Topeka, Kansas may decriminalize DV


Talk about losing major ground in the movement to end domestic violence.  Council discusses domestic battery prosecution | CJOnline.com. Excerpts:

The council is expected next week to consider the proposed changes, which would include repealing the part of the code that bans domestic battery.

The city attorney’s office says the repeal would force Taylor, who said Sept. 8 he would no longer prosecute misdemeanors committed in Topeka, including domestic battery, to start prosecuting that crime again.

Dombrowski told the council her mother always told her two wrongs don’t make a right. She said repealing the part of city ordinance banning domestic battery would be “the second wrong” after Taylor stopped prosecuting those crimes.

[…]

Mayor Bill Bunten responded that everyone on the council supports punishing those who commit domestic battery.

“The question is who prosecutes them, the municipal court or the district court, and who pays for it, the city or the county or a combination?” Bunten said.

It’s very convoluted.  I appreciated this article from feministing which tried to break down the situation over there in Kansas. Excerpt:

Here’s what happened: Last month, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office, facing a 10% budget cut, announced that the county would no longer be prosecuting misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases, at the county level. Finding those cases suddenly dumped on the city and lacking resources of their own, the Topeka City Council is now considering repealing the part of the city code that bans domestic battery. The thinking here is that the county won’t let domestic violence go unpunished in Topeka and so will be forced to step in and start prosecuting it again if the city won’t. Basically, it’s a big game of chicken–where the “chicken” is, I suppose, the chump who won’t allow domestic abusers to walk free?

Of course, if you’d somehow gotten the impression that domestic violence is not really all that much of a priority for the county (which stopped prosecuting the cases almost a month ago) or the city (which is seriously considering officially legalizing the crime), think again. On the contrary, everyone involved professes to believe, as the DA’s office said, “that domestic violence is a crime that should be taken seriously and charged.” It’s just that everyone wants someone else to pay for it

[…]

But while this clusterfuck is getting sorted out, domestic violence advocates in Topeka say it’s already putting vulnerable people at increased risk. Since the county stopped prosecuting the crimes on September 8th, it has turned back 30 domestic violence cases. Sixteen people have been arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery and then released from the county jail after charges weren’t filed. “Letting abusive partners out of jail with no consequences puts victims in incredibly dangerous positions,” said Becky Dickinson of the YWCA. “The abuser will often become more violent in an attempt to regain control.” The YMCA also said that some survivors associated with their Center for Safety and Empowerment were afraid for their safety if the dispute wasn’t resolved soon.

Scary situation.

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About dvamhawaii

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October. Here you can find news, articles, stats, updates on DVAM events in your area, and more!

Posted on October 5, 2011, in DV news and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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