On January 31, 2017 the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee heard SB 219 – “Criminal Procedure – Pretrial Release – Victim Protection.” which allows victims of crime to complete a confidential supplemental form when charges are filed and to register with Maryland’s Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) service.
ACTION NEEDED: Contact members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to register your support for SB 219 and urge a favorable report on the bill.
What Does the Bill Do?
SB 219 enables the victim or the victim’s representative to receive prompt notification of the release of the criminal defendant.
- SB 219 builds on existing criminal procedures to improve the safety of victims of crime.
- Current law allows victims of crime or their representative to request reasonable protections from a District Court commissioner or court.
- SB 219 allows the victim of crime to complete a confidential supplemental form at the time an application of charges is filed and to register with the state’s Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE)
- The victim can be notified via e-mail or telephone about the status of the case, including information about the release of the defendant.
Why is this Bill Important?
- It is not unusual for the defendant in a domestic violence case, who has recently been released from jail, to seek revenge on an intimate partner.
- With prompt notification, the victim will be able to take appropriate precautions to avoid further injury or, in extreme cases, lethality.
- This notice will not only make the victim safer, but will also serve to reduce the cost to the community in in terms of expenses associated with police, health care, and lost wages.
How Can You Contact Your Legislator?
- See the list of Judicial Proceedings Committee here.
- Look for members who represent your county – or are legislators from your district. If you are a constituent, it’s even more important for you to contact the member.
- E-mail, mail or call: you can send a brief e-mail or letter. If you call, you only have to say you support the bill and want your legislator to vote for it. You may be asked for your name and address.
- If you use e-mail, forward a copy of your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of the legislators who have been contacted.