overcriminalization of domestic violence cases. Crimes involving domestic violence include both, “… felony or misdemeanor crimes committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim. By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common. By a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. Also by a person similarly situate-d to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies.
Lastly, by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protecte-d from that person’s acts. Person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.” (Department of Justice, 2020)
To prosecute these offenses, many prosecutors’ offices have specially traine-d staff to address the unique challenges raised in prosecuting domestic violence cases. Examples include; property disputes, child support and custody issues.
Notwithstanding the existence of special units within law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices, there is debate among advocates. Is the response from government sufficient in addressing the complexities of these violence survivors’ cases?
In the attached article, Redefining the State’s Response to Domestic Violence: Past Victories and Future Challenges. Generally, Prof. Epstein suggests that crucial challenges exist in the state’s response to domestic violence cases. Specifically, “…efforts to increase state responsiveness resulted in an “overcriminalization” of domestic violence. This is with an almost automatic initiation of criminal prosecution occurring regardless of the needs and desires of the victim and her family?” (Epstein, 1999).
Do you agree with the author that the state’s response has resulted in an overcriminalization of domestic violence cases and why or why not?
Also, do you agree that statutes terminating the discretion of the responding police officers in favor of “mandatory arrest laws”?
Additionally, are Mandatory arrest laws proper responses to domestic violence cases? Why or why not?
Also, do you find that “no drop” policies in prosecutor’s offices is an appropriate response to handling domestic violence cases, notwithstanding a victim’s desire to no longer proceed with the case- why or why not?