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Bill would let Californians screen dates

So you're out on the town with a new beau and everything seems fine. But a gnawing feeling in your gut tells you something is amiss. You have a sense that lurking beneath your suitor's smooth surface is a powder keg of anger, ready to blow at any moment.

If proposed legislation is passed in the Golden State, Californians won't have to rely solely on their intuition to discern whether Mr. Right is really Mr. Rage.

They can check a Web site.

The Sacramento Bee has reported that a proposed law, Assembly Bill 1771, would require the California attorney general to create a searchable Web site that would identify people convicted of domestic violence in the state.

States have been putting up searchable Web sites containing information on convicted sex offenders for years to comply with Megan's Law, which provides the public with certain information on the whereabouts of sex offenders so that members of our local communities may protect themselves.

Some states, such as Florida, already make databases of people convicted of domestic violence available to law enforcement. The California proposal would be the first domestic violence database available to the public, and the information would be retained on the Web site for 10 years.

The legislation was proposed by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a San Francisco Democrat and majority whip.

The New York Times, reporting on this same bill, says that the idea came from Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor. He had prosecuted Ronnie Earl Seymour in the killing of Nadga Schexnayder and her mother during a domestic dispute in 1995.

According to Hammer, Schexnayder's parents had a bad feeling about Seymour, but they lacked the tools to check his background. It turned out that Seymour had three prior felony convictions for attacks on former girlfriends.

Posted by Trudy Walsh on Jan 16, 2008 at 9:39 AM

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Reader Comments

Thu, Jan 17, 2008 Amy Thompson ATLANTIC CITY IAP NJ

This should be law for all states, as with Megan's Law. This proposed law should help to prevent criminals found guilty & convicted of domestic violence from obtaining weapons. I know weapons can be obtained illegally, but it could help cut down on them being obtained through legal channels and hopefully prevent some of the killings that occur via domestic violence with weapons involved. It will help with gun control efforts, so only law-abiding citizens can apply and obtain weapons via legal means. The military doesn't allow persons convicted of domestic violence to carry weapons, which is a means to remove them from service - because you need to be weapons qualified to serve in peace or wartime. In addition, restraining orders do not stop a person from committing domestic violence - most violent people kill right through them, as it is proven time and time again! Arming communities with information helps, but unfortunately, as is the case with Megan's Law, some towns, cities, or states don't always post the list of offenders; they expect you to search for the list, which is tedious, therefore not totally doing what it needs to do - protect the innocent. Two cases in Florida just last year proved that most people don't even know who in their community is a pedophile or sex offender, that is unless they happen to have a PC and know where they can go to get the information. It seems the rights of the criminals are more protected than the rights of the innocent and law-abiding!!!

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