New Arizona Domestic Abuse Law on the Books Today

With all the abortion and gun talk, local media has overlooked some of the other laws going on the books today, one of which extends domestic abuse rights to unmarried people.

Before today, domestic-abuse laws only applied to married couples, people that have a child together, and people related by blood.

It made sense for awhile. Who can drive you to the brink of insanity better than your own family?

The new law, or "Katy's Law," as it's called, is designed to combat domestic violence between non-married couples.

The law is in response to the murder of 17-year-old Kaitlyn Sudberry, in January, 2008.

Sudberry was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, then 17-year-old Daniel Byrd, as she walked home from school near 36th Avenue and Cactus in Phoenix. Byrd then shot himself.

Sudberry had broken up with Byrd a few weeks earlier, and the jealous boyfriend spent the next few weeks harassing her at school and telling the girl he was going to kill her.

When Sudberry's mother, Bobbi, tried to file for an order of protection, she was denied because the couple was not married.

After the girl was murdered, her mother called state representatives and set out to make sure what happened to her daughter didn't happen again.

Until today, the most aggressive order a non-married person could pursue to keep an unwanted person away was to file for an injunction for harassment, which is essentially just a firm warning from a judge.

As of today, people in an abusive relationship are awarded the same rights as a married couple and can apply for an order of protection, which if violated can land the harasser in the clink.

Hmm, if we no longer have to be related to someone to have him legally barred from being anywhere near us, what's to stop us from filing for an order of protection against a certain sheriff and his henchmen?

If nothing else, it'd be worth watching authorities sort through the paperwork.

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James King
Contact: James King