Topeka DA Will Prosecute Domestic Violence After All


Thomas said that Taylor, the DA, was the only official that chose not to participate in budget discussions, and when his department's budget was cut along with the rest, he decided to stop prosecuting domestic violence crimes in protest.

"What he did was he chose a population of folks that rarely has a voice, often in an economic situation that they cannot take matters into their own hands through civil process, to get the headlines he needed to make the commission give in. Unfortunately it's been a matter of giving in or calling someone's bluff," Thomas said.

The new budget restrictions, she noted, would not go into effect until January. Taylor announced that he would stop the prosecutions in September.

While the city council and the county commissioners figured out who would prosecute the crimes, those charged with domestic violence since September -- 18 people, according to Topeka police -- were released without trial or sentencing. One individual was arrested again for domestic violence against his wife, according to Bunten.

For domestic violence victims and advocates, the government's failure to prosecute crimes while fighting over budget issues is a dangerous precedent.

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence have been outspoken critics of the fight, calling on the government to prioritize domestic violence.

"It is unconscionable to attempt to balance budgets on the backs of victims of domestic violence, putting them in greater danger of serious injury or death," said Sue Else, president of the NNEDV. "Holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable is a cornerstone of public health and safety. We urge the local government to fully fund the prosecution of all domestic violence cases today. We cannot afford to wait."

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