Law aims to help domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence and abuse would get more protection from defendants under a bill passed unanimously by the Virginia House of Delegates this week.

House Bill 2106 would allow judges to require Virginians who are facing criminal charges, have violated a protective order or are on probation to wear GPS tracking devices.

The tracking devices would alert law enforcement agencies and/or the victim if the defendant comes too close to the complainant or the complainant’s house or workplace, according to the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville.

He dubbed HB 2106 the Linda Bostwick Act in memory of a Collinsville resident killed by her estranged husband in 2007.

Bostwick had obtained a protective order against the man, and he had violated the order previously, Armstrong said. He said the estranged husband shot Bostwick to death at her workplace and then killed himself.

Bostwick’s death prompted Jeff and Kim Adkins to ask Armstrong to propose legislation allowing judges to require Virginians who violate protective orders to wear tracking devices.

Jeff Adkins was Bostwick’s employer when she was killed; his wife Kim is the mayor of Martinsville.

“Jeff and Kim came to me and said they had been looking over the Internet where they saw GPS technology being used to track persons in a criminal context, and it would be a good idea if we could implement (the technology) in a protective order situation,” Armstrong said.

If such a law had been in effect in 2007, Armstrong said, “Linda Bostwick could have been given some advanced notice coming to her place of employment – she would have had time to get away.”

Armstrong proposed similar legislation last year, but the bill was referred to the Virginia State Crime Commission for study. The commission reviewed and approved HB 2106 before this session.

Last week, the House Courts of Justice Committee unanimously endorsed the measure. The House followed suit on Tuesday by voting 99-0 in favor of the bill.

Some legislators had concerns about who would pay for the tracking technology. Under HB 2106, the violators of protective orders required to wear the devices will pay for the devices, Armstrong said. He said that’s only fair.

“You’re getting not just someone that has a protective order against them, but it is someone who’s demonstrated a propensity to thumb their nose at the court or the judicial system and not abide by the law,” Armstrong said. “In that situation, they ought to pay for it.”

After the House passed the bill, Armstrong said, “Although this was a terrible tragedy, the death of Linda Bostwick has spurred legislation that will save other victims who find themselves in her situation. My appreciation goes out to Jeff and Kim Adkins for suggesting this important way to fight domestic violence.”

Kim Adkins said the legislation might spare other people from Bostwick’s fate.

“Prior to this legislation, Friends for Linda had been advocating for a new law requiring habitual offenders of protective orders to wear GPS tracking devices,” Kim Adkins said.

“We are convinced this new law will do more to help victims of domestic violence and stalking. Our intent was to put a name and face with the positive impact this law may have on these victims and their families. The Linda Bostwick Act is going to save lives.”

HB 2106 is now under consideration by the Senate.

To track or comment on House Bill 2106, visit: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb2106
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Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
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State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
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Norfolk man arrested at RIC after TSA catches him with gun

A Norfolk man was arrested at Richmond International Airport May 18 after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

A TSA officer detected the .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it passed through the security checkpoint X-ray machine. The handgun was loaded with 13 bullets.
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Police release photo of hoax bomb

Henrico Police have released a photo of the clock that resembled a bomb that led to the arrest of a Richmond woman in Shot Pump earlier this week.

The device, which the woman told police she purchased at a yard sale, was visible in her car at the Whole Foods at West Broad Village May 19, and a passerby called police, fearing it was a real bomb. Police responded as they would have had the device been real, they said, because they weren't sure if it was real or not.
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Henrico school buses with compliance issue to be fixed this summer


The 176 Henrico school buses that have been purchased since March 2011 will be fixed during the summer, Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks told the Citizen. The bus manufacturers will retrofit the buses at no cost to the school division, he said.

The brake interlock device is required on all automatic transmission buses in Virginia that were purchased after March 2011, which is when the device was added to the state Board of Education's requirements for school buses. As many as 4,000 school buses in the state may be affected, according to the Virginia Department of Education.
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