I agree with the author that the state’s response has resulted in an overcriminalization of domestic violence cases. In the criminal justice system, an increasing number of jurisdictions have implemented several discretion-less regulations, such as mandatory arrests in domestic abuse situations. It also contains no-drop prosecutions, which force a criminal case to proceed regardless of the victim’s preferences, and obligatory stay-away orders, which require abusers to keep away from victims while prosecution is pending (Epstein, 1999). Together with other system reforms, these advances result in a generally consistent government reaction, but they also limit state actors’ capacity to adjust their actions to specific conditions. As a result, the probability that defendants will express their side of the story, believe they are being treated with respect, and believe state authorities are trying to be fair is reduced.
Mandatory Arrest Laws
I do not agree that statutes terminating the discretion of the responding police officers in favor of mandatory arrest laws are a proper response to domestic violence cases. Officers in states with obligatory and preferred arrest laws were more likely than those with discretionary arrest laws to conduct arrests. States could consider enacting a preferred arrest statute and improving police department procedures and training to enhance arrest rates and avoid making needless duplicate arrests (Cuomo, 2020). Officers are compelled to arrest, and discretion is not an option. They have the option of arresting both parties engaged in an incident and letting a court decide who is culpable. The states with obligatory arrest legislation and no regulations requiring officers to arrest the principal perpetrator had the most significant prevalence of dual arrests.
“No Drop” Policies
I do not find that no drop policies in prosecutor’s offices are an appropriate response to handling domestic violence cases. If enacted into law, no-drop rules might infringe on areas generally reserved for prosecutorial discretion, thus violating the division of powers between the three parts of state government. Furthermore, placing unnecessary constraints on a prosecutor’s ability to choose whether to prosecute might undermine the purpose of personalized justice. No-drop regulations may limit prosecutors’ ability to investigate the plethora of variables that prosecutors must consider ensuring that government action against an individual is legitimate (Douglas, 2018). It is worth noting that prosecutors’ resources may be wasted because of no-drop regulations. Convictions will undoubtedly be more challenging to obtain without the victim’s participation. No-drop provisions may compel prosecutors to pursue cases they would otherwise dismiss due to a poor likelihood of success.
Epstein, D. (1999). Redefining the state’s response to domestic violence: Past victories and future challenges. SSRN Electronic Journal, 127–143. Web.
Cuomo, D. (2020). Geographies of policing: Domestic violence, mandatory arrest, and police liability. Antipode, 53(1), 138–157. Web.
Douglas, H. (2018). Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases: Listening to Victims. In The Evolving Role of the Public Prosecutor (pp. 154-168). Routledge.