Governor McCrory Signs Bill That Provides Immediate Protection for Domestic Violence Victims
Raleigh, N.C. Governor Pat McCrory has signed House Bill 59 into law which gives immediate protection to victims of domestic violence who seek emergency protective orders.
"Domestic violence victims deserve the right to immediate protection," Governor McCrory said. "This new law will eliminate a serious roadblock many victims faced when they filed for emergency protective orders. The courts have been notified to remove this roadblock immediately so victims can get the emergency protection they desperately need."
The roadblock was the requirement to orally record hearings for "ex parte" emergency protection orders, a requirement mandated by a Court of Appeals case.
However, the impact of that ruling required that hearings had to be held in a courtroom where recording devices are available. Not all district courtrooms have recording equipment. After a courtroom is secured, a court clerk is needed to operate the recording equipment and the opening of a courtroom requires a bailiff for security.
These additional requirements often caused delays, some that lasted several hours, thus lessening the effect of emergency protection.
These delays were so critical that both judicial and domestic violence victim advocacy groups joined together to press for legislation that eliminated the recording requirement.
Governor McCrory signed the bill as soon as it hit his desk.
"No victim of domestic violence should have to wait for protection," Governor McCrory said. "I want to thank the Administrative Office of the Courts, the North Carolina Association of District Court Judges (NCADCJ) and the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV), and others for identifying this problem, and helping provide a legislative solution."
Judge William T. Hamby Junior, President of the NCADCJ, praised the governor's quick action and support.
"This legislation will help us be more flexible and effective in providing prompt assistance to those who are victims of domestic violence. We are appreciative of the General Assembly's efforts and the Governor's support," Judge Hamby said.
Dana Mangum, Executive Director of the NCCADV also praised of the collaboration between the governor, General Assembly, the judicial branch and advocacy groups.
"The Stancill decision created delays and difficulty for domestic violence victims who rely on our state's court system for protection. The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence was proud to work with the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a statutory clarification that would eliminate these dangerous roadblocks to lifesaving protective orders. We commend the legislators and staff who worked to move House Bill 59 through the process as quickly as possible, and applaud Governor McCrory for immediately signing this crucial provision into law."
The law is effective immediately.
Contact: Crystal Feldman