Banner: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler
  Home | Protecting Consumers | Safeguarding Children | Seniors | Law Enforcement | Site Map Search
 
For Immediate Release
October 1, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

NEW STALKING LAW TAKES EFFECT TODAY
OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., co-chair of the Family Violence Council, announced today that Maryland's new stalking law goes into effect today, strengthening the state's original stalking law passed in 1993. Passed during the 2003 legislative session and signed into law on May 13, the new statute makes it easier to prosecute offenders because it changes stalking from a specific intent crime to a general intent crime, and it broadens the conduct to include serious bodily injury, assault in any degree, rape or sexual offense or attempted rape or sexual offense; false imprisonment, and death or that a third person will suffer any of these acts.

"All of the efforts of law enforcement to rid the streets of stalkers and to help victims feel safe are worthless if prosecutors do not have the tools to do their job," Attorney General Curran said. "Today that will change."

The law specifically excludes conduct performed to ensure compliance with a court order, performed to carry out a specific lawful commercial purpose and conduct authorized, required, or protected by local, state or federal law.

"I applaud the Maryland State's Attorneys Association, and many advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies who worked diligently to ensure that this important legislation was passed into law," Curran said. "Thanks to their efforts and the leadership of the General Assembly, victims of stalking now have greater protections in Maryland."

In addition to the implementation of HB 593, October 1 marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence service providers around the state will host programs that raise awareness about domestic violence. Domestic Violence effects millions of women and children each year.

Between July 1, 2001 and June 30, 2002 the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence reports that 58 Marylanders-women, men and children- were killed as a result of domestic violence. The National Stalking Resource Center reports that stalking cases arising out of domestic violence situations are the most common and potentially lethal class of stalking cases. Domestic violence victims who leave an abusive relationship run a 75 percent higher risk of being murdered by their partners.

#

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
Home | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us