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Monday, December 19, 2005

Congress passes domestic violence legislation in the name of Crystal Judson Brame

The New Takhoman
Tacoma's Online News Resource
December 19, 2005
Volume 5, Number 247
(Reprinted here with permission)

Christmas came early this year for the family of Crystal Judson and the nation on Saturday. The day of giving came early in the form of an act of congress that appropriated $187.3 million in funding that will soon be added to Title I of the Violence Against Women Act in the Special Training Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) grant program for fiscal year 2006.

“This is the best Christmas present I have ever received”, said the mother of Crystal Judson/Brame who along with her husband Lane has lobbied for federal domestic violence legislation ever since their daughter was murdered in April 2003 by her husband former Tacoma Police Chief David Allen Brame.

The legislation, which was introduced by Jay Inslee, (D-Bainbridge Island) and supported by the Washington State delegation, was passed by the Senate on Friday and the House on Saturday. The federal act was the culmination of a death bed promise made by Lane Judson to his daughter Crystal.

“Not only will this legislation keep her (Crystal’s) memory alive (but) if we can save one life out of this it’s worth it”, Judson was quoted as saying on a local television news broadcast Saturday night.

The landmark legislation is designed to do the following:

To provide funding to law enforcement agencies, nonprofit nongovernmental victim services providers, and State, tribal, territorial, and local governments, (which funding stream shall be known as the Crystal Judson Brame Domestic Violence Protocol Program) to promote-

"(A) the development and implementation of training for local victim domestic violence service providers, and to fund victim services personnel, to be known as 'Crystal Judson Brame Victim Advocates,' to provide supportive services and advocacy for victims of domestic violence committed by law enforcement personnel;

"(B) the implementation of protocols within law enforcement agencies to ensure consistent and effective responses to the commission of domestic violence by personnel within such agencies (such as the model policy promulgates by the International Association of Chiefs of Police ('Domestic Violence by Police Officers: A Policy of the LACP, Police Response to Violence Against Women Project' July 2003));

"(C) the development of such protocols in collaboration with State, tribal, territorial and local victim service providers and domestic violence coalitions.

Any law enforcement, State, tribal, territorial, or local government agency receiving funding under the Crystal Brame Judson Domestic Violence Protocol Program under paragraph (14) shall on an annual basis, receive additional training on the topic of victims of domestic violence committed by law enforcement personnel from domestic violence and sexual assault nonprofit organizations and, after a period of 2 years, provide a report of the adopted protocol to the Department of Justice, including a summary of progress in implementing such protocol.".

Lane Judson, a 70 year old former Boeing executive and veteran Navy Chief, has made it very clear that his life is now not only devoted to his daughter’s children, Haley and David Jr. but to the cause of the reduction of domestic violence in the United States.

City of Tacoma Council members who voted in September to settle a wrongful death suit brought by Crystal’s children for $12 million were not available for comment.


Jay Inslee the HB 3402’s sponsor has posted the following information on his website at http://www.house.gov/inslee/issues/families/brame_domestic_violence.html

The tragic case of Crystal Judson Brame, a Tacoma woman murdered by her police chief husband in April 2003, was the impetus behind a ground-breaking domestic violence grant program that was approved by the Senate. It’s the first time the federal government specifically has addressed the sensitive issue of domestic violence committed by law-enforcement officials.

Penned by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and supported by other members of Washington state’s congressional delegation, the program named after Brame provides federal grants for law enforcement agencies to implement procedures for dealing with domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other serious crimes committed by their employees and helping victims of such offenses. Recipients would work in collaboration with local government and domestic violence advocacy groups to establish their procedures.

“Mr. Judson was right – it is difficult to move the slow machine of the lawmaking process,” said Inslee, who has championed the issue since Lane Judson, Brame’s father, contacted members of Congress about raising awareness of his daughter’s case among law enforcement agencies nationwide. “This program is a testament to persistence, hard work and a commitment to helping prevent cases like Crystal’s from happening again.”

After learning a grant program in his daughter’s name was approved, Judson remarked, "Federal legislation such as this can only be viewed as a positive approach to encourage and motivate law enforcement agencies nationwide to address domestic violence.

“In the state of Washington, law enforcement agencies already have this type of policy implemented under State Bill 6161. I hope that every state nationwide utilizes this opportunity to become the best of the best.”

A range of law enforcement and domestic violence advocacy groups, including the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, have been supportive of efforts by Inslee, along with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, U.S. Reps. Norm Dicks, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, to address complexities of cases like Brame’s.

"The Crystal Judson Brame Domestic Violence Protocol Program will create a coordinated response to ensure victims of domestic violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers are able to access services and perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes," said Lynn Rosenthal, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

It will be included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), as a new Special Training Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) grant. These federal grants are funded under VAWA to help criminal justice agencies better respond to violent crimes against women. Annual funding for all STOP grants currently is $187.3 million.

“Law-enforcement agencies in Washington state already are responding to Crystal’s tragedy, and I hope they can use these new grants to continue to lead the nation on the issue,” added Inslee.

Language establishing the Brame grant program was included in a bill that continues VAWA, which originally was passed in 1994 and extended in 2000. It requires this so-called reauthorization because it is set to expire about every five years. The House likely will take up an identical VAWA reauthorization bill before Congress adjourns for the year. After approval in that chamber, the bill only will need the president’s signature to become law.

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