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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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