Criminal Justice

Topeka Decriminalizes Domestic Violence in Prosecution Budget Spat; Suspects Go Free

The city of Topeka, Kan., has repealed its law making domestic violence a crime in hopes of saving some money and forcing the county D.A. to resume prosecutions.

Domestic violence is still a crime in the state, and that means Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor should be prosecuting such cases, according to Topeka city leaders. The city council voted to repeal Topeka’s law on Tuesday, report the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Citing budget cuts, Taylor stopped prosecuting misdemeanors originating in Topeka a month ago, including domestic assault cases. As a result, 18 people arrested for domestic violence have been released without charges, the stories say.

Taylor says an impending 10 percent budget cut will force the layoffs of about a dozen people in his office. At the same time, the office is dealing with an increase in violent crime caused by gang activity. The budget cuts don’t go into effect until next year, however.

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