RALLY CALLS FOR BETTER HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAWS

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal operation in the world. Pennsylvania is one of only two states lacking a sex trafficking statute.

A group of Senators and advocates met in the Capitol Tuesday morning to show their support for a bill attempting to change both of those facts.

Senate Bill 75, introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), aims to provide a definition of human trafficking and prohibit it in Pennsylvania while also giving power to prosecute the perpetrator of human trafficking. The bill also provides training to respond to human and sex trafficking, details a coordinated response plan, and provides for victim services and protection.

“We have to stop treating victims as criminals,” said Sen. Greenleaf. “That’s what’s happening right now.”

Showing bipartisan support for the bill, Senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) agreed with Sen. Greenleaf.

“This is nothing short of human slavery,” opined Sen. Leach. He said Senate Bill 75 would make Pennsylvania one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to human trafficking enforcement.

Sen. Dinniman stated the impetus to move the bill should come from Pennsylvania’s Quaker founding, a group that he said was vehemently anti-slavery. “We and you are part of a tradition in this Commonwealth, that every man and woman is of value,” Sen. Dinniman said.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

COMMITTEE EXAMINES WAYS TO PROVIDE QUALITY INDIGENT DEFENSE

“You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

That portion of the reading of an arrestee’s Miranda rights has worked its way into the normal lexicon of law enforcement, legal professionals, and watchers of criminal investigation television programs.

The landmark 1963 US Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright established the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and due process requires that those who cannot afford a defense attorney in felony cases must be provided one at the expense of the state. That requirement was later expanded to include any case in which one’s liberty may be deprived. One’s right to counsel in such cases has also been recognized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in case law and in its rulemaking capacity.

What the right does not detail, however, is how well indigent defense counsel (also known as public defenders) should be trained or how public defender offices should be funded. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not provide funding to counties to run public defender offices.

Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee examined the issue in conjunction with Senate Bill 979, which would provide funding for a training center those involved in indigent criminal defense.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views
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