Barnes honored for efforts against domestic violence Governor's Citation presented in Westminster

November 11, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Jerry F. Barnes, state's attorney for Carroll County, received a Governor's Citation yesterday for his efforts in fighting domestic violence.

State Sen. Larry E. Haines, chairman of county's legislative delegation, and Dels. Nancy R. Stocksdale and Joseph M. Getty made the presentation to Barnes on behalf of Gov. Parris N. Glendening in a brief ceremony in Westminster.

Barnes praised the members of his 4-month-old special unit on domestic violence.

He said 10 percent of his office's prosecutions involve domestic violence, and those numbers will top 500 cases for the second year in a row.

Melissa Ottey Hockensmith, special prosecutor for the unit, said active cases number more than 200.

Barnes said many prosecutions are difficult because victims are permitted in first-time offenses not to testify against abusive spouses. If the domestic violence unit, the fourth in the state and the only one in Western Maryland, saves one life, it's worth the effort, Barnes said.

Haines said Barnes and his staff deserved the citation because of "special concern shown to victims of domestic violence."

Stocksdale said domestic violence will be high on the list of priorities to be addressed by the Women's Legislative Committee in Annapolis in January.

At Barnes' suggestion, Haines has proposed legislation to give prosecutors the option of seeking the death penalty in cases in which a victim who is granted a protective order from an abusive spouse or boyfriend is killed.

State law recognizes 10 aggravating circumstances that may permit prosecutors to seek a death sentence. If enacted, the Haines bill would become effective Oct. 1.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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