Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 1, 2014

Court dates

State rolls out notification system for crime victims

— Thanks to the expansion of a statewide notification system, crime victims will be sure to know about court dates involving their case.

The requirement for email notifications of court case hearings and delays became law in Maryland on July 1. The rollout of the program will take place in the months to come but eventually will be in place statewide.

Some crime victims had complained that they were not kept aware of court proceedings and hearings. Anne Arundel County became the first subdivision to begin sending out email notifications of court dates. The program proved successful enough that it is now being implemented throughout Maryland.

Another crime victims’ law that took effect July 1 requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to make available and expand programs to families of homicide victims.

Among supporters of legislation to implement the law is Roberta Roper, founder of the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center. Roper’s daughter, Stephanie Roper, was a Frostburg State University student who in 1982 was kidnapped, raped and killed while she was home in the Washington suburbs on college break.

The new law will make resources available to families of homicide victims, including counseling, legal help, mental health and advocacy services.

Sponsored by Del. Samuel Rosenberg, D-Baltimore City, legislation creating the law requires the governor's crime office to include an update on the program in its annual report to the Maryland General Assembly.

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