Follow-up to Topeka’s DV Mess

There’s been a lot of discussion following yesterday’s post about Topeka decriminalizing domestic battery, as well as some new information. The most important update would be the fact that the DA’s office will once again resume prosecuting domestic violence cases.

This doesn’t undo the damage already done, nor does it change the fact that both the city and the DA’s office endangered lives with their political games, but I’m relieved that the DA has made this choice.

Here are some of the other points that came up in various discussions yesterday, along with my thoughts.

Topeka didn’t decriminalize anything.

Domestic violence cases are very hard to prosecute, and even harder to win.

  • This is true. Does the fact that something is difficult now mean we shouldn’t do it?
  • Sending the message that you don’t take domestic violence seriously is going to make it a hell of a lot harder for victims to trust you and work with you.

The DA stopped prosecuting misdemeanors as a response to budget cuts which crippled his office. The city was just protecting itself from a sudden influx of cases it wasn’t prepared to handle.

  • This does explain the DA’s “demand” for $350,000 to begin prosecuting misdemeanors again, including domestic violence.
  • Interestingly enough, there’s apparently “an item in the Shawnee County budget … that doles out $200,000 for golf course irrigation.” Good to know where our priorities are.
  • So basically, victims of domestic violence became a political football being tossed back and forth between the city and the DA’s office, both of whom claimed to be unable to prosecute those cases.
  • I wonder if the city of Topeka sees the DA’s decision to go back to prosecuting these cases as a victory, and vindication of their strategy?

Why the hell is domestic battery only a misdemeanor anyway?

  • I’m guessing because it’s a crime that disproportionately affects women.
  • From a NY Daily News story about this issue, Claudine Dombrowski’s partner “once beat her in the head with a crowbar and sent her to the hospital with two broken wrists and 24 stitches in what was labeled a ‘misdemeanor’ domestic abuse case…”

Kansas sucks!

  • Admittedly, it’s been 20 years since I was in Kansas, but it didn’t strike me as sucking more or less than any other state.
  • Topeka isn’t the only place where politicians are playing dumbass games and losing their minds over budget issues.

I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but–

  • Don’t. Just don’t. Not here, not about this.
  • It’s one thing to try to look at both sides of an issue. It’s another to turn it into a game.