Other Issues - Criminal Justice

LWVAL Action Priority Level III - Issues identified by LWVAL Advocacy Committee and/or State Board or Local Leagues. Monitoring occurs; action dependent on opportunity and available resources.

Click a bill to see sponsor(s), synopsis, link to the bill, League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.

thumbs_up_icon.jpg = LWVAL's support for the legislation.
thumbs_down_icon.jpg = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation.
green-right-arrow.jpg = new bill activity; change from previous week's report such as new progress in the legislature and/or League action. Bill may be one newly added to the report. These updates are in green font.

Contact information for legislators and committees referenced in the bills below:
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LWVAL has taken a position on these bills:

thumbs_up_icon.jpgHB28 - Criminal records, expunged of, eligibility expanded to include add'l offenses and youthful offender adjudications, filing fees, distrib. of fees revised, Secs. 15-27-1, 15-27-2, 15-27-3,15-27-4, 15-27-6, 15-27-7, 15-27-8 am'd.
green-right-arrow.jpgthumbs_up_icon.jpgSB119 - Expungement of criminal records, authorized for youthful offenders, Sec. 15-27-2.1 added

HB28 Sponsor(s):  Rep. England
SB119 Sponsor(s): Senator Whatley 
Synopsis:  This bill expands the ways persons can expunge past criminal convictions from their records.  It allows for automatic expungement upon the successful completion of such prosecution diversion programs as drug court, veterans court, or court ordered mental health counseling.  It also allows expungement for youthful offenders and many kinds of minor offenses (but not for sex offenses or domestic violence offenses) as well as for offenses that have been officially pardoned.

League Action and Justification:  Support. The bill promotes court diversion and counseling programs which the league supports.  It also supposes the idea that rehabilitation is the goal of the criminal justice system, another concept that the league supports – unfortunately, if the expungement is not automatic (as it would be for successful completion of a prosecution diversion program), it is expensive for low income persons ($300 filing fee and $500 administrative charge).

Bill Progress in Legislature:

HB 28
First Read and assigned to House Judiciary Committee (JUD)

First Read and assigned to Senate committee Judiciary (JUD)

green-right-arrow.jpgthumbs_up_icon.jpgSB35 - Domestic violence, protection orders, definitions clarified, notice of hearing and service of process requirements clarified, fines and penalties for violations clarified, Sec. 13A-6-139.1 repealed; Secs. 13A-6-130, 13A-6-131, 13A-6-132, 13A-6-134, 13A-6-138, 13A-6-142, 15-10-3, 15-13-190, 15-23-68, 30-5-2, 30-5-3, 30-5-5, 30-5-8 am'd.

Sponsor(s): Senator Scofield

Synopsis: Under existing law, the commission of domestic violence is a crime, and there are provisions to protect domestic violence victims from further acts of violence. Furthermore, during the 2015 Regular Session, significant revisions were made to existing provisions in law governing domestic violence offenses and domestic violence protection orders (Act 2015-496).

This bill would clarify certain provisions of Act 2015-496, including clarification of definitions, including dating relationships and household members, certain requirements for sworn petitions for protection orders, notice of hearing and service of process requirements, fines and penalties for violations of protection orders, arrests without warrants for violation of protection orders, release and bail of domestic violence offenders, and provisions governing domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation.

League Action and Justification: Support. An importation part of the principles upon which the League of Women Voters was founded is that government “share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare…”

Domestic violence occurs without distinction among demographic groups, including race, economic class, age, sexual preference, educational level, occupational category. Its impacts (short-term and long-term) include among other things added costs to law enforcement, the courts, and medical systems; traumatic stress disorder in the victims (the abused and the young who witness the abuse) and such related negative behaviors are acting out, poor school performance and depression; perpetuation of abuse across generations; and much more.

Act 2015-496 was supported by League, and this bill seeks to improve that legislation.

Bill Progress in Legislature:
First Read and referred to Senate committee on Judiciary (JUD)

LWVAL is monitoring these bills:
[none at this time]


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