Penny Wise but Pound Foolish in the Heartland: A Case Study of Decriminalizing Domestic Violence in Topeka, Kansas

23 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2013  

Shelley Santry

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

On October 11, 2011, in a dangerous game of chicken, the city council of Topeka, Kansas, voted 7 to 3 to decriminalize misdemeanor domestic violence cases. This move came in response to the Shawnee County District Attorney, Chad Taylor, notifying the city that the District Attorney's office would no longer prosecute such cases arising within Topeka city limits due to budgetary constraints. District Attorney Taylor further advised that he would leave all misdemeanor prosecutions, including those for domestic violence, in the hands of city government, choosing instead to focus his office's limited resources on the prosecution of felonies alone. The District Attorney's notification was given despite the fact that the budget cuts proposed by the County Commission would not go into effect until 2012. Prior to the announcement, all misdemeanors other than domestic violence were handled by Topeka's municipal court.5 The Topeka City Council then advised it would cost the city an estimated additional one million dollars to pay for misdemeanor domestic violence prosecutions.

Keywords: domestic violence, decriminalize, Topeka, Kansas, Shawnee County

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K10, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Santry, Shelley, Penny Wise but Pound Foolish in the Heartland: A Case Study of Decriminalizing Domestic Violence in Topeka, Kansas (2012). Journal of Law & Family Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2012; University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 2013-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2222224

Shelley Santry (Contact Author)

University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States

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