Thursday, October 13, 2011

Topeka Says “JUST LEGALIZE IT!!”

In a move sure to get Charlie Sheen and Chris Brown looking to take up residence in the Ward-Meade Mansion, The City Council of Topeka, Kansas voted 7-3 on Tuesday night to save money by decriminalizing…. wait for it…. domestic violence!

Over 30 domestic violence cases (18 since September) have been dropped in the area because no one will prosecute. The Shawnee County District Attorney responded to cuts to his (note the shocking pronoun) budget by delegating misdemeanor cases to the City. The cuts haven’t gone into effect and won’t until next year, but best to be proactive, I guess. The City responded in the only responsible way by making misdemeanor domestic violence not illegal under State Law. Hey, 423 such cases were prosecuted last year. All that court time, counseling, therapy, and infrastructure to support victims ain’t cheap.

The City Council is banking on the decriminalization forcing the hand of the DA’s office since domestic violence remains a crime under State Law (for now.) The idea is basically “hey, if we can’t prosecute at the City level because there is no City Law violation then the County has to pick up the tab, Right?

Wrong. DA offices all over the country prioritize some cases over others. Misdemeanor charges are dropped for any number of reasons all the time. Nothing says that has to change. Domestic abuse cases are tragically under-prosecuted as it is. This pissing match between the City and the DA’s office has only managed to send a public message that women are second-class citizens and if anybody wants to slap one in Topeka he probably won’t get punished.

This is just one more example of the seemingly never-ending shift to the right in “mainstream” politics. Slash every budget and encourage people to just get stronger and richer if they don’t want to be victimized.

But at least the National press has gotten behind this, right? Christ, after I was told about this repeal being considered I had to read about it in Forbes. Fuck everybody.

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