Gov. Wolf signs “Tierne’s Law,” adding extra protection for domestic violence victims

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Giving judges a guide to set bail for people accused of domestic violence. Governor Tom Wolf signs "Tierne's Law." Tierne Ewing was a Washington County woman who filed a protection from abuse order against her husband. He made bail, abducted Tierne and then shot her.

"We seem to be hearing cases over and over about people who kill their girlfriends or their spouses in a domestic violence case," said Senator Camera Bartolotta, sponsor of SB449, also known as Tierne's Law. "We have to do better we have to protect these victims much better than we are."

Tierne's Law will protect victims of domestic violence by clarifying an existing law that allows judges to use risk assessment tools when setting bail in domestic violence cases. Supporters of the law say it will help give judges more information about an offender when making bail decisions.

"Here are the times this person has offended, Here are the PFA's that this person has had, or the opposite," said Jennifer Storm, victim advocate of Pennsylvania. "This person has no record, there have been no PFA's filed and then that judge can make a fully informed decision."

Sen. Bartolotta is thankful the bill was finally signed into law. She says while Ewing is no longer here, she will live on forever. As every time there is a domestic violence case in front of a judge in Pennsylvania, Tierne's Law could help save the victim's life.

"We don't want this victim to be another Tierne Ewing," said Sen. Bartolotta. "So her name will live on but this time as an angel for those other people suffering from domestic violence and abuse."

Tierne's Law was introduced in the Senate in February 2017 and was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate in March.