Legalizing Domestic Violence

ETA: The vote was held last night. Topeka, Kansas has decriminalized domestic violence.

“Domestic violence still remains a crime under state law which is why the move will now force the DA to prosecute these smaller cases despite budget claims. At the meeting, advocates of victims of domestic violence were quick to point out that already several individuals arrested on domestic violence calls had been released without charges because no new cases are being accepted…”


Topeka, Kansas has taken a rather unusual approach to trying to deal with budget woes. According to the Topeka Capital Journal, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor has simply stopped prosecuting cases of domestic battery in Topeka. Now the city council is considering changes to the Uniform Public Offense Code developed by the League of Kansas Municipalities, “changes which would include repealing the part of the code that bans domestic battery.”

Mayor Bill Bunten says the city does take domestic violence seriously. From the International Business Times, “He said the question is not whether domestic violence offenders should be prosecuted, but who — the city or the county — should pay for it, adding that anyone who thinks domestic battery will go unpunished in Topeka is ‘dead wrong.'”

Of course, that same article also points out that, “Shawnee County has already turned back 30 domestic violence cases since it stopped prosecuting the crime on Sept. 8. Moreover, 16 people have been arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery charges and then released from county jail after charges were not filed.”

To review:

  1. We take domestic violence very seriously.
  2. So seriously that we’ve stopped prosecuting it.
  3. So seriously that we’re trying to legalize it.

Apparently D.A. Taylor has offered to review all domestic violence cases … in exchange for a one-time payment of $350,000 from the city.

Am I reading that correctly? Are you essentially holding domestic violence victims hostage as part of your budget negotiating strategy?

In addition to being despicable, this doesn’t even make financial sense. The CDC estimates that violence by an intimate partner costs this country more than 5.8 billion dollars annually.

Topeka, Kansas has a population of around 122,000 people, roughly .04% of the United States’ 300,000,000 people. So assuming I’m running these numbers right, Topeka’s share of that 5.8 billion dollars comes out to just over $2.3 million.

To the folks behind this mess, congratulations! You not only fail as decent human beings, you also suck at math.