Domestic-violence legislation passes House

Legislation named in honor of a Collinsville woman murdered at her workplace in 2007 by her estranged husband passed the House of Delegates today by a unanimous 99-0 vote.

The Linda Bostwick Act, sponsored by Del. Ward Armstrong, allows judges to require Virginians who are facing criminal charges, have violated a protective order, or are on probation, to wear GPS tracking devices set to alert law enforcement and/or the victim if the defendant comes too close to the victim, the victim’s house, or place of employment. Allowing judges this option could be a valuable means of ensuring the safety of victims who have been subjected to threatening or violent behavior, even after a protective order has been issued.

In 2007 Linda Bostwick was shot to death at her workplace by her estranged husband. Although she had obtained a protective order against him, he had violated the order previously. The incident prompted her employer, Jeff Adkins, to approach Armstrong to propose legislation that would allow judges to require Virginians who violate protective orders to wear GPS tracking devices.

“Although this was a terrible tragedy, the death of Linda Bostwick has spurred legislation that will save other victims who find themselves in her situation. My appreciation goes out to Jeff and Kim Adkins for suggesting this important way to fight domestic violence,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong proposed similar legislation during the 2010 General Assembly Session, but the bill was referred to the Virginia State Crime Commission for further study and development. The Crime Commission, a 13 member legislative agency made up of delegates, senators, the attorney general, and three gubernatorial appointments (including a Commonwealth’s Attorney and a retired law enforcement officer), reviewed and approved Armstrong’s legislation prior to the 2011 General Assembly session.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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