Vereb Introduces Victims' Rights Legislation
The local state representative unveiled legislation to changes the state’s Crime Victims Act, allowing victims a right to speak at parole hearings of prisoners.
State Representative Mike Vereb (R-150) unveiled legislation to change Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act yesterday, inspired by the high-profile murder of Ellen Gregory Robb, who was bludgeoned to death by her husband, Rafael, in 2006.
Vereb has worked closely with the Gregory family when Rafael Robb was set to be released from prison after serving only half of his ten-year maximum sentence.
The Gregory family was unable to gain a presence in front of the parole board to object the release without the help of Vereb, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, and other elected officials.
“It is so important that victims’ and their families’ voices be heard,” said Vereb. “In this particular case, the Gregory family did not initially have that right when self-confessed wife-killer Robb was up for parole and hadn’t completed his maximum sentence of 10 years.”
When the Gregory family was granted a meeting with the parole board just prior to the Jan. 28 parole date set for Robb, the board reversed its decision and refused to grant Robb parole.
Vereb’s new legislation, House Bill 492, will change the Crime Victims Act to allow a victim or victim representative to appear personally before the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to provide testimony regarding an inmate’s application for parole.
“My legislation will make it clear that the decision to appear and be heard by the board is up to the victims or representatives, not the board. And if they so choose, they can appear by any electronic means made available by the board, such as video conference, rather than by telephone,” said Vereb.
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