014, Speaker DeLeo announced his Domestic Violence package. The measures were filed in collaboration with the Attorney General and the state’s District Attorneys.

    The bill includes the following newly created proposals:

  • Creates a statewide DV fatality review team within EOPSS co-chaired by secretary of public safety and commissioner of public health, a member selected by MDAA. (section 4)
  • Creates 11 local DV fatality review teams, each to be headed by the DA, and to include, among others, “a member with experience providing non-profit legal services selected by the state review team….two members with experience in the delivery of direct services to victims of domestic violence, selected by the District Attorney. (section 4)
  • State and local DV fatality teams shall have subpoena powers. (section 4)
  • Bail for defendants accused of DV or violating restraining order must not be allowed sooner than 6 hours nor more than 8 hours, and there must be written conditions of release. (section 33 - 34)
  • Standardization and dissemination of a defendant’s criminal and civil court history to ADAs, defense counsel and judges. (section 42)
  • Chief justice of the trial court shall provide DV training, at least once biannually, to all appropriate court personnel. (section 16)
  • Creates new crimes for domestic A&B within 500 feet of trial court and domestic A&B with intent to intimidate, deter or prevent access to a trial court. (section 25)

    Included in the bill are proposals drafted by the District Attorneys:

  • Strangulation. (section 26)
  • Prohibits accord and satisfaction in DV cases. (section 31)
  • Domestic A&B “fix” by creating first offense so that a second and subsequent offense can be charged. (sections 24)
  • Concurrent jurisdiction for crimes of strangulation and kidnapping. (section 15)
  • Requires written bail determinations and findings when a defendant accused of DV or violating restraining order is allowed bail. (sections 34 - 35)
  • Defendant’s BOP will include information that released on conditions or detained in DV or restraining order violation cases, and BOP will list all previous and pending 58A hearings, regardless of determination. (section 42)
  • Changes to G.L. c. 276, sec. 58A. (sections 35 - 40)

    District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said, "We have worked hard over several years to pass many of these measures. I am confident of the passage this session because of Speaker DeLeo’s hard work and commitment to the issue and I am grateful to the Speaker for the chance to have collaborated with him.”

    I think the review team selected and chaired by the District Attorney in each county will be very helpful in furthering the goals of the high risk assessment effort currently underway here on the Cape and Islands," said District Attorney O’Keefe.

    Lysetta Hurge-Putnam, Executive Director at Independence House said, “The story of Jennifer Martel, echoes the stories of thousands of women, children and men who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Last year, Independence House served over 9000 survivors. While the tragic murder of Jennifer Martel served as the catalyst for this legislative initiative, preventing domestic violence fatalities, is but one anticipated and needed outcome; it is imperative that ALL offenders are held accountable, and that ALL survivors are supported.”

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AN ACT RELATIVE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Section by Section Summary

 

SECTION 1. Amends the municipal police training committee curriculum to include specific

training on lethality factors and information sharing, Requires the training committee to

periodically include DV training as part of in-service training, which was previously optional.

 

SECTIONS 2 & 3. Provide for standardization of the BOP records by specifically making

records of dangerousness hearings part of an individual's Criminal Offender Record Information

(CORI).

 

SECTION 4. Establishes state and local domestic fatality review teams. The state team is

housed within EOPPS and acts as a steering committee, providing model protocols, rules and

training to the local review teams, reviewing the local teams' reports, and providing an annual

report to the governor and legislature. The 11 local review teams. are led by district attorneys and

investigate particular fatalities randomly assigned to them by the state team.

 

SECTIONS 5 & 6, Increase confidentiality protections for DV victims by prohibiting

information regarding DV complaints and arrests from being included in daily police logs, which

are public record, Entries related to DV will be kept in a separate log, as reports of rape and

sexual assault are currently maintained,

 

SECTION 7, Directs various health care related boards of registration (e.g, medicine, nursing,

and social workers) to develop and administer standards for licensure that require training and

education on DV.

 

SECTIONS 8 & 9. Establish employment-leave for DV victims, providing up to 15 days of leave

within a year for employees to address issues related to domestic violence, including obtaining

medical attention, accessing the courts, and receiving counseling and support services.

 

SECTIONS 10 & 11.Allow district and municipal courts to modify existing support and custody

orders from the probate and family court, for a limited duration of 45 days. The probate and

family court that issued the original order receives immediate notice of the modification and

retains formal jurisdiction.

 

SECTION 12. Requires law enforcement agencies to provide information on batterer's

intervention to defendants when serving them with a c. 209A restraining order.

 

SECTION13. Prohibits the court from granting visitation rights to a parent convicted of rape,

unless the child is old enough to assent to the visitation and that assent is determined to be in the

best interests of the child.

 

SECTION14. Requires the chief justice of the trial court to provide biannual DV training to trial

court personnel, which specifically includes training on lethality factors, information sharing,

and the availability of DV support services,

 

SECTION 15. Establishes concurrent jurisdiction of district and superior courts for the crimes of

strangulation and kidnapping.

 

SECTIONS 16- 21. Increase the existing victim and witness assessments by $20, and create a

new, specific, DV victim and witness assessment for violations of protective orders or crimes

involving abuse. Amends the option to waive assessments to allow for structured payment and,

in DV specific cases, to provide the alternative of community service.

 

SECTIONS 22 & 45- 47. Establish the Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance

Fund, to be administered by MOVA to fund a 3 year pilot program for innovative practices to

prevent DV and provide assistance to DV victims.

 

SECTION 23. Increases the criminal penalty against those committing DV against the elderly or

disabled.

 

SECTION 24. Creates the first offense of domestic assault and battery.

 

SECTION 25. Creates the new crime of, and specific penalties for, domestic assault and battery

within a certain distance of a trial court or domestic assault and battery with the intent to prevent

or deter someone from accessing a trial court.

 

SECTION 26. Creates the specific crimes of strangulation and suffocation, with increased

penalties for strangulation and suffocation in special circumstances.

 

SECTIONS 27- 30. Require, for any DV offense, a 6 hour delay to admit a person to bail (with

an 8 hour cap) and that a written assessment of safety factors (similar to the factors used in a

dangerous evaluation) be issued before the person arrested may be admitted to bail or personal

recognizance. If no factors assure the safety of the victim or the community, the offender maybe

transferred for a 58Adangerousness hearing. Information on batterer's intervention programs

must also be given to anyone charged with a DV offense, prior to admitting them to bail.

 

SECTION 3I. Prohibits the use of accord and satisfaction agreements in cases involving DV.

 

SECTION 32. Requires a judge, in crimes against the person or property, to make written

findings of fact regarding any DV occurring immediately prior to or in conjunction with the

crime for which the person was charged. These written findings of fact cannot be considered for

the purposes of the crime charged, are not included on a CORI, and are not public record, but

would go into the statewide DV record keeping system, which judges consult during restraining

order hearings.

 

SECTIONS 33 & 34. Require, for any DV offense, a 6 hour delay to admit a person to bail (with

an 8 hour cap)and that a written assessment of safety factors (similar to the factors used in a

dangerous evaluation) be issued before the person arrested may be admitted to bail or personal

recognizance. If no factors assure the safety of the victim or the community, the offender may be

transferred for a 58Adangerousness hearing. Information on barterer's intervention programs

must also be given to anyone charged with a DV offense, prior to admitting them to bail.

 

SECTIONS 35 - 40. Amend the dangerousness hearing statute to: (1) require a 6 hour delay to

admit a person to bail (with an 8 hour cap) for a person subject to a dangerous hearing pursuant

to a DV offense, (2) allow for detention beyond 90 days but no longer than 180days, in certain

limited situations involving new information, (3) require a defendant make a good faith showing

in order to summons an alleged victim or a member of the victim's family as a witness at the

dangerousness hearing, (4) direct judges to consider hearsay evidence at a dangerousness

hearing, (5) require judges to issue written victim safety determinations in all cases involving

DV offenses, and (6) provide for standardization of the BOP/CORI by requiring the inclusion of

information on dangerousness hearings.

 

SECTION 41. Allows for bail revocation and detention upon the violation of any condition of

release on personal recognizance.

 

SECTION 42. Requires EOPPS and the chief administrator of the trial court to work together to

Adopt rules and regulations to standardize the BOP/CORI information to ensure that judges,

DA's and defense counsel are receiving complete and uniform information regarding a

defendant.

 

SECTION 43. Requires various law enforcement agencies and service providers to work

together to develop and implement, subject to appropriation, a program for disseminating

information on DV prevention services to victims, defendants, and parties subject to various

protective orders.

 

SECTION 44. Requires DSS to develop materials on DV and teen dating violence to distribute

to high school students as part of the current health curriculum on safe and healthy relationships.