Here is an excellent example of why we will be RISING February 14, 2013.
Topeka Kansas Has Decriminalized Domestic Violence
Erik Kain, Contributor, FORBES
When I wrote about the Topeka, Kansas city council’s move to decriminalize domestic violence in the city I assumed that public outcry and backlash would drive the law into the rocks. Surely once the city council had been barraged with angry phone calls, protests, and bad press they would back off and consider less extreme measures to tighten up the city budget.
It’s no longer illegal to abuse a spouse if you’re in Topeka, Kan. — at least under city law.
The Topeka City Council voted Tuesday night to repeal the city’s misdemeanor domestic battery law. The issue, which had become a bargaining chip in an awkward battle over local and county budgets, has so far seen the release of 30 abuse suspects, according to the Kansas City Star.
Felony domestic abuse cases continued to be prosecuted, but the Star reported that one abuse suspect has been arrested and released twice since the budget spat started last month.
Sometimes there are no easy options. In this case, one imagines a new fee or tax to cover the increased cost of detaining potentially dangerous people who have abused their spouse or partner would be worth it, but the age of austerity is claiming many unexpected victims.
The entire fiasco was actually little more than an elaborate game of chicken between city and county officials – a game that the city has apparently won. The county prosecutor, Chad Taylor, who initially offloaded these cases onto the city government has said in a statement that his office will continue to handle these cases, though with less staff.
“Effective immediately my office will commence the review and filing of misdemeanors decriminalized by the City of Topeka,” Taylor said in the release. “My office now retains sole authority to prosecute domestic battery misdemeanors and will take on this responsibility so as to better protect and serve our community. We will do so with less staff, less resources, and severe constraints on our ability to effectively seek justice.”
So it’s not legal to abuse your spouse in Topeka after all…it’s just that it very nearly was, if the county prosecutor hadn’t picked up the slack at the very last minute. Playing politics with people’s lives is an old trick.