Domestic violence survivor says Kentucky bill would help prevent - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Domestic violence survivor says Kentucky bill would help prevent abuse by the legal system

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- First she was battered by her husband. Then she was abused by a state law.

In 2016, Jeanette McCue's then-husband beat, and almost killed her.

"He pulled a gun on me. I begged for my life. In the process of me begging, the gun went off," McCue told WDRB News.

The shot missed.

Michael McCue was convicted of abuse, and sent to prison. But when Jeanette took steps to divorce him, she was shocked at what she learned.

"I was informed that, because he was incarcerated, I had to cover his attorney fees," she said.

By state law, since her husband was behind bars, in order to divorce him, McCue was required to pay her abuser's legal fees.

"I have to pay for him. So, I actually pay for my own beating," she said.

McCue and her attorney, Cassie Chambers of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, were determined to change that law. They took the fight to the state Capitol and Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville.)

"That's not justice. This is an injustice," said McGarvey. "She used her voice to bring it to light, and we're listening."

McGarvey filed SB 68, which would require the state, not the spouse, to pay the abuser's legal fees in a divorce proceeding, when the abuser is in prison.

To view the full text of SB 68, CLICK HERE.

On Thursday, McCue and Chambers told her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee. When she was done, every single lawmaker voted to approve the bill.

"It was a good feeling. At least someone is hearing it. They know. They realize that it's a crazy law," said McCue.

The bill has bipartisan support, and a vote is expected in the full Senate sometime next week.

"This points out the power of each individual's voice, and their ability to use that voice to make change," said McGarvey.

But, ironically, it will not help Jeanette McCue. She paid her husband's legal fee, and divorced him.

"I'm doing this so someone else can, hopefully, not be smacked in the face a second time," she said.

Michael McCue received a 10 year sentence, but is up for parole in July.

Jeanette hopes her story not only changes the law, but also helps keep him behind bars.

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