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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2018 11:10 AM
From: Senator John P. Sabatina, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Karen's Law - Decreasing Revictimization for Survivors of Sexually Violent Crimes
Soon, I will reintroduce SB 1023 (aka "Karen's Law") from last session, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimous support.

This legislation will amend Title 61, providing an additional provision for the consideration of parole applications by an inmate deemed to be a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). The intent is to mitigate the revictimization survivors face within the Commonwealth’s current parole system.

Karen's Law will provide that the Pennsylvania Parole Board shall not be required to consider, nor to dispose of an application by an inmate or an inmate’s attorney in the case of an inmate defined under 42 Pa.C.S. §9799.12 (“Sexually Violent Predator”) if a parole decision has been issued by the board within three years of the date of the current application for parole. A similar provision exists for inmates sentenced under 18 Pa.C.S. §1102.1 (relating to sentence of persons under the age of 18 for murder, murder of an unborn child and murder of a law enforcement officer). Moreover, under current law Sexually Violent Predators are given the ability to apply for parole one year after their most recent application, following their minimum sentence date. Whereas, survivors must relive the crimes committed against them, every year their attacker applies for parole, in order to provide opposition testimony.

Inspiration for this bill comes from a constituent in my district, Karen, who is a survivor of a heinous crime. As a survivor, she has shown insurmountable strength testifying against her attacker, time and time again. However, it is long overdue that our Commonwealth’s judicial system changes to avoid the revictimization of survivors.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB123