Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

Introduced Version Senate Bill 386 History

   |  Email


sb386 intr
Senate Bill No. 386

(By Senators Cookman, Plymale and Palumbo)

____________

         [Introduced February 27, 2013; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary                .]                            

____________




A BILL to
amend and reenact §53-8-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating generally to personal safety orders; limiting the issuance of personal safety orders for harassment; and establishing the proper venue for issuance of a personal safety order.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
    That §53-8-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. PERSONAL SAFETY ORDERS.
§53-8-4. Petition seeking relief.
    (a) Underlying acts. -- A petitioner may seek relief under this article by filing with a magistrate court a petition that alleges the commission of any of the following acts against the petitioner by the respondent:
    (1) A sexual offense or attempted sexual offense as defined in section one of this article; or
    (2) A violation of subsection (a), section nine-a, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code; or
____
(3) A violation of subsection (b), section nine-a, article two, chapter sixty-one of this code in which the respondent repeatedly harasses or repeatedly makes credible threats of bodily injury knowing or having reason to know that the conduct causes the person to reasonably fear for his or her safety or suffer significant emotional distress.
    (b) Contents. --
    The petition shall:
    (1) Be verified and provide notice to the petitioner that an individual who knowingly provides false information in the petition is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to the penalties specified in subsection (d) of this section;
    (2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, contain the address of the petitioner; and
    (3) Include all information known to the petitioner of:
    (A) The nature and extent of the act specified in subsection (a) of this section for which the relief is being sought, including information known to the petitioner concerning previous harm or injury resulting from an act specified in subsection (a) of this section by the respondent;
    (B) Each previous and pending action between the parties in any court; and
    (C) The whereabouts of the respondent.
    (c) Address may be stricken. -- If, in a proceeding under this article, a petitioner alleges, and the court finds, that the disclosure of the address of the petitioner would risk further harm to the petitioner or a member of the petitioner's household, that address may be stricken from the petition and omitted from all other documents filed with, or transferred to, a court.
    (d) Providing false information. -- An individual who knowingly provides false information in a petition filed under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $1,000 or confined in jail not more than ninety days, or both.
    (e) Withdrawal or dismissal of a petition prior to adjudication operates as a dismissal without prejudice. -- No action for a personal safety order may be dismissed because the respondent is being prosecuted for a crime against the petitioner. For any action commenced under this article, dismissal of a case or a finding of not guilty, does not require dismissal of the action for a civil protection order.
    (f) Venue. -- The action may be heard in the county in which any underlying act occurred for which relief is sought in the petition, in the county in which the respondent is living, or in the county in which the petitioner is living, either temporarily or permanently.



    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to limit the grounds upon which a personal safety order may issue. Since the Personal Safety Act went into effect in 2012, there have been a number of petitions filed which alleged harassment that was of a very minor or even frivolous nature. This bill is designed to prevent nonserious grounds from being a basis for a personal safety order by requiring that the "harassment" or "threats of bodily injury" be a repeated behavior. Additionally, this bill establishes the proper venue in which such petition may be filed. Some petitioners have been sent to several different magistrate courts because current law does not specify the proper venue in which a PSO may issue. This is a particular problem in cases where the parties do not live in the same county or the acts that led to the petition occurred in a county other than the one in which the petitioner resides. This bill is a product of a work group consisting of court personnel, representatives of the domestic violence coalition, and other victim rights groups who met several times over the past year for the purposes of resolving these issues.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature ***