County DA in Kansas Decides to Stop Prosecuting Domestic Violence

Photo of Chad TaylorIn 2009, Shawnee County District Attorney Chadwick Taylor signed a protocol with the City of Topeka, sheriff’s office, and the Third Judicial District Court Services “for responding to and prosecuting domestic violence cases“.

Taylor agreed that his office would “aggressively prosecute domestic violence,” “review domestic violence cases as first priority” and “charge the cases that meet sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.”

In spite of this agreement, DA Taylor’s office announced on September 8th that they would no longer prosecute misdemeanors in the city of Topeka, including domestic violence cases. This announcement seems to be a reaction to a 10% budget cut for his office. He has already rejected thirty domestic violence cases and released three offenders.

To teach Taylor a lesson, the Topeka city council has a brilliant idea: repeal the city’s ban on domestic violence, i.e. the ordinance that makes it a crime!

From the Topeka Capitol-Journal:

The convoluted thinking by some council members is that if the city has no law against domestic battery, Taylor will have to take the cases and prosecute them in Shawnee County District Court.

Wow. Five city council members voted for this repeal: John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz, Chad Manspeaker, Bob Archer and Andrew Gray.

I am actually a prison abolitionist, but when decriminalizing, one must start with behaviors, currently considered crimes, that either hurt no one or only hurt oneself. We do not currently have any societal mechanisms in place to hold people accountable for harm to others, other than the criminal justice system, so starting decriminalization with crimes that ACTUALLY HURT ANOTHER PERSON is simply an expression of contempt for the survivors/victims of such crimes.

Victim’s advocate Claudine Dombowski has a few words about this situation:

“It’s appalling, it’s disgusting.”…

Dombrowski says that she was the victim in a “misdemeanor” domestic abuse case 16 years ago – a crowbar strike to the head left her with 24 stitches and two broken wrists. Now, she worries that nothing is being done to protect victims.

“They need to invest in headstones, because these women are going to end up in cemeteries,” said Dombrowski… “The city of Topeka just said domestic violence is legal and you can beat your wife.”

Shawnee County DA Chad Taylor can be reached at:
785-233-8200 x4330
Fax: 785-291-4909
200 SE 7th Street, Room 21
Topeka, KS, 66603

Topeka City Council Members can be reached at:
Fax: 785-368-3958
215 SE 7th, Room 255
Topeka, KS 66603-3914

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