HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today approved legislation authored by Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery) that would require a victim of a crime of violence to be notified of any proceeding in which conditions for bail for a defendant can be modified.
“In many cases, victims of violent crimes may have relevant and important information to present to the court to assist in making an appropriate bail determination,” said Pennycuick. “My bill would simply ensure that victims are notified of when a bail modification might be made so they can have a voice.”
House Bill 2039
would require an arresting officer to provide the contact information of the victim to the magisterial district court conducting a preliminary arraignment to ensure the victim has notice of any proceedings that might change the conditions of bail.
The bill would apply to personal injury crimes, crimes of violence, the sexual abuse of children and the sexual exploitation of children.
“The idea for this bill was brought to me by a local constituent. She informed me of a situation in which a man was arrested on child pornography charges, and on his computer were photos of a 9-year-old child who lives next door to him,” said Pennycuick. “Bail for the man was set without any notification to the parents of that child and the man is now back home living next door to the child he victimized.
“If the parents of that child knew of the neighbor’s bail hearing they could have made a statement and given further information about the traumas and dangers of the neighbor living in such close proximity, which may have changed the conditions of his bail,” concluded Pennycuick.
House Bill 2039 was passed in the House by a vote of 139-60. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Tracy Pennycuick
147th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives