Friday, February 22, 2013

Ohio violent offender legislation

We made mention last week of a couple of bills introduced in the Ohio Senate, one of which was
Senate Bill 7, dubbed the "Deputy Suzanne Hopper Act," in honor & memory of the Springfield, Ohio sheriff's deputy shot to death two years ago while investigating a report of gunfire at an Ohio trailer park. Senate Bill 7 would "require judges to report to law enforcement when they sentence a violent offender to mental-health treatment instead of incarceration, or if they approve a conditional release for an individual found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity." (Senate Bill 7)

The Supreme Court's news service yesterday afternoon had an article in which it was related that "During several interested-party meetings before the introduction of that bill, Fairfield Municipal Court Judge Joyce A. Campbell worked with Sen. Widener to share the judiciary's perspective, and that Judge Campbell, who serves as co-chair of the Ohio Judicial Conference's Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, will be leading the discussion about the bill at the Committee session this morning."

The article quotes Judge Campbell as saying "While the judges understand and applaud his efforts to protect both law enforcement officers and the public, we have expressed our concern that in its current form the bill imposes unrealistic and unfunded reporting requirements on the courts and law enforcement… As a judge that has presided over a mental health docket since 2001, I do not believe this bill will achieve the desired goal."

The Legislative Service's analysis of the Senate Bill 7 is accessible here.

Related to this bill, Senate Bill 44 was introduced by Sen. Kevin Bacon on Feb. 14th., seeking to "authorize the civil commitment of certain sexually violent predators, and require that sexually violent predators who are released from prison be monitored by global positioning system devices and require sexually violent predators to pay the cost of monitoring by global positioning system devices if they are able." The Legislative Service's analysis of that bill is not out yet.

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