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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 28, 2015 03:19 PM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Failure to Report a Violent Offense by a Witness
I am introducing legislation to make the failure to report a violent offense by a witness a third degree misdemeanor within the Crimes Code.

The legislation is named “Jennifer’s Law” in memory of Jennifer Daugherty, a young woman with intellectual disabilities who was murdered in Greensburg a few years ago. Jennifer was repeatedly and violently tortured for two days by six people before ultimately being stabbed to death. The district attorney in the case believes the offense created by my bill would have enabled him to file additional charges in this case.

By amending Title 18, an individual who witnesses the actual commission of a violent offense would be required to notify law enforcement as soon as reasonably possible without putting himself or others in danger. A violent offense would be defined as murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, incest, sexual assault, arson, kidnapping, burglary and an attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit any of these offenses.

This was Senate Bill 422 of last session and previous co-sponsors were Senators Browne, White, Teplitz, Vulakovich and Eichleberger.

Introduced as SB970