Gov. Hickenlooper Signs Extension of “Vonnie’s Law”
Yesterday, March 20 Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB 15-1060 which requires that defendants in sexual assault cases appear before a judge prior to their release from jail on bond. The new law also requires defendants to acknowledge the terms of the protection order by signing it in the presence of a judge.
HB 15-1060 extends the protections for victims contained in “Vonnie’s Law” – named in honor of stalking victim Vonnie Flores of Leadville, CO who was murdered in 2010 by a neighbor after he was arrested for stalking. Her attacker posted bond and was released from jail without first seeing a judge. The co-sponsors of HB-1060 are Rep. Millie Hamner (D) Dillon and Sen. John Cooke (R) Greeley.
“We applaud the governor and state legislators for providing another layer of protection for victims of sexual assault,” said Bruce Brown, District Attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Leadville and Lake County.
“This law substantially improves public safety and carries a small cost,” Brown added. “Sex offenders present special risks to children and are prone to re-offending. Standard bond conditions are inadequate to protect citizens against these risks so requiring that defendants face a judge to acknowledge the protection order against them is an important tool with which we can protect victims,” Brown concluded.
“It keeps a dangerous person from perhaps bonding out and going right back to the same situation in the same home, sometimes, where the incident took place,” said State Representative Millie Hamner.