State Senator Kevin Bacon (R–Minerva Park) delivered sponsor testimony before a Senate committee Wednesday for a bill that would strengthen Ohio law so that offenders who avoid service of a protection order and knowingly violate the terms of the order may be prosecuted.

Senator Bacon delivered testimony on Senate Bill 76 before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Senator Bacon jointly sponsored the measure with Senator Gayle Manning(R–North Ridgeville).
“Senate Bill 76 closes the loophole in Ohio Law so that offenders can no longer circumvent service of their protection order to avoid prosecution, ” said Bacon. “This legislation is about protecting victims."
Victims of domestic violence, stalking, and menacing often seek legal security in the form of a protection order.  Under current law, it is easy for a perpetrator to simply avoid being served with the order, thus shielding them from prosecution if the order is violated.

Senate Bill 76 establishes that a protection order is effective at the time the offender has actual notice of the order’s existence. The bill maintains, however, that the prosecution still has the burden of proving the order was recklessly violated.

“This legislation will help to prevent situations that jeopardize the safety of victims," said Bacon. If Senate Bill 76 becomes law, it would overturn a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court in State v. Smith where an offender’s conviction was reversed.   
The bill will awaits a second hearing before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. 

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