FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/07/2015
House Approves Proposal by Rep. Blanco to Help Protect Victims of Family Violence
Austin, TX: The Texas House today approved a proposal by Rep. Blanco to help protect victims of family violence. Blanco's House Bill 2645 would assist police officers in arresting family violence, sexual assault or abuse, or stalking offenders who have removed or attempted to remove their GPS ankle monitors.
"Domestic violence is a despicable crime," said Rep. Cesar J. Blanco. "We have a duty to prevent incidents of violence and put offenders back in jail more quickly. My proposal targets suspects who are violating the terms of their bail and could have a high risk of re-offending and hurting someone. It is a step in the right direction and will offer more protection to the victims of domestic violence, abuse and stalking."
Removing or attempting to remove a monitoring device can indicate that a suspect is attempting to take an action that could place a victim in danger.
However, under current law, if someone cuts off or tampers with an ankle monitor or other device ordered as part of a bond condition in these cases, the action is considered a bond violation, not a crime. Therefore, police officers typically have to seek a judge's order to arrest a suspect, even though they have violated conditions of their bond. That process can be time consuming when time is of the essence to protect a victim.
HB 2645 will help deter suspects from tampering with an electronic monitor ordered by a court as a condition of bond in family violence, sexual assault and abuse, and stalking cases; and will ensure that those who do are adequately punished.