State lawmakers are taking another look at a bill that could allow judges to dismiss a protective order if the victim engages in behavior meant to encourage violation of the order.

In the last legislative session, Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, introduced SB154. This bill made it a class A misdemeanor to ask the court for a protection order against another person and then knowingly incite or encourage that person to violate the order issued.

While lawmakers agreed changes need to be made, they do not believe it is necessary to make such harassment a criminal offense.

McCoy revised the bill and presented a draft to the Interim Judicial Committee for their consideration Wednesday. Instead of making this offense a crime, this bill simply gives the courts the option of rescinding the protective order based upon the actions of the petitioner.

The bill also requires that the person seeking protection must be notified that the protective order can be dismissed at any time if they encourage violation.

Rep. Kay. L. McIff, R-Richfield, suggested the courts be given the option to either amend or dismiss an order, saying that option offers greater flexibility.

"Rigidity is the enemy of justice," he said.

Lawmakers will continue to work on the details of this bill but no formal action will be taken until early 2009.


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