Alexis’ Law needs to move

Last year, Delegate Michael Smigiel of District 36 introduced HB60, dubbed “Alexis’ Law.” As Delegate Smigiel explains, the law is a pretty simple fix to a problem which occasionally erupts.

This is an easy bill that claifies that ANY judge can hear a motion for a protective order for the victims of sexual predators. The bill is named after a child who was sexually victimized by an adult and subsequently stalked by her victim (I presume the Delegate meant attacker) in violation of the protection order. The States Attorney interpreted the law that only the judge who issued the order could enforce the order. Alexis was so traumatized that the only escape she felt she had was to cut her wrists. Thankfully, she survived and is getting the help she needs. We need to make sure that no other children are victimized by such loopholes.

Just like Jessica’s Law a few years back, the biggest obstacle in the way is the punk who runs the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate Joe Vallario. He’s well-known for sticking common-sense legislation in his proverbial desk drawer and killing it.

But Jessica’s Law got passed because Marylanders put the pressure on Vallario to allow it to come to a vote, and thousands lobbied the remaining members of the committee to vote in its favor. This requires a similar effort, and the list of Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee follows (needless to say the Republicans are already on board.)

Chairman: JOSEPH F. VALLARIO, JR 410-841-3488
Democrat, District 27A, Calvert & Prince George’s Counties

Co-Chairman: SAMUEL I. (SANDY) ROSENBERG 410-841-3297
Democrat,  District 41, Baltimore City

Democrat, District 43, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3291, (301) 858-3291

Democrat, District 21, Anne Arundel & Prince George’s Counties
(410) 841-3046, (301) 858-3046

Democrat, District 41, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3782, (301) 858-3782

Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City
(410) 841-3189, (301) 858-3189

Democrat, District 15, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3052, (301) 858-3052

Democrat, District 19, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3485, (301) 858-3485

Democrat, District 16, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3649, (301) 858-3649

Democrat, District 23A, Prince George’s County
(410) 841-3101, (301) 858-3101

Democrat, District 47, Prince George’s County
(410) 841-3340, (301) 858-3340

Democrat, District 8, Baltimore County
(410) 841-3526, (301) 848-3526

Democrat, District 17, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3037, (301) 858-3037

Democrat, District 26, Prince George’s County
(410) 841-3210, (301) 858-3210

Democrat, District 18, Montgomery County
(410) 841-3130, (301) 858-3130

Just as a reminder of how difficult some of these Delegates made it when Jessica’s Law went through the first time, this 2007 article from Red Maryland by Mark Newgent reminds us of the process.

There are 22 members on the House Judiciary Committee, of which 6 are Republicans. Oddly enough, Smigiel didn’t list Democrat Kevin Kelly of District 1B – I presume based on his past bipartisan voting record Smigiel doesn’t see him being a threat.

Of the 16 Democrats, seven of them were not involved in the 2006 Jessica’s Law controversy because they hadn’t been elected yet. These would be Barnes, Conaway, Kramer, Levi, Schuler, Valderrama, and Waldstreicher. If we can get these seven on board to join the GOP and Kelly, the vote would be 14-7 (the Chair generally does not vote) to get it out of committee and that sort of overwhelming bipartisan majority may work to help convince Vallario he needs to step aside on this one. Granted, since 11 of the 16 Democrats on the committee have lifetime monoblogue Accountability Ratings under 5 it’s a hard job convincing many of these about common-sense legislation but the fact they passed Jessica’s Law umanimously in 2007 gives me hope.

Once this makes it to be considered by the Judiciary Committee, certainly this should be a no-brainer – especially since committee votes are now included in public records.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

3 thoughts on “Alexis’ Law needs to move”

  1. For me, common sense wuld dictate that “any” available judge already has authority to hear and decide “any” emergency motion…that’s the no brainer, and its done all the time. I think the problem is Alexis case was a stupid, incompetent prosecutor and, possibly, a stupid sitting judge. I’m not opposed to the legislation, but why not just write the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for clarification of judges’ authority in these matters? If Judge Bell believes it is an issue that requires legislation, and is not a matter of judicial policy, he would certainly be an excellent person to help advocate for passage of the bill. To me, handling it this way, is not only common sense, but, could fix the problem with relative ease!

  2. For folks who can’t see much past their own noses, “common sense” dictates that the Earth is flat. The truth is that the current crop of sex offender bills are bad for all of us. Registries and such are of little use except as a scare tactic, and we can work ’till the cows come home closing this “loophole” and that “loophole.” Fact of the matter is, 96% of all sex offenses are by first time offenders. Over 80% of offenders never re-offend. And look at some of the things we’re making sex offenses: urinating in public, “Romeo and Juliet” love between a 21 year old and a 17 year old. If you support these bills, don’t complain when it’s your son or daughter who receives the scarlet letter for life.

  3. Fear is not “common sense.” These inane laws, like the current Adam Walsh legislation, are based on an irrational, powerful and all-consuming emotion. Common sense is realizing that people who are truly dangerous belong in prison. Once a person’s case has been adjudicated, his time and probation served then he has been deemed fit to live in society. If this is the case then the registry not only is a farce and smokescreen in terms of protecting children, but it is also a civil rights violation that is overwhelmingly and stunningly archaic in this enlightened time.

    Even murderers, thieves, arsonists and embezzlers are released after their probation and returned to society. I really thought Maryland was above this sort of neanderthal mentality. Most sex offenses are committed by people the children and the parents know. Most are new offenses – not committed by those on registries (I’m talking near 90%). Most people on the registry are low-level offenders who never touched a child, yet we are using our taxes our police resources to monitor them. I’m sure the real offenders are very grateful that our state is so backwards. Now they can really get lost in the crowd. Meanwhile Maryland is creating a class of poor, homeless, jobless and desperate people.

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