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Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU (88.5 FM - American University Radio, Washington, D.C.) had an excellent show this past Thursday featuring the continued discussion on Maryland H.B. 700. Delegate Sue Hecht, who submitted the bill, and Delegate Luiz Simmons, who attacked Amy Castillo during the hearing on the bill, were the guests.
Listen to it here. It is 27 minutes long.
During the show, Delegate Luiz Simmons explains that "only seven percent" of the Protective Orders that are heard in hearing are dismissed for not meeting the standard, being "frivolous" in nature. Only seven percent. A commenter wondered how many of those seven percent were murdered. I wonder that too.
Delegate Simmons seems to be more concerned for the alleged batterers than the potential victims. He has shown this concern in previous legislation he has submitted, including a bill to expunge alleged domestic batterer's records that thankfully was defeated in the last session.
Delegate Simmons brags that the 15 delegates of the 21 voting members reach across a wide range of demographics, including two women of color, Democrats, Republicans, men of color, a Latino, etc.
Yet Kojo questioned his rational of women supporting the issue when actually the majority of the women voted for the measure.
Eileen King of Justice For Children was also on the show, as she accompanied Amy Castillo to the February 25th hearing on the bill by the House Judiciary Committee.
She pointed out that Amy was summarily dismissed by Delegate Simmons as not being credible based upon transcripts from her protective order hearing, where she was seeking protection from the husband that eventually killed all three of their children.
Delegate Simmons made sure the whole room knew she wasn't credible then because she had to have sex with her husband the night of the threats against their lives (even though her children were killed). Kojo mentioned the sensational cases like this and what he viewed as the Committee's attempt to balance it out with all cases.
I don't know what Delegate Simmon's denigration of Amy Castillo has to do with "balancing" this out.
The fact is he went after it like a pig, and I don't think I am the only one thinking this.
Domestic Violence and Protective Orders in Maryland
Maryland lawmakers recently killed a bill that would make it easier for victims of domestic violence to receive a final protective order against their abusers. Supporters say the measure would bring Maryland in line with the rest of the country, but critics warn it could lead to a flood of false accusations. Join Kojo as we go inside the debate and hear about the latest legislative maneuvers on the issue.
Original story link here.
Member, Maryland House of Delegates (D-District 3A, Frederick County)
Delegate (D-17th Dist.), Maryland State House of Delegates
We have heard from MD delegate Levi regarding this bill. Please post a comment regarding your feelings on the issue. Perhaps she has been brainwashed by the propaganda of the false allegation crowd.
With judges barely following any rules anyway, it is hardly imaginable that even passing this bill would have been much more than lipservice, but at least it would not have been a slap in the face.
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Washington Post – Sunday, March 7, 2010: AS EXPECTED, the Maryland House Judiciary Committee wrongly killed a bill on Thursday that would have made it easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain protective orders. H.B. 700 would have brought Maryland into conformance with the practices of every other state in the country. As an election-year service to voters, here is the 15 to 6 vote:
Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s) did not vote, as is the general practice.
Against: Curtis S. Anderson (D-Baltimore), Benjamin S. Barnes (D-Prince George’s), Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore), Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), William J. Frank (R-Baltimore County), J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County), Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany), Gerron S. Levi (D-Prince George’s), Tony McConkey (R-Anne Arundel), Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s), Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore), Todd L. Schuler (D-Baltimore County), Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) and Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R-Cecil).
For: Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery), Susan C. Lee (D-Montgomery), Susan McComas (R-Harford), Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s) and Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery).
Remind Maryland lawmakers that domestic violence victims will not forget how they have been pushed to the side once again. Here are links to information and contact info on the legislators who voted against this important bill.
One Response to “Remember Them In November”
Delegate Gerron S. Levi says:
On my watch, I have been proud as a member of Maryland’s House Judiciary Committee to sponsor, co-sponsor and support law and legislation requiring abusers to surrender firearms as part of domestic violence protective orders, lengthening the term of protective orders, enabling more services to victims of domestic violence, among other improvements to Maryland law. Between July 1st and December 31st last year, 10,049 petitions reached a final protective order hearing in Maryland and just 742 or 7% were denied because the person seeking protection could not meet the required burden of proof. I am searching for how many states in this country that beat that number — states that are denying fewer requests for protective orders than Maryland. Even as a woman lawmaker who is committed to protecting women from domestic violence, I must try to be fair to both the alleged abuser and the alleged victim in what are essentially criminal charges in a civil proceeding. Charges that will create a permanent public record for the alleged abuser, available to employers, landlords and others even if the domestic violence charge is dropped, dismissed or a final protective order is never entered. Even when horrid cases are grabbing headlines, lawmakers must try to examine the law and protect victims without creating public records in an electronic age that undermine the presumption of innocence until found guilty. I cannot support lowering the burden of proof for protective orders, but I feel at peace that domestic violence victims are getting as much protection from Maryland courts as they could get anywhere in the United States.
State Delegate Gerron S. Levi
Candidate for Prince George’s County Executive
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