Save money, don't prosecute domestic violence cases

October 10, 2011
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Officials in Topeka, Kan., are considering decriminalizing domestic violence in their city code. It’s not because they don’t think the crime is worth prosecuting, it’s because they need to save money. The reason they are considering this stems from the county government’s decision to transfer domestic violence crime enforcement to the city level.

In September, the Shawnee County district attorney office said it would no longer prosecute misdemeanors that happen within city limits, including domestic violence cases. The district attorney came to this decision after his office faced budget cuts. Apparently the city attorney’s office has far fewer resources than the district attorney’s office, and only one prosecutor has ever worked on domestic violence cases, with the last being 10 years ago.  

Now faced with a growing caseload due to the misdemeanor case transfer, the city officials debated whether to decriminalized domestic violence in order to save money. Repealing the code would force the DA’s office to start prosecuting that crime again. The offices of the district attorney and city are disputing who should prosecute these cases. The Topeka City Council meets Tuesday to discuss the measure.

This is terrible news for the victims of domestic violence in this area. No government entity wants to take their case. If the district attorney’s office refuses to file charges and the city attorney’s office doesn’t have the resources to do so, then the victims of domestic violence are not only physical victims at the hands of their partner or family member, but victims of inefficient and inadequate government. Those who have been arrested since the DA’s office made the decision have been released from jail after charges weren’t filed.

Did I mention that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? It seems as though Kansas is doing its part – and not it a good way – to bring attention to this issue.

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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