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                                                      PRINTER'S NO. 1501



No. 1215 Session of 2007

           J. TAYLOR AND PYLE, MAY 4, 2007


                                     AN ACT

     1  Amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 23 (Domestic
     2     Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further
     3     providing for the disclosure of certain criminal history
     4     record information and certain information related to abuse
     5     to the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board and to any
     6     domestic violence fatality review team; and establishing the
     7     Domestic Violence Fatality Review Program.

     8     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     9  hereby enacts as follows:
    10     Section 1.  Section 9104(d) of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania
    11  Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:
    12  § 9104.  Scope.
    13     * * *
    14     (d)  Certain disclosures authorized.--
    15         (1)  Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a criminal
    16     justice agency from disclosing an individual's prior criminal
    17     activity to an individual or agency if the information

     1     disclosed is based on records set forth in subsection (a).
     2         (2)  Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a criminal
     3     justice agency from disclosing criminal history record
     4     information and intelligence information, investigative
     5     information, treatment information, including medical and
     6     psychological information, caution indicator information,
     7     modus operandi information, missing persons information,
     8     employment history information, personal history information
     9     or presentence investigative information to members of a
    10     Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board established under 23
    11     Pa.C.S. Ch. 68 (relating to Domestic Violence Fatality Review
    12     Program) and authorized under that chapter to investigate and
    13     analyze domestic violence-related fatalities.
    14     * * *
    15     Section 2.  Section 9121(b.1) of Title 18 is amended to read:
    16  § 9121.  General regulations.
    17     * * *
    18     (b.1)  Exception.--Subsection (b)(1) and (2) shall not apply
    19  [if]:
    20         (1)  If the request is made by a county children and
    21     youth agency or the Department of Public Welfare in the
    22     performance of duties relating to children and youth under
    23     the act of June 24, 1937 (P.L.2017, No.396), known as the
    24     County Institution District Law, section 2168 of the act of
    25     August 9, 1955 (P.L.323, No.130), known as The County Code,
    26     the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public
    27     Welfare Code, 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to child protective
    28     services) or 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile
    29     matters).
    30         (2)  If the request is made by a domestic violence
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     1     fatality review team or the Domestic Violence Fatality Review
     2     Board established under 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 68 (relating to
     3     Domestic Violence Fatality Review Program) and authorized
     4     under that chapter to investigate and analyze domestic
     5     violence-related fatalities.
     6     * * *
     7     Section 3.  Section 6340(a) of Title 23 is amended by adding
     8  a paragraph to read:
     9  § 6340.  Release of information in confidential reports.
    10     (a)  General rule.--Reports specified in section 6339
    11  (relating to confidentiality of reports) shall only be made
    12  available to:
    13         * * *
    14         (10.1)  Members of a domestic violence fatality review
    15     team and members of the Domestic Violence Fatality Review
    16     Board established under Ch. 68 (relating to Domestic Violence
    17     Fatality Review Program) and authorized under that chapter to
    18     investigate and analyze domestic violence-related fatalities.
    19         * * *
    20     Section 4.  Title 23 is amended by adding a chapter to read:
    21                             CHAPTER 68
    23  Sec.
    24  6801.  Short title of chapter.
    25  6802.  Definitions.
    26  6803.  Domestic Violence Fatality Review Program.
    27  6804.  Domestic violence fatality review teams.
    28  6805.  Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.
    29  6806.  Access to records.
    30  6807.  Confidentiality.
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     1  6808.  Penalties.
     2  § 6801.  Short title of chapter.
     3     This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Domestic
     4  Violence Fatality Review Act.
     5  § 6802.  Definitions.
     6     The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
     7  shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
     8  context clearly indicates otherwise:
     9     "Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board" or "board."  A
    10  multidisciplinary, Statewide panel that advises domestic
    11  violence fatality review teams and recommends Statewide
    12  improvements in domestic violence investigation, intervention
    13  and prevention efforts.
    14     "Domestic violence fatality review team" or "review team."  A
    15  multidisciplinary team that reviews domestic violence-related
    16  fatalities in a local jurisdiction.
    17     "Domestic violence-related fatality."  A death resulting from
    18  or relating to an act of abuse as defined in section 6102
    19  (relating to definitions), including the fatality of a victim,
    20  perpetrator, family member, partner or bystander.
    21  § 6803.  Domestic Violence Fatality Review Program.
    22     (a)  Establishment.--The Pennsylvania Coalition Against
    23  Domestic Violence shall establish a program to be known as the
    24  Domestic Violence Fatality Review Program. This program shall
    25  establish a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board and domestic
    26  violence fatality review teams with the purpose of investigating
    27  domestic violence-related fatalities and identifying gaps in
    28  systemic responses to domestic violence, as well as recommending
    29  improvements in domestic violence investigations, interventions
    30  and prevention efforts throughout this Commonwealth.
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     1     (b)  Administration.--The Pennsylvania Coalition Against
     2  Domestic Violence shall coordinate the activities of the board
     3  and shall be jointly responsible for the provision of standard
     4  protocols, training and technical assistance to review teams.
     5     (c)  Case selection.--Review teams and the board shall only
     6  review domestic violence-related fatalities in which:
     7         (1)  no criminal charges have been filed against a
     8     perpetrator associated with a domestic violence-related
     9     fatality and the chief law enforcement officer of the
    10     jurisdiction indicates that no criminal charges will be
    11     filed; or
    12         (2)  all criminal legal proceedings associated with a
    13     domestic violence-related fatality have been closed.
    14  § 6804.  Domestic violence fatality review teams.
    15     (a)  General rule.--It shall be the duty of a domestic
    16  violence fatality review team to do all of the following:
    17         (1)  Gather information regarding the events leading to
    18     and facts surrounding incidences of domestic violence-related
    19     fatalities.
    20         (2)  Analyze information gathered regarding domestic
    21     violence-related fatalities.
    22         (3)  Identify trends, patterns and risk factors resulting
    23     from domestic violence-related fatality investigations.
    24         (4)  Examine and assess service delivery related to
    25     domestic violence.
    26         (5)  Provide aggregated fatality review reports to the
    27     board pursuant to section 6805 (relating to Domestic Violence
    28     Fatality Review Board).
    29     (b)  Protocols.--Review teams shall establish a protocol for
    30  the investigation of domestic violence-related fatalities in
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     1  consultation with the board.
     2     (c)  Location.--A review team may be established in any
     3  jurisdiction or combination of jurisdictions.
     4     (d)  Membership.--Membership of a review team may include
     5  court personnel, law enforcement, medical professionals, victim
     6  advocates and any other individual or entity that the review
     7  team deems appropriate for the conduct of the review.
     8     (e)  Additional duties.--In furtherance of the purposes of
     9  this section, review teams may recommend any or all of the
    10  following:
    11         (1)  Changes in legislation, regulations, policies,
    12     budgets, treatment and service standards that may facilitate
    13     the reduction of domestic violence-related fatalities.
    14         (2)  Prevention and intervention strategies.
    15         (3)  Public awareness strategies.
    16         (4)  Strategies for enhanced interagency coordination.
    17  § 6805.  Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.
    18     (a)  Powers and duties.--The Domestic Violence Fatality
    19  Review Board shall do all of the following:
    20         (1)  Advise and consult with review teams.
    21         (2)  Provide education and technical assistance to review
    22     teams.
    23         (3)  Develop minimum data collection guidelines for
    24     review teams.
    25         (4)  Receive summary fatality review reports from review
    26     teams.
    27         (5)  Analyze data from the reports of review teams to
    28     identify Statewide trends and patterns associated with
    29     domestic violence-related fatalities.
    30         (6)  Recommend changes to domestic violence prevention,
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     1     intervention and investigation efforts and monitor the
     2     implementation of these recommendations.
     3         (7)  Prepare an annual report of findings,
     4     recommendations and steps taken to implement recommendations
     5     subject to the following requirements:
     6             (i)  The annual report shall not contain information
     7         identifying any victim or alleged perpetrator of domestic
     8         violence or their family members.
     9             (ii)  The annual report shall be submitted to the
    10         public and the Governor on September 1 of each year and
    11         shall be presented at a joint meeting of the Judiciary
    12         Committee of the Senate and the Judiciary Committee of
    13         the House of Representatives at a public hearing.
    14     (b)  Membership.--At a minimum, the board shall be comprised
    15  of a designee from:
    16         (1)  The Office of Attorney General.
    17         (2)  The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic
    18     Violence.
    19         (3)  Two local domestic violence programs as defined in
    20     section 2333(e) of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177,
    21     No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, to be
    22     chosen by a majority vote of the board from a list of at
    23     least six programs provided by the Pennsylvania Coalition
    24     Against Domestic Violence.
    25         (4)  The Office of Physician General.
    26         (5)  The Office of Victim Advocate.
    27         (6)  The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
    28         (7)  The Pennsylvania State Police.
    29         (8)  The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
    30         (9)  Three community members impacted by domestic
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     1     violence or a domestic violence-related fatality to be chosen
     2     by a majority vote of the board from a list of at least nine
     3     community members provided by the Pennsylvania Coalition
     4     Against Domestic Violence.
     5         (10)  The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and
     6     Delinquency.
     7         (11)  An eligible legal services provider as defined in
     8     42 Pa.C.S. § 4903 (relating to definitions).
     9         (12)  The State association of sheriffs authorized by the
    10     act of June 14, 1923 (P.L.774, No.305), entitled "An act
    11     authorizing the sheriffs of the several counties of this
    12     Commonwealth to organize themselves into a State Association,
    13     for the purpose of holding annual meetings, to secure more
    14     uniformity and cooperation in the conduct of their offices,
    15     and providing for the payment of certain expenses in
    16     connection with such meetings by the various counties."
    17         (13)  A rape crisis center, as defined in section 2333(e)
    18     of The Administrative Code of 1929, to be selected by a
    19     majority vote of the board.
    20         (14)  The State association for district attorneys as
    21     provided in section 440 of the act of August 9, 1955
    22     (P.L.323, No.130), known as The County Code, to be selected
    23     by a majority vote of the board.
    24         (15)  Two members of the Senate appointed by the
    25     President pro tempore, one from the majority party and one
    26     from the minority party.
    27         (16)  Two members of the House of Representatives
    28     appointed by the Speaker, one from the majority party and one
    29     from the minority party.
    30         (17)  Any other person that the board by a majority vote
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     1     deems appropriate.
     2     (c)  Initial board organization.--The initial organization of
     3  the board shall consist of the designees under subsection
     4  (b)(1), (2), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (10), (11), (12), (15) and
     5  (16). After these members are organized into the board, that
     6  board shall act to name designees to the board under subsection
     7  (b)(2), (3), (9), (13), (14) and (17). Thereafter the board
     8  shall conduct its normal business.
     9  § 6806.  Access to records.
    10     (a)  General rule.--Review teams and the board shall have
    11  access to and may review the following records to the extent
    12  permitted by law or court rule:
    13         (1)  Guardian ad litem reports, parenting evaluations and
    14     victim impact statements.
    15         (2)  Media accounts.
    16         (3)  Protection from abuse documents, transcripts,
    17     violations and other materials as produced by the courts and
    18     law enforcement officials.
    19         (4)  Criminal history record information.
    20         (5)  Law enforcement incident documentation from closed
    21     cases, such as incident reports, dispatch records, victim,
    22     witness and suspect reports.
    23         (6)  Medical examiners' and coroners' reports.
    24         (7)  Records of court proceedings.
    25         (8)  Documents, reports and evaluations prepared in
    26     conjunction with court proceedings pursuant to general or
    27     local court rules.
    28         (9)  Probation and parole information.
    29         (10)  Reports to animal control.
    30         (11)  Presentence interviews and reports, and any
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     1     recommendations made regarding bail and release on own
     2     recognizance.
     3         (12)  Investigative reports from the Office of Children,
     4     Youth and Families.
     5         (13)  Statements from witnesses, friends, family and
     6     employers of the victim and perpetrator.
     7         (14)  Any other information determined to be relevant to
     8     the review that will not jeopardize an ongoing investigation
     9     or prosecution.
    10     (b)  Court order.--In the event that the custodian of the
    11  records, pursuant to subsection (a), refuses a request for
    12  records by a review team or the board, the court shall issue an
    13  order directing the custodian of the records to comply with the
    14  request.
    15     (c)  Confidentiality of information.--Review teams and the
    16  board shall maintain the confidentiality of such information to
    17  the extent required by any applicable law.
    18     (d)  Immunity.--An entity, individual or institution that in
    19  good faith provides information or records to a review team or
    20  the board is immune from civil or criminal liability that might
    21  otherwise be imposed as a result of providing these records or
    22  information.
    23  § 6807.  Confidentiality.
    24     (a)  Signed confidentiality agreement.--Each member of a
    25  review team and the board and any person appearing before them
    26  shall be required to sign a confidentiality agreement created by
    27  the board in order to maintain the confidentiality of the
    28  proceedings.
    29     (b)  Confidentiality of proceedings, deliberations and
    30  opinions.--The proceedings, deliberations and opinions of the
    20070H1215B1501                 - 10 -     

     1  review teams and the board and their members are privileged and
     2  confidential, except as otherwise provided by this chapter.
     3  Information known to or opinions held by members of a review
     4  team or the board and any person who presents information to a
     5  review team or the board shall not be subject to discovery,
     6  subpoena or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal
     7  action, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
     8     (c)  Confidentiality of records.--The records of a review
     9  team and the board are privileged and confidential, except as
    10  otherwise provided by this chapter. Records of a review team and
    11  the board shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena or
    12  introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal action,
    13  except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
    14         (1)  All records brought to a review team by a person or
    15     agency remain the property of that person or agency. These
    16     records shall be maintained by the person or agency to which
    17     the records belong.
    18         (2)  All records produced by a review team are the
    19     property of that review team. These records, including the
    20     names of victims, alleged perpetrators and family members, as
    21     well as documents relating to the proceedings, opinions and
    22     deliberations of a review team and the board shall be kept
    23     confidential and shall not be subject to the provisions of
    24     section 2 of the act of June 21, 1957 (P.L.390, No.212),
    25     referred to as the Right-to-Know Law.
    26         (3)  All records produced by the board are the property
    27     of the board. These records, including the names of victims,
    28     alleged perpetrators and family members, as well as documents
    29     relating to the proceedings, opinions and deliberations of a
    30     review team or the board shall be kept confidential and shall
    20070H1215B1501                 - 11 -     

     1     not be subject to the provisions of section 2 of the Right-
     2     to-Know Law.
     3         (4)  Release of aggregated statistics, scenarios, annual
     4     reports, recommendations and other nonidentifying information
     5     by a review team or the board shall not constitute a breach
     6     of confidentiality as outlined in this section.
     7     (d)  Discovery.--Nothing in this section shall be construed
     8  to restrict or limit the right to discover or use in any civil
     9  or criminal action any evidence that is discoverable independent
    10  of the proceedings of review teams or the board.
    11     (e)  Immunity of members.--The board and its members and any
    12  review team and its members acting within the scope of this
    13  program are immune from all civil liability resulting from an
    14  act or omission arising out of and in the course of the board's
    15  or the review team's performance of that activity, unless the
    16  act or omission was the result of gross negligence, recklessness
    17  or intentional misconduct. This section shall not be construed
    18  to limit any other immunity provided by statute or common law.
    19  § 6808.  Penalties.
    20     Whoever discloses, makes use of or knowingly permits the use
    21  of information concerning a victim or other persons in violation
    22  of this chapter commits a summary offense.
    23     Section 5.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2007, or
    24  immediately, whichever is later.

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