Britny’s Law was officially signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The law — which was named after Britny Puryear, who was killed by her boyfriend in 2014, and was formally known as Senate Bill 600 — will allow prosecutors to seek first-degree murder charges against defendants charged with killing a significant other or family member if that defendant has a prior record of domestic violence against the same victim.
Cooper said in a written statement that making the bill a law was a critical need.
“Too often domestic violence killers escape full justice, because prosecutors struggle to convince juries that these offenders’ crimes meet the definition of first-degree murder under current law,” Cooper said. “We must keep working to ensure those who commit the crime of domestic violence face the justice they deserve.”
My Sister’s House of North Carolina Director Emily Lemus agreed.
“With Senate Bill 600 in place, the old mindset of ‘a crime of passion’ or ‘in the heat of the moment’ can no longer apply with a history of domestic violence,” Lemus said. “This is essential in providing justice for victims who have been subjected to months or years of abuse before they are murdered.”
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said Wednesday he supports the new law but stressed no situation should ever get to the point of someone being killed as a result of domestic violence.
“I’m glad the bill has been signed into law, but we need to put more focus on the front end of domestic violence than on the back end,” Stone said. “No one should have to live in an environment that includes domestic violence.”
More than 80 people statewide died as a result of domestic violence last year, according to statistics from the N.C Coalition Against Domestic violence. Almost 40 people across the state have lost their lives to domestic violence so far this year.
Senate Bill 600 is not the only domestic violence-related bill that Cooper signed into law Tuesday. He also signed into law House Bill 343 and House Bill 399.
House Bill 343 ensures domestic violence protective orders granted by a judge will take full effect even when under appeal. House Bill 399 will impose harsher penalties against those who publish private videos and pictures of someone else without the victim’s consent than were previously in place.
Cooper said after signing the bills that he thinks they will greatly serve domestic violence victims.
“Domestic violence is a crime that destroys families and lives,” Cooper said. “These new laws give survivors of domestic violence more ways to protect themselves, and law enforcement and prosecutors more tools to hold perpetrators of domestic violence responsible for their crimes.”
“All of these laws help close existing gaps in the legal system that often limit what charges and sentences can be given against abusers,” Lemus said. “We applaud the state’s efforts to pass these bills enabling MSH and others to better serve those in crisis in our community.”
Source > http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/News/2017/07/13/New-laws-to-target-domestic-violence.html