La. lawmakers make a new addition to the violent crimes list

Violent crime expansion law
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There’s a new law in Louisiana that closes a loophole that left some victims of violent crime vulnerable.

HB583 adds the crime of false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon to the list of crimes of violence.

This could mean more jail time for anyone convicted of holding someone against their will with a weapon. One of the driving forces of the change is a woman who was once held captive at knifepoint.

“This is something that I could not let pass by one moment longer for the next victim in line that this type of crime happens to,” said Laura Beauford.

It was July 2015 when she says a man in Ascension Parish held her against her will.

He was eventually convicted of false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon, but at the time that charge was not considered a violent crime under the law. Beauford says because of that loophole her attacker managed to get out of prison time on a plea deal. Then she says he went on to do the same thing to another woman.

But this new state law puts false imprisonment while armed with a weapon in the same category as other violent crimes like battery, kidnapping, and robbery.

“Domestic violence is a crime of control, in particular now when you’re talking about false imprisonment with a weapon, how much control can you get,” said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

District Attorney Hillar Moore hopes this will help address a growing problem that we’re seeing nationally and here at home.

He says we’ve had 22 domestic-violence-related homicides in 2021, and we’re only at the halfway mark.

“We hope this tightens up some of that loophole and addresses the problem that we see,” said Moore.

Beauford says her testimony in front of state lawmakers was on behalf of all the people who didn’t have the voice to do so.

“Today, I’m speaking out not only for my own story, but I’m speaking out for all victims that can’t speak out for themselves, and I hope HB583 will help every survivor and victim going forward,” said Beauford.

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