Friday, October 7, 2011

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Domestic abuse cases ignored in Topeka as city & county fight over who should handle prosecution

Topeka, Kanas might decriminalize domestic violence to save cash and avoid trying cases.
Half-baked plan to stash pot in cookie shipment
Topeka, Kansas is going soft on wife beaters.

A 10 percent budget cut has forced local prosecutors to pull back on prosecuting misdemeanor cases - including domestic violence charges, Fox affiliate WDAF-TV reported.

In response, the cash-strapped city is considering repealing its anti-domestic violence law, the station reported, hoping it will persuade the Shawnee County District Attorney's office to reverse their decision.

As the city and DA's office try to hash out who's responsible for prosecuting such cases, at least three accused domestic violence offenders have slipped between the cracks, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

While that doesn't mean the men won't face charges down the line, interim city manager Dan Stanley told the publication, it does send potentially dangerous criminals home for the time being.

"The loser in that kind of scenario are the victims and the families," Stanley said at a news conference Wednesday.

More than 30 other misdemeanor cases have already been dropped by the DA's office since the September 8 announcement.

Claudine Dombrowski, whose 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, is among residents fighting the city's decision.

"They need to invest in headstones, because these women are going to end up in cemeteries," she said in an interview with Fox News. "The city of Topeka just said domestic violence is legal and you can beat your wife."

"I'm terrified for these women."

The city council will vote next Tuesday on the repeal of its domestic violence ordinance.

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