Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Group proposes
life probation
for stalkers

By Leila Fujimori


Stalkers would be sentenced to probation for life under a proposal by a group fighting domestic violence.

The proposal would require a convicted stalker to periodically check in with a probation officer, submit to drug testing and report any change of residence.

"If they move closer to their victim, it would be a violation of their probation," said Danelle Myron, projects manager for the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The coalition planned today to present its package of 10 legislative bills to fight domestic violence in Hawaii at the state Capitol.

Besides the bill allowing probation for life, the group wants to repeal the exemption that allows law enforcement and military personnel to carry guns while on duty even if there is a restraining order against them.

The group is also resubmitting a bill to include in domestic violence cases persons in dating relationships, and not limit such cases to family or household members.

Last session, police had reservations about the bill because it did not clearly define who would be controlled by a court order.

Twenty-three states have such laws, where similar terms such as "intimate relationship," "sexual relationship" or "unmarried couple" are used.

"We believe there are battered women out there not getting the help they need," Myron said.

The coalition also is renewing its proposal for a dedicated domestic violence court, seeking $250,000 for the next fiscal year.

Other proposals would create three new classes of domestic abuse offenses with different penalties, and extend the "cooling off" period for domestic violence to 48 hours from 24 hours.

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