One of the news law mandates that those accused of murder, drug trafficking, weapon sales and domestic violence must wear ankle monitoring bracelets and that defendants absorb the daily cost of US$9 themselves.
A second law will make it much more difficult for defendants to plead not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect. How this will be implemented in the face of massive US case law has not been clarified.
A third law requires anyone who buys a prepaid cellphone to provide their personal information. In this respect, Governor Fortuno said such phones are preferred by criminals because they permit criminals to remain anonymous while engaging in felonious activity.
A fourth law will create a judicial office that will compensate witnesses and crime victims and offer them services such as counseling. This is already in place the majority of US states.
COMMENT: No doubt, some of these new laws may face court challenges, yet Governor Fortuno is to be commended for his initiatives, at a time when violent crime has rendered the island impotent to effectively reduce crime.
Last year the island of 4 million, reported 1,117 killings in 2011.
Unfortunately, the Governor faces a crying need for a comprehensive, upside-down shakeup in the Puerto Rico Police Force (PRPF), which has been plagued for years with gross misconduct, human rights violations, a dysfunctional internal affairs unit, criminal offenses by senior officers and a total lack of respect by most citizens. Until this occurs, combating crime will prove to be mission impossible.
Please see my December 22, 2011, posting entitled, "Former Police Chief in San Juan Denied Bail, Amidst 22 Charges of Child Pornography," for just one example to support my statement above.