Domestic violence bill faces opposition

March 15, 2011

AUGUSTA, ME — A proposal to allow courts to require electronic monitoring of people charged with or convicted of violating a protection from abuse order ran into opposition Monday during a public hearing before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Opponents said the bill, L.D. 495, goes too far by allowing tracking devices to be a condition of bail when someone is merely accused of a crime…

…Representatives from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Department of Corrections and others testified against the measure.

“While the challenges and dangers faced by domestic violence victims are serious and should be addressed, we must continue to be vigilant about protecting the civil liberties of those who would be impacted by this bill, especially those who would be subjected to electronic tracking after being merely accused of committing a crime,” said Alysia Melnick of the MCLU.

Scott Landry of the Department of Corrections said the department supports the goal of protecting victims of domestic violence, but opposes the bill.

“Unfortunately, the research on the effectiveness of electronic monitoring technologies, particularly in its application to domestic violence offenders, remains rather thin and the findings are definitely inconclusive,” he said.

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