COLUMBUS - The Ohio Senate passed legislation today that would strengthen existing laws so that offenders who avoid service of a protection order and knowingly violate the terms of the order can be prosecuted.

Sponsored by State Senators Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) and Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), the legislation would overturn an Ohio Supreme Court ruling (State v. Smith-2008-1781) which determined that current statute does not permit prosecution in cases where the offender knowingly violated a protection order but did not receive formal service prior to the violation.

“In many cases current law does not allow for prosecution of individuals who intentionally avoid and knowingly violate protection orders,” said Bacon. “This legislation prevents people who knowingly violate protection orders from taking advantage of loopholes in the law.” 

In the State v. Smith ruling, the Court decided that a potentially violent offender was not properly served with a protection order even though he had been shown an actual copy of the order.  The case stemmed from a dispute between a man and a woman in the Columbus area.  After a protection order had been issued against him by the court, the man approached the victim at her place of residence. At that time, she physically showed the order to the man and indicated that he could not be near her. The following day, he broke into the victim’s house and assaulted her. 

The offender was originally convicted of violating the protection order. However, on appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned the conviction, ruling that even though the offender was aware of the protection order, he could not be charged with violating the order because he was not formally served by law enforcement prior to the break-in incident. Senate Bill 7 would ensure that violators of protection orders may be charged if the prosecution can establish that the violator knowingly violated its terms. 

Senate Bill 7 now goes to the Ohio House of Representatives where it will receive further consideration. 
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