An Act Regarding Protection Orders and the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases
Sec. 1. 15 MRSA §1206 is enacted to read:
§ 1206. Certain out-of-court statements in domestic violence assault cases
Sec. 2. 19-A MRSA §4006, sub-§9 is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 19-A MRSA §4012, sub-§11 is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 25 MRSA §2803-B, sub-§1, ¶D, as amended by PL 2003, c. 361, §1, is further amended to read:
(1) A process to ensure that a victim receives notification of the defendant's release from jail;
(2) A process for the collection of information regarding the defendant that includes the defendant's previous history, the parties' relationship, the name of the victim and a process to relay this information to a bail commissioner before a bail determination is made; and
(3) A process for the safe retrieval of personal property belonging to the victim or the defendant that includes identification of a possible neutral location for retrieval, the presence of at least one law enforcement officer during the retrieval and giving the victim the option of at least 24 hours notice to each party prior to the retrieval; and
(4) Standard procedures to ensure that protection from abuse orders issued under Title 19-A, section 4006 or 4007 are served on the defendant as quickly as possible;
Sec. 5. 25 MRSA §2803-B, sub-§2, as repealed and replaced by PL 2009, c. 652, Pt. A, §37, is amended to read:
Sec. 6. 25 MRSA §2803-B, sub-§3, as repealed and replaced by PL 2009, c. 652, Pt. A, §38, is amended to read:
This bill amends the laws pertaining to domestic violence as follows.
1. It creates an exception to the hearsay rule to allow an out-of-court statement to be admitted as evidence in a court proceeding even if the person who made the statement is available if the statement meets certain criteria. The statement must purport to narrate, describe, report or explain an incident of domestic violence assault as defined in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 17-A, section 207-A and must have been made by a victim of the domestic violence assault within 24 hours after the incident occurred. The statement must have been recorded, either electronically or in writing, or made to a law enforcement officer, provider of emergency medical services or firefighter. The statement must have sufficient indicia of reliability. The court may use specific criteria to determine reliability of the statement. The fact that the declarant withdrew the statement cannot be used to deny admission if the statement is otherwise reliable. This hearsay exception is modeled on a recently enacted Oregon statute.
2. It allows the offering into evidence at a hearing for a protection from abuse order the defendant’s prior convictions for domestic violence assault.
3. It requires the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to adopt a model policy for the serving of protection from abuse orders as quickly as possible. It also requires law enforcement agencies to adopt such policies.