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If passed, North Carolina bill would allow for GPS monitoring

Domestic violence is at once a sobering and disturbing subject, given its emotive aspects and sometimes explosive repercussions. Human beings are centrally involved and, when things get out of control, truly adverse consequences can result.

Violence victims have often lamented the limited scope of effectiveness inherent in a protective order mandating that an offender -- or person deemed likely by a court to act out in violent fashion -- keep a specified distance away from a would-be victim. When emotions run high, logic and due respect for legal prohibitions can erode in a hurry, with such orders being ignored.

North Carolina legislators have acknowledged the limited efficacy of restraining orders in certain cases and sought to buttress the protections accorded violence victims through enactment of new legislation.

Specifically, North Carolina House members recently passed a bill that would require convicted domestic violence offenders to wear a GPS monitoring device. Authorities would be duly notified whenever an offender came within a specified distance of a person identified as a potential victim.

Although the bill passed through the House unanimously, it must still muster enough votes in the Senate before moving to the governor's office for consideration.

Victims and advocacy groups decrying domestic violence will understandably applaud the bill's passage.

On the flip side, though, it must be noted that due care needs to be taken to safeguard the constitutional rights of persons accused of domestic abuse and potentially subjected to monitoring restrictions. As we have noted in prior select posts, it is a sad fact that domestic abuse allegations are sometimes made in bad faith and with the intent to influence court rulings in divorce and child custody outcomes.

With domestic violence, resolute state action is often required, but it must be preceded by careful and dispassionate investigation guided by a zealous search for the truth.

Source: TWC News, "NC House approves program to monitor domestic abuse offenders using GPS," Elaina O'Connell, May 1, 2015

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