Louisa’s Law

The gavel: a symbol of judgment and rule of law. It should not be consistent with Don’t tell your mother. But it is when it stands for judicial abuse. What happened to good judgment in America? Or are we left only with scandal?
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We all go about filling our days with the things that we have assigned priority in our lives. The more compassionate among us may stop occasionally to lift a silent prayer to the heavens on behalf of someone who has touched their heart. But for the most part, we are a self-absorbed people – not heartless, but naturally caring more about the things in our personal lives more than the things in the lives of others.

On rare occasions that can change. You may hear a story on the news that touches your heart, or perhaps there is a cause that speaks to your spirit and drives you beyond self-interest to the greater good.

Introducing Louisa’s mother

BettyJean Kling is a person that touched my life in such a way. She holds a M.S, M. Ed, is the Founder of The Majority United, and Founder of W.O.M.E.N. (Women Organized, Mobilized, and Empowered Nationwide). She also hosts a radio show, Free Me Now,and hosts a website, Free Us Now. But her accomplishments and activism are not what caught my attention. To be honest, I don’t quite know how she came across my path. These days I receive so many emails from so many sources that I can barely keep track of who sends what. She has a FaceBook page titled “The FABULOUS Women of Lodi.” Perhaps that is how we crossed paths, but the connection is totally inconsequential. What is consequential is BettyJean’s story.

Tragedy—and travesty

Other than what I listed above, I don’t know much about BettyJean, except that she is from my hometown of Lodi, and that she has/had two daughters: Louisa Richardson Rodas and Denise Richardson.

BettyJean’s daughter, Denise, was married to George Hartwig. George Hartwig was a drug abuser who had viciously bludgeoned his dying wife, Denise, in the head with a hammer for her pain medication. George was a repeat offender who had been set free without bail, without a restraining order, and without treatment.

BettyJean’s family took turns to care for Denise. On December 15, 2008, it was Louisa’s turn to care for her dying sister. On the morning of December 15th, George Hartwig had an argument with BettyJean and decided to take a shot gun to the house to kill her. Instead, he met up with Louisa and blew the right side of her head off. Louisa is serving a lifetime sentence in a nursing home where she is unable to sit or stand, unable to communicate, unable to eat or drink, and unable to raise her children or recognize them. George Hartwig has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Today we are concerned about how convicts are treated while incarcerated. We are concerned about the rights of animals. We are even concerned about how we interrogate terrorists. When will we be concerned about the rights of millions of women who are being killed, abused, and raped by their domestic partners every year? Police may be held accountable for how they conduct an arrest and if they properly read Miranda Rights in the process, but perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held accountable for their despicable acts – more often than not, barely receiving a slap on the hands for their violence. In many cases, school yard bullies are held to higher standards. If schools enforce zero violence standards against bullies, shouldn’t at least that measure be applied to perpetrators of domestic violence?

Louisa’s Law

The giant gavel of Columbus. Metaphor for Louisa's Law?

The giant gavel at the Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus

BettyJean Kling believes this is unacceptable. She is proposing Louisa’s Law that seeks to create specific sentences for perpetrators of domestic violence. Louisa’s Law will make domestic violence a serious offense, and make it safer for women to testify against their abusers. Her proposal will:

  1. Enter an automatic and enforceable order of protection with a minimum term of ten years;
  2. Require the violator must enter an approved batter/anger management program with monitoring;
  3. Require violators who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the violation, or who have any drug-related offenses within three years of the incident, to enter a rehabilitation program and/or be tested periodically for continued drug or alcohol abuse;
  4. Monitor the violator via GPS when he gains release from custody, and notify the victim.
  5. Implement full cash bail and full cash surety bonding with domestic violence screening as part of the bonding process. Due to the high documented incidence of risk of death to the victim and victim’s family members upon release, repeat offenders or violators of restraining orders should not be given the opportunity for bail but should remain incarcerated pending trial.
  6. Require compliance conferences before judges for accountability.
  7. Require judges to consider a variety of aggravating factors to ensure the safety and punishment consistent with the risks for repeat violence, death, and permanent disability associated with violence against women.
  8. Remove suspended sentences as an option.
  9. To combat repeated violence, establish a nationwide Domestic Violence Registry for use by law enforcement and the public to promote instant access to existing orders of protection and residence of convicted abusers.

You may or may not agree with all the things BettyJean proposes. But hopefully you will join her mission to rectify the injustice that victims of domestic violence and their families endure. Please do all you can to bring this before the public eye, and to the attention of your legislator. In a civilized society, we must all stand together against such injustices or we bear the guilt of the abusers squarely on our backs.

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

5 Responses to Louisa’s Law

  1. Terry A. Hurlbut says:

    I propose something simpler: anyone who, in a willful act of violence, incapacitates someone should suffer incarceration for the length of time of the incapacity of his victim. If the victim will never recover, that means L-WOPP.

  2. Will the same laws be inforced when a woman strikes a man?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      If you look closely at the Louisa’s Law proposal, it makes no gender distinctions. So if any woman could ever be powerful enough to do that kind of damage, I would imagine that she would be just as liable as would a male offender.

      But I must remind you that stories of women abusing men are more the stuff of cheap television drama than of real-life police blotters and court dockets. On the rare occasion when a woman does a thing like this, it gets written up big-time. When a man does it, I can sum up the response in two words: “Ho” and “Hum.”

      • Jonathan Snow says:

        “If you look closely at the Louisa’s Law proposal, it makes no gender distinctions.”

        Except in number 7.

  3. Andra says:

    Interesting article and recommendations. A national domestic violence registry already exists. It’s The National Domestic Violence Registry which is a non-profit organization. The website is http://www.domesticviolencedatabase.org. They have several endorsements including one from Actress Ashley Judd.

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