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For Immediate Release

Date: 06/14/11

Rep. Fredette Seeks to Amend Maine's Criminal Bail Code after Dexter Tragedy

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Ken Fredette plans to file legislation to amend Maine's Bail Code to require judges to consider instances of domestic violence when setting bail on alleged criminals. His action follows the brutal murder of a woman and two young children in Dexter on June 13.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of those who are victims of domestic violence, especially the recent case in my neighboring town of Dexter," said Rep. Fredette (R-Newport). "Our laws need to be changed to protect those who are at risk of violence. While it is important to maintain the presumption of innocence and the right of the accused to due process, we must also recognize that domestic violence is often related to murder cases in Maine."

In 2010, Maine recorded 5,117 domestic violence assault cases.

The Maine Bail Code already has provisions that require a judge to "ensure safety of others in the community" and to "ensure the integrity of the judicial process," said Rep. Fredette, who practices law in the Newport and Dexter area. His bill will seek to amend the Bail Code to include "whether the person has a history of domestic violence or a history of other violent acts."

"The inclusion of domestic violence in our Bail Code will ensure that bail bondmen, judges and law enforcement officials consider this critical factor in cases related to domestic violence," he said. "It is the duty of our Legislature to protect those who are most vulnerable, especially our children."

Rep. Fredette expects to submit the bill for consideration during the Second Regular Session of the Legislature, which begins next January. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445