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Boyd announces Aisha's Law to protect domestic violence victims

Bill aims to prevent further violence in high-risk situations
February 5, 2019
Janine R. Boyd News

State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) held a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse today to announce Aisha’s Law, a bill to change how law enforcement agencies respond to domestic violence cases. The bill is named for Aisha Fraser, a former Shaker Heights sixth-grade teacher who was brutally murdered by her ex-husband, former state Rep. Lance Mason, in Nov. 2018 following years of domestic abuse.

“Aisha’s Law is for all Ohioans because domestic violence leaves in its wake families, communities, and all of us who are co-victims left to pick up the pieces,” said Rep. Boyd. “Aisha’s Law is a continuum to unite law enforcement, the courts, and community stakeholders in partnership to change lives.”

Aisha’s law would require law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence complaints to utilize the Lethality Assessment Program, a strategy to identify high-risk situations that pose a threat of further violence. The program was created by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence in 2005. The LAP is one of only two models of evidence-based intimate partner homicide prevention to be honored as a “promising practice” by the U.S. Department of Justice, and has been studied and validated.

In addition, the law requires police departments to create a task force of law enforcement officials and domestic violence advocates to review domestic violence cases and connect both victims and alleged abusers to the help they need. Cleveland’s wards 1 and 5 currently use a similar system.

The law would also eliminate the ability for prosecutors to negotiate a plea deal or dismiss a domestic violence case if the alleged abuser has any prior felony offense of violence.

After introduction, the bill now awaits a committee assignment for further consideration.

Editor’s note: Watch the press conference in full by visiting: https://www.ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-introducing-aishas-law