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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Measures filed to end judicial discretion for monitoring devices in some domestic violence cases, increase judges’ salaries

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced on Tuesday the filing of three legislative measures to eliminate the discretion of judges in some instances of the Domestic Violence Law, and to increase the salaries of judges.

Administration Bill 104 amends several articles of Law 54 of Aug. 15, 1989, as amended, and Law 99-2009, as amended, known as the Law to Create the Domestic Violence Surveillance, Protection and Prevention Program, to establish that the court will not have discretion in imposing electronic ankle bracelets in cases related to bail (awaiting trial) in cases of abuse, aggravated abuse, abuse through restriction of liberty and spousal sexual assault.

The bill also includes the most recent judicial order to the effect that appeal hearings -- in cases of domestic violence -- are scheduled for a date that will not exceed three working days and establishes the obligation that the Pretrial Service Program (PSAJ) clearly establish the exclusion zones in its report, which are the places to which the person whose freedom of movement is restricted due to being under electronic supervision cannot go.

Administration Bill 105 ,meanwhile, amends three articles of Law 54 of Aug. 15, 1989, which allow electronic filing as a supplementary method. The bill establishes that once one of the petitioned parties has been personally notified that there is an ex parte protection order against them and that a hearing has been scheduled or that a petition has been filed against them and a hearing has been scheduled to attend to it, an electronic certification of the management carried out affirmed by a sheriff or law enforcement agent will be sufficient proof of completion. Likewise, the electronic certification of completion will be admitted as sufficient proof that the personal notification established in the law against a requested party was duly completed. Likewise, it orders that once a judge determines to extend a protection order, notification by a sheriff or law enforcement agent using electronic means authorized by law will be sufficient, thus eliminating the obligation to carry out personal notification to the aggressor party.

Administration Bill 106 seeks to adjust the annual salaries of the judges of the General Court of Justice. The adjusted salaries would be effective retroactively to July 1, 2023 and are funded by funds appropriated in Joint Resolution 39-2023 of the current Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Budget.

In the case of the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the proposed salary would be $154,556, that of the associate justices of the Supreme Court would be $144,480, and that of the judges in the Court of Appeals would be $130,579. Meanwhile, the salary of the senior judges of the Court of First Instance would be $118,133, and that of the municipal judges of the Court of First Instance would be $91,974.

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