I recently came across the fall minutes of a newsletter for the Florida Court systems. One of the articles was about a training program for domestic violence case managers. It covered issues such as helping victims with disabilities and technologies used to track and harass victims.
The article also referenced the Case Management Guidelines handbook.
The guide pointed out how to follow up on court mandates, such as requiring offenders to relinquish firearms and ammunition, household keys, and garage door openers to protect the victim.
Although a good start, I have never felt that waiting ten days to require compliance was adequate. Furthermore, as this may work for low-risk cases, it is wholly inadequate for defendants who are mentally disturbed, have addiction issues, or have a history of increasing levels of violence.
What would prevent a gun from being used before the ten-day requirement to turn it in?
Even if promptly turned in, a gun might not be the only weapon they have. Nor does it prevent them from acquiring another gun. The nightly news often carries stories of convicted felons using a firearm in the commission of another crime. Even if a defendant has turned in all his guns, it won’t prevent the victim from being beaten or stabbed to death.
What is missing is any mention of monitoring, with an immediate order to remand if the defendant fails to comply with any monitoring requirements.
An order for GPS monitoring should contain the following.
- An area of inclusion, such as strict house arrest
- Modified house arrest home, work, grocery doctor & lawyers visits
- There may be other areas of exclusion, such as the victim’s residence, work, gym, stores, groceries, or parent’s residence & the children’s school.
We also require the name of the victim and contact information. Why?
To notify the victim directly if the defendant has removed their bracelet, or allowed the battery to go dead or is entering an exclusion zone.
Upon receiving an order with contact information to provide a GPS and monitor someone charged with domestic violence, our agency will contact the victim.
After introducing ourselves, our staff will explain that we are court-ordered to monitor the defendant. If the defendant violates the protocol, we will call them first so they can enact their safety plan. We will simultaneously notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the violation and location if the defendant has not removed the GPS.
Why do we notify the victim first?
Because I have no idea where the nearest patrol car is, and the victim needs time to gather children, lock down the house or leave for a safe place.
- Court orders sent to the agency doing the monitoring and law enforcement would assure a speedy response in case of a threat, possibly preventing any harm to the victim.
- Documentation of the violation is then sent to the State attorney or judge.
We also receive orders to monitor alcohol consumption when defendants are scheduled for visitation and child custody to determine sobriety. Should a consumption event occur, we immediately notify the other parent to pick up the children. In addition, attorneys and judges can be notified of violations as ordered.
For any further questions regarding the devices we use, you may contact us here.