‘Kathy's Law' Would Strengthen Restraining Orders

Law like this one would have saved woman's life, mother says

A bill that would place GPS tracking systems on domestic violence offenders made its way through a state Assembly committee on Tuesday, our media partners the North County Times reported.

The bill, named after slain Carlsbad woman Kathy Scharbarth, is intended to strengthen the protections

Scharbarth went missing on Thanksgiving Day last year. Detectives found her body the next day and determined she was strangled to death. Her ex-boyfriend, Michael Robles, was a suspect in the killing.

Scharbarth lived in fear of Robles and filed a restraining order against him days before her death. She wrote in a temporary restraining order she received on November 17 that Robles’s abusive behavior dated back to 2008. She described a disturbing incident the day before in which he stalked and confronted her.

“[Robles] yelled and acted hostile but eventually left when I threatened to call police,” she wrote in her November 16 report.

Police reported that Robles had violated a restraining order against him the night before her disappearance after trying to make contact with Scharbarth at her home in Carlsbad in the 3100 block of Via Puerta, east of Melrose Drive.

In a testimony before lawmakers last week, Scharbarth's mother Ginny said that if Robles had been forced to wear a GPS tracker, police would have prevented Robles from stalking her outside her home and strangling her, as police said he did, the North County Times reported.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) was rejected by the assembly's Public Safety Committee last week due to concerns that it would be too expensive. The bill was modified to require the suspect to pay for the GPS device, and approved Tuesday by the committee.

Under the provisions of the bill, the judge could also order people on probation for domestic violence-related charges to wear the tracking devices. They could also extend the order for additional years if necessary, the NCT reported.

Robles killed himself on March 3.

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