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November 18, 2009

The special criminal justice and sentencing challenges of domestic violence

My local paper, the Columbus Dispatch, has run a terrific series of articles on the social problems of domestic violence.  Today's piece in the series, which is headlined "Time for change: Lawmakers call for holistic approach to domestic-violence laws; other states offer solutions," thoughtfully covers legal issues that ought to be of special interest to sentencing fans.  Here are snippets:

No state has found the perfect mix of laws and policies to adequately punish abusers and protect victims of domestic violence.  But there are models of success -- innovative approaches to addressing a long-standing societal issue.

Those most involved with the problem in Ohio say the state's laws, while not the worst, pale in comparison to those in some other states.  For example, at least nine states say that domestic violence can be a felony charge on the first offense.  Ohio does not allow for a felony on the first offense.

Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, said he would be open to taking a holistic approach to fixing flaws in state law regarding domestic violence. "We need to do more to protect victims of domestic violence," Budish said. "We should be looking at whether there are adequate penalties for repeat offenders.  Clearly, there comes a time when a repeat offender needs to be punished more severely than a slap on the wrist."   Budish said he also supports two existing bills in the Ohio legislature that would provide protections for teenagers and other victims.

The best way to break the cycle, experts say, is an overall approach in which the needs of victims, children, police, prosecutors, judges, batterers, advocates and society as a whole are met.  "You have to take domestic violence seriously as a crime," said Abigail Wexner, founder of the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence.  "People can't get away with beating or threatening a stranger; they shouldn't be able to get away with doing it to someone in their home."

This idea of a "holistic approach to domestic-violence laws" gets me thinking about the restorative justice movement in the arena of punishment theory.  Indeed, I think the restorative justice movement perhaps ought to give special attention and concern to the pervasive problems of domestic violence, which seems to be an important area where traditional crime and punishment approaches have often been largely ineffective.

November 18, 2009 at 08:19 AM | Permalink


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The lawyer is undertaking an assault on corporal punishment inside the family, to end the family. Why? The family is the biggest competitor to the government for authority over children.

1) Corporal punishment is highly effective, and cheap. The government interest is in out of control children requiring massive, ineffective social services.

2) Blacks come from a Southern culture. The latter tends to use more corporal punishment. The racist lawyer wants to attack Southern culture and more specifically black upbringing methods.

3) Abuse will be used as a pretext to remove children, requiring massive parenting classes, foster care armies, and continued supervision of families by government functionaries for years after return home.

4) Almost all allegations of abuse or domestic violence during marital conflict or separation are false. There is no provision to deter the making of false allegations by feminists. That is because the lawyer encourages the making of false allegations against fathers.

5) Naturally, hiring a lawyer specializing in this scam, will markedly improve the outcome for the male target of this movement.

6) A local sheriff once said, the metal detectors at the court are for the family court cases, not for the murderers, drug dealers, or violent criminals. Because of the pretextual, and rent seeking nature of this anti-male, anti-family lawyer movement, violent self-help has full moral and intellectual justification. It is similar to the justification of the shooting of an armed robber to protect one's family.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 19, 2009 6:33:11 AM

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