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Improve protection by monitoring: Boro GOP

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The bill, which stalled last month in both the state Senate and Assembly awaiting revisions, would be known as Erika's Law. A spokeswoman in Maltese's Albany office said the bill was awaiting another vote but the date was still to be determined. It has the support of State Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing) in that house, and State Sens. Maltese and Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose)."I was in shock," Maddis said of her reaction to the news of Delia's death, an apparent murder-suicide, according to reports in Newsday of the Babylon, L.I., crime, which Maddis was reluctant to relive for her interview with the TimesLedger. "I called my senator and said, I just want to know what I can do."The two possible issues with the bills are a lack of police to keep track of the devices and their wearers, given the NYPD's well-known recruitment difficulties, and concerns about civil liberties side of things where ordering monitoring devices for people who have not been convicted may be unconstitutional. "If people have to wait for a conviction, she [Erika] still would've been dead," Maddis countered.Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the bill could backfire by taking away judicial discretion."This goes much too far in limiting the authority of judges in issuing orders of protection. There are plenty of cases where it would be appropriate for a judge to issue an order of protection that might not warrant monitoring, and this has the potential to stifle that appropriate action," Lieberman said.A restraining order, also known as an order of protection, is issued by a judge in criminal, family or supreme court and designed to stop violent and harassing behavior and protect a victim and his or her family members from an abuser. They are typically issued in two stages. A temporary order lasts until a full court hearing, in which the alleged abuser can attend and present his side of the case. Then, based on the testimony, the judge may decide to issue a final order of protection, which can last up to five years. These orders can require the abuser to stay away from a victim's home, workplace and family and to have no contact with the victim.According to the text of the Assembly bill, in 1999 the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services received 55,558 police reports of family offenses involving adult intimate partners. In 20 percent of these cases the victim knew the offender and the use of a weapon was involved, and in 84 percent of cases the victim was an adult female.Maddis hopes Erika Delia's case can set an example of how restraining orders can better protect the people who request them."My hope is that it will save the lives of other women in the position of needing orders of protection. There's so much shame and fear and guilt about this [domestic violence]," Maddis said.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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