More than 3,200 Protection from abuse (PFA) orders were filed in Pennsylvania this past year.
Now a bill proposal would allow judges to assign electronic monitoring, such as ankle bracelets- for those with PFA’s against them.
“Domestic violence on a daily basis here in Clearfield County, its everywhere,” say Clearfield County District Attorney Bill Shaw.
The proposal has been coined as “Alina’s law,” after the 20-year-old University of Pittsburgh student, who was killed back in October. Police believe she obtained a PFA against her alleged killer, and ex boyfriend.
However, the law would only cover those with a “final PFA” which could take weeks or months to require. Josh Maines works as a Criminal Defense Attorney at Commons Law Firm in Clearfield. He says “even in that [Alina’s] case this particular bill wouldn’t have stopped this from happening, because she was only under a temporary PFA at that time.”
Just after Thanksgiving in Osecola Mills, police say 22 year old Victoria Shultz and her mother were killed by Cody Bush. We’re told bush was served a PFA the day before the murder.
The Clearfield County victim witness coordinator, Margie Rosselli, says this proposed law could help when minutes matter.
“When the judge issues the final to have that other layer of protection for them to put on the offender I think is a good step,” explains Rosselli.
However District Attorney Bill Shaw says this bill doesn’t mean victims are guaranteed safety. “People that find themselves in that situation, they need to judge what is necessary for their own personal safety, they need to take steps to ensure their own personal safety,” says Shaw.
“We see it all the time in probation cases where they cut their anklet off if they want to flee or go somewhere. Then of course, they’re not tracked,” adds Maines.
The bill has currently advanced to the House after the State Senate unanimously approved it last week.