October 7, 2011
The Topeka City Council and Domestic Battery
I imagine that many of you have now seen the Think Progress article discussing the fact that the Topeka, KS city council is considering decriminalizing domestic battery. I wanted to take a moment to dig a bit deeper into the specifics, and figure out what we can do to make a difference in this situation.
Here’s what’s going on, as best as I can figure out: to save money, the county in which Topeka is located, Shawnee, opted to stop prosecuting misdemeanors committed in Topeka. This meant that a whole bunch of domestic battery cases were dumped on the city, which is ill-equipped to handle them. The solution proposed by the Topeka City Council is that they repeal the part of the municipal code that bans domestic battery. The rationale for this is that it would force the county to start prosecuting those cases again. While I understand that impulse, the move strikes me as short-sighted and potentially dangerous. My hope is that between the council and those of us who live here and care about such things, we have to be able to come up with a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve literally decriminalizing domestic battery.
Locals: please contact the city council. It might be worth mentioning that this is making Topeka look bad on the national level, and could well be considered detrimental to local business and investment. It might also be worth contacting the Shawnee County District Attorney, Chad Taylor.
Thank you for your time and consideration!