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Kan. District Attorney To Resume Prosecuting Topeka Domestic Violence Cases

Kan. District Attorney To Resume Prosecuting Topeka Domestic Violence Cases

October 17, 2011 — Shawnee County, Kan., District Attorney Chad Taylor announced last week that he will resume prosecuting domestic violence cases originating in Topeka, the AP/Washington Post reports (AP/Washington Post, 10/13).

On Sept. 8, Taylor said that his office would no longer prosecute misdemeanor domestic battery cases because county commissioners cut his budget by 10%. Taylor had sought funding from county and city officials but was denied (Fry, Topeka Capital-Journal, 10/12).

Topeka officials objected that they lacked the budget, prosecutors, court system and jail to suddenly take on the cases. On Oct. 11, the City Council voted 7-3 to repeal the city's law against misdemeanor domestic battery. Council members hoped the move would force Taylor to prosecute the cases because domestic battery would remain a crime under state law (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/12).

Taylor said on Wednesday that he would accept sole responsibility for reviewing and prosecuting domestic battery cases but would be forced to lay off 12 staff members by the end of the year to make up for lost funding (AP/Washington Post, 10/13). The cases include 21 domestic battery arrests since Sept. 8 in which defendants were taken into custody but released after charges were not filed, Taylor said (Topeka Capital-Journal, 10/12).

Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for the Kansas National Organization for Women, said that Taylor's move to resume prosecuting the cases showed that the public's voice had been heard. However, she remains concerned about the funding shortage. "He still doesn't have adequate funding," she said, adding, "Only time will tell" (AP/Washington Post, 10/13).