ATLANTA - Attorney General Thurbert Baker today joined Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor to announce the introduction of the Crimes Against Family Members Act of 1999. Taylor and Baker will work together to push the bill through the General Assembly. They first tried to pass such a bill while serving together as Floor Leaders for Governor Zell Miller. Taylor was Miller's Senate Floor Leader, and Baker was Miller's House Floor Leader.
The bill will allow the imposition of enhanced penalties for crimes of assault and battery if they are committed in a family violence context. Simple assault and simple battery committed in a family violence context will be raised to a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, which will allow the imposition of an increased fine and require a person incarcerated for the offense to serve more time in jail. If aggravated assault and aggravated battery are committed in a family violence context, the bill will allow the judge to impose enhanced penalties.
In addition, the bill contains a provision that will allow those who commit acts of domestic violence in the presence of children to be charged with cruelty to children in the second degree.
"By passing this bill, the General Assembly will send a strong message that we will not tolerate this type of crime in Georgia," Baker said. "This is not a private family matter, it is a public crime problem. We need to deal with it forcefully, and ensure that those who commit these acts receive sure and stiff punishment."