‘Tierne’s Law’ Increases Protection for Domestic Violence Victims

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania lawmakers have taken a step in increasing protections for victims of domestic violence.

Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law which aims to strengthen bail requirements in domestic violence cases.

The bill is called Tierne's Law after a woman from the Pittsburgh area who was killed by her estranged husband after he was released on bail.

Tierne Ewing's family pushed the state to set tougher bail restrictions for domestic violence offenders.

In 2016, Tierne Ewings estranged husband was arrested for holding her captive for nearly two weeks. He made bail and later killed Tierne and then himself.

After that, Tierne's family pushed for stronger bail laws in Pennsylvania. Now, Tierne's Law allows judges to set higher bail amounts for defendants accused of domestic abuse.

It lets county courts decide if a defendant poses a threat and helps to keep those offenders behind bars.

"They get out of jail much too easily. They need to be kept in there so they can't get out and go right back to what they were doing again," said Louann Wilkie of Buckhorn.

People Newswatch 16 spoke with are happy the bill was signed. Ashley Kester of Danville is a domestic abuse survivor.

"Once they get out, you're like, 'OK, how long is it before they're going to come after me?' In the same sense that's going to make it, their vendetta against you is going to be even worse now, and it gets you even more scared."

Tierne's Law also adds strangulation to the list of reasons police do not need a warrant to arrest a family member.

The executive director of the Women's Center in Bloomsburg tells Newswatch 16:

"We are hopeful this will make victims safer across the state. This is a positive step in the right direction."

Some people Newswatch 16 spoke with hope the state keeps cracking down on domestic violence offenders.

"They need to be tougher with the PFAs. They really need to have a handle on them, and I don't think they do a good job on watching over people who have them," said Jim Dragano of Danville.

Details on the tougher bail conditions are still being worked out.

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