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Government & Politics

Opponents Voice Concerns Over Bipartisan Domestic Violence Bill

photo of ex-Judge Lance Mason
CUYAHOGA COUNTY
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.