‘Leah’s Law’ could receive public hearingA bill that would require violent offenders to register like sex offenders could be slated for a public hearing next week in Madison.
By: WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO, SUPERIOR DAILY TELEGRAM, The Daily Telegram
A bill that would require violent offenders to register like sex offenders could be slated for a public hearing next week in Madison.
Dubbed “Leah’s Law,” it is tentatively scheduled for hearing before the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice.
The bill is named for Leah Gustafson, 29, of Superior. Two years ago, she opened her door to a neighbor only to be brutally killed in her own home.
What she didn’t know is that Jason Borelli, the neighbor convicted of her murder, was a repeat violent offender. Borelli used Gustafson’s own souvenir samurai sword to end her life.
The brutal killing prompted friends and family to take action, and legislators took notice of their efforts to create Leah’s Law.
State Rep. Frank Boyle, D-Summit, co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford.
Boyle said the proposed law could keep communities safe. He said in this instance, as far as law refers to the habitual violent offender, the registry would include the seriousness of the offenses. He said he thinks the community has a right to be notified, that community notification is intervention and it could potentially stop a repeat violent offender from offending again.
Boyle said now is the time — with the end of the session rapidly approaching — to set the wheels in motion and advance the proposal to the Assembly. He said if it can be passed on and then be messaged over to the Senate, they are almost forced to bring it up on the Senate floor. He says that’s where there will be the need for advocacy from the Democrats.
The hearing is tentatively set for Jan. 30, the same day Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lucci is expected to schedule a hearing to consider Borelli’s petition for a new trial.
Borelli petitioned Douglas County Circuit Court on Jan. 3 for a new trial, citing the failure of his defense attorney to adequately represent him at trial. In a two-part jury trial, Borelli was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and mentally competent.