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Angie's Law Receives Public Hearing
WISCREPORT.COM (11/8/07) - Senator Julie Lassa (D – Stevens Point) has announced that Senate Bill 260, “Angie’s Law”, to strengthen the penalties for strangulation, received a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Corrections yesterday (11/7/07). “Angie’s Law” will strengthen the law to allow prosecutors to charge batterers with felonies instead of misdemeanors. This loophole is widely known among inmates in correctional facilities as a way to attack or control their partners without being charged a felony.
Strangling and smothering attacks are both dangerous, and more common than most people think, according to a 2001 Journal of Emergency Medicine study. This study also found that these types of attacks are even more common in instances of domestic violence.
Wisconsin law limits penalties for non-fatal strangling and suffocating attacks to misdemeanors in most cases. “Angie’s Law” will strengthen the law to allow prosecutors to charge batterers with felonies instead of misdemeanors. This loophole is widely known among inmates in correctional facilities as a way to attack or control their partners without being charged a felony.
“This legislation is important since it will help to protect victims from the potential of escalating violence,” said Lassa. “It will ensure that law enforcement and the judicial system have the tools they need to persecute offenders of these types of violent attacks.”
· Creates a Class H felony - $10,000 fine or a prison term not to exceed 6 months or both - for intentionally strangling or suffocating a victim;
· Modifies the current definition of “dangerous weapon” to include anything used to strangle or suffocate a victim;
· Includes bruising or other markings on the neck, throat, or face caused by strangling or suffocating in the definition for “substantial bodily harm.”
These changes will strengthen penalties and enable prosecutors to treat instances of non-fatal strangulation or suffocation with the severity they deserve. “This loophole has allowed batterers to avoid serious penalty for too long,” said Lassa. “I am pleased to join the thirteen other states that have enacted legislation of this nature to enforce this violent form of abuse.”
The legislation is supported by the Association of State Prosecutors, the Wisconsin Attorney General at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Wisconsin Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association, the Wisconsin Sheriff's and Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Wisconsin Victim/Witness Professionals.
The bill is now ready to be voted in the Criminal Justice Committee.