Bacon And Hughes Introduce Bill To Improve Victim's Rights
"Roberta's Law" would require victims to be notified when their attacker is up for parole
April 29, 2011
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Columbus - 
State Senators Kevin Bacon (R - Village of Minerva Park) and Jim  Hughes (R- Columbus) announced today that they have introduced Senate Bill 160,   legislation that would establish additional rights for victims of violent crimes and their  families. Bacon and former State Senator Steve Stivers first introduced the bill during the  127 th  General Assembly after learning of the Franklin County case of Roberta Francis. 

Francis was 15 years old when she was brutally raped and murdered in 1974. Though her  killer, a convicted child molester, was sentenced to life in prison, he served only 30 years  of his sentence before being paroled. Francis' father was not notified when his daughter's  killer went before the parole board and was unable to appear on her behalf.

"Passage of this bill will end the practice of allowing criminals to be paroled without  hearing from their victims," Bacon said. "Notification of them and their families gives  them time to come forward to the parole board and present their case as to why an  offender should remain in jail instead of released on parole."     

Under Senate Bill 160, victims and their families or representatives would be  automatically notified when parole hearings are scheduled for the offenders that  committed crimes against them, whether or not they have specifically made this request.  The notification must take place 60 days in advance of the parole hearing or parole board  recommendation of release or commutation of sentence. The bill also requires the  prosecuting attorney of the county in which the offender was indicted to notify the victim  in writing of this hearing. 

"As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand what these types of crimes can do to  victims and their families, and I believe this bill is long overdue," Hughes said. "It is  imperative that we continue to protect our citizens and ensure that those who have  suffered the most as a result of these crimes have a voice during a parole hearing." 

In addition, the bill also provides that voluntary manslaughter committed with a sexual  motivation will be considered a sexually-oriented offense. This change will close a gap in Ohio's sex offender and registration laws in order to ensure that law enforcement will be  able to monitor when any sexually motivated killer is released into the community.

Senate Bill 160 will now be referred to a Senate committee for further consideration.
For more information, please contact Laurel Ullman in Senator Bacon's office at (614) 466-8064 or Andy Bowsher in Senator Hughes' office at (614) 466-5981.
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