A huge step for victims’ rights as a new law in PA will let victims of crimes appear before the parole board, before it decides to let an offender free.
House Bill 492 was signed by Governor Corbett Tuesday. Families at the signing ceremony say they’ve been waiting a long time for this.
“Now I get the chance to be Bobby’s voice, this is a huge step for victims,” cited Susan Hooper. Susan took the podium to talk about her brother, Bobby, slowly poisoned to death by his wife so she could collect the insurance money.
“With the signing of this bill I can go before the parole board and I can really tell them the truth about who bobby really was,” Susan explained.
Stories like Susan’s are unfortunately common in the Commonwealth.
“It was described as the most brutal killing in Montgomery County in 50 years,” stated Rep. Mike Vereb.
That story of Ellen Gregory Robb caught Representative Mike Vereb’s attention. She was murdered by her husband Rafael Robb.
He was sentenced to serve five-to-ten years in prison, set to be released this past January, until Ellen’s family and Representative Vereb pushed the parole board to reverse it’s decision.
Before this new law in Pennsylvania, victims and victims’ families could only submit written testimony, now they can talk to the parole board in person
“This bill gives victims the respect they deserve, it levels the playing field,” Rep. Vereb added. “At the same time making their voices count.”
“I don’t want to call this a culmination, but it is a mountaintop when it comes to victims when we recognize them after the fact,” stated Governor Corbett.
In his comments, the Governor said he became a lawyer 37 years ago and since then the system has come a long way in recognizing victims.
The new law goes into effect on September 1.