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Opponents Voice Concerns Over Bipartisan Domestic Violence Bill

photo of ex-Judge Lance Mason
Disgraced Judge Lance Mason pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his wife.

Former state lawmaker and Cuyahoga County judge Lance Mason is facing a life sentence next month after pleading guilty Tuesday to the fatal stabbing of his ex-wife Aisha Fraser in November.

Her murder prompted a bipartisan bill that seeks to better protect victims of domestic violence. But some key parts of the bill have earned it high-profile opposition. 

Aisha’s Law would require risk screenings in domestic violence incidents and protective orders available 24/7. It would ban previously convicted offenders from pleading down, and would add strangulation to the offense of domestic violence. But Niki Clum with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office said it would also create exceptions for out of court statements or hearsay as evidence.

“Anytime somebody had ever been accused – not just convicted, but accused – of domestic violence, that would be admissible. And that really goes against a fundamental idea of our criminal justice system.”

The Public Defender and the ACLU also oppose the bill because it expands the death penalty to aggravated murder cases where the accused has a prior domestic violence conviction.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.