Nicole Thomas-Kennedy Vows Not to Prosecute Almost All Misdemeanors

Comments

1

oh give me a break. i'd say that a miniscule % of the voting public thinks this is a good idea. poor, poor criminals getting harassed for braking the law.

3

Pete Holmes is well known, relatively popular, and an incumbent. So running against him is a steep uphill battle.

Still, she makes a compelling alternative, with a solid basis for some of her ideas. I like her. She's unlikely to win, but I wish her well, and maybe this sets her up for a future run if Holmes falls on his face somehow or decides to retire.

4

well she's pretty steely-eyed
and I'd back her up in any alley sweep
but whatabout:

THE PUNISHMENT?

mustn't we make peeps
Pay and Pay and PAY
till We all feel so
much Better?

hell I'm feelin'
Better already.
GO, Grrrrl. we're Due.

5

The police should just drop off the scum at these prosecutors house as they are released.

Bet the neighbors would love these honest citizens roaming around.

6

She doesn’t sound any different than Pete Holmes or give any actual examples of how she would be different. Pete Holmes has already inflicted this vision of “restorative justice” on the citizens of Seattle. He released that celebrity meth-zombie Travis dozens of times before Travis finally brutally murdered that woman in Cal Anderson. Luckily he drowned himself in a bleach tank but not soon enough for that poor woman. I love the part about not forcing people into treatment until they’re ready. That’s peak Seattle. The aforementioned dead methoid gave an interview where he expressed interest in getting his act together and only doing meth on the weekends from now on. I’m sure Seattle’s other junkie scumfucks are just as capable at planning out their own treatment on their own terms. Couldn't make this up.

7

Soft on domestic violence, that's an interesting take.

8

@7 - Agreed. Although she's right that some of the things that get charged hardly amount to DV. I once saw a woman get charged because she caught her boyfriend talking on the phone to another girl and when she grabbed his phone away she scratched him.

Having said that, I've also seen DV convictions result in some really bad people losing their gun rights, which may save lives.

9

@7: What do you mean by "soft on domestic violence?"

As the article points out, a guy punches a wall and the prosecutor demands separation despite what either party wants. Now the man is homeless and she can't pay rent because he may have been the primary bread winner. Is that what "tough on domestic violence" looks like to you?
The greatest source of domestic violence continues to the be from police and prosecutors generally go very soft on that issue:

https://www.fatherly.com/love-money/police-brutality-and-domestic-violence/

Seattle is misdemeanor court. If it was serious domestic violence it would go to King County where Dan Satterberg is effectively living in the 1960's on issues like this. He may be progressive on drugs, but for anything involving sex or domestic disputes you are facing the equivalent of county prosecutor from rural Mississippi.

It will be a tough fight, but Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is exactly the change we need, particularly on ending the wasted resources supporting the failed Nordic Model that has defined Pete Holmes. Time for real reform.

10

@9 are you seriously suggesting we stop prosecuting DV because it’s a cause of homelessness? That is serious gourmet bullshit right there. In the example you provided why was the police even called unless one of the participants felt threatened? This is really bad.

I take solace in knowing this person has no chance of advancing to the general but it saddens me people actually think these ideas are legitimately going to improve public safety.

11

@8: domestic violence is a serious issue, but the criminalization model has failed badly over the past 3 decades at reducing domestic violence. If anything it has created more domestic violence by increasing all the systemic problems that led to it in the first place.

Domestic violence is a symptom of underlying issues. The most effective way to address domestic violence is to address its root causes. Simply locking primarily black men in cages may satisfy the emotional needs of primarily white female prosecutors who run domestic violence divisions, but it has drawn ire from the black women who suffer the consequences of the incarceration first strategy.

Two excellent sources in this issue:

The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women's Liberation in Mass Incarceration
Aya Gruber
https://www.amazon.com/Feminist-War-Crime-Unexpected-Incarceration/dp/0520304519

Loving Men, Respecting Women:
by Tim Goldich and Warren Farrell Ph.D.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Warren+Farrell+PhD&text=Warren+Farrell+PhD&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books

12

@10: Neighbors call the cops all the time when they hear a domestic dispute, so spare me your Lifetime Channel version of reality. Often the women did not feel threatened, did not call the police and tell the prosecutor that incarceration will hurt everyone involved. Prosecutors usually ignore them.

This is not about satisfying your revenge fantasies, it's about decreasing domestic violence and protecting the victim, which often means money, resources and a place for the abuse victim to stay along with counselling to remove the cause of the domestic violence. Incarceration ignores all of that and often makes a bad situation worse by promoting more poverty and violence that leads to increased domestic violence.

I cited 2 books about that provide useful data on this topic. Do you have anything to show me incarceration improves the situation for the victim? Let me answer that for you. No you don't because prosecution often leads to more domestic violence, not less.

13

@6 Inpatient drug treatment has something like a 30% success rate, and that's an optimistic estimate. But sure, let's spend your tax dollars forcing it on people who aren't even willing to give it a shot, I'm sure that'll improve the numbers.

This was never about drug treatment or mental health care for you chuds, all you've ever wanted is some excuse to start detaining people indefinitely for the crime of being poor and drunk or high in public.

14

@13 All the more reason to lock up these euthanasia candidates and keep them there until they can stay clean.

15

@14: Sure, because incarceration has proven such a success in the war on drugs.

"Keep them there until the can stay clean."

I wish I shared your naivete about not being able to get drugs while incarcerated.

Do people who imagine incarceration solving everything from sunburn to why your in-laws don't love them know a fucking thing about incarceration?

It's the last bad option, not the first answer to everything that bothers you.

17

What I'm hearing is if this person is elected we can go smash her windows nightly and she really wouldn't give a fuck, or do a damn thing about it so long as the damage was "misdemeanor" level. Brilliant position she's taking up, lol.
Might as well take a stroll through her pantry if you are hungry, too.
Hey, we can share what we got of yours cuz we dun shared all of mine!

18

@11 - My experience with DV was as a criminal defense attorney. Almost every defendant charged with DV who I ever represented was white or hispanic. Many of these cases were very minor argument-type situations where a police response might not have been appropriate if we had other structures in place. But many were not.

And of all the misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor defendants I ran across, the only ones who truly scared me (including one who personally was threatening towards me) were charged with DV assault. A lot of those guys kept guns in the house and were not nice happy friendly people who made a little mistake. It was well known among defense attorneys that we could go ahead and demand a trial on these charges because the female alleged victim would almost never show up - they knew they did not dare.

Once you got to the felony DV level, it would be even worse. Not prosecuting these offenses is not a great answer. I agree that the no-contact orders can lead to some difficult consequences, and maybe they do not need to be a blanket requirement, but wife-beaters are an actual problem.

19

@12 your solution will literally lead to people dying. We should absolutely work to improve the model and offer help to those that need to exit a volatile situation but not prosecuting threats because of some worry about homelessness is really bad. If given a choice between going to a shelter and being killed I think I know which one I'd take.

20

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy offers a humane approach to dealing with anti-social and criminal behavior, which can actually be perpetuated by traditional incarceration and punishment methods. The current model is not working, so this younger, more progressive model is the way to go. She has my vote. This dovetails with the concept of allowing homeless folks to have safe housing and medical care, away from the travails of street camping.

21

@18: A thoughtful response.

I don't think our views are at odds and what I believe the data supports. If there is one difference it's simply that the numbers on a national level show a different DV demographic than you describe, but that obviously does not mean your person experience is incorrect. It just means you live in an overwhelmingly white state.

"Joe Biden Should Stop Bragging About the Violence Against Women Act"
https://reason.com/2020/10/29/joe-biden-should-stop-bragging-about-the-violence-against-women-act/

Contrary to DV folklore, domestic violence is typically initiated equally between men and women with things being more likely to end badly for the women. Dr. Warren Farrell, who first raised the need to address the issue of DV in the late 1960's has done good work on this topic along with the best ways to support the victim. His website is an excellent resource on this topic: https://warrenfarrell.com/

No question there are some bad Ambré's out there. The debate is how best to deal with them in a way that helps the victim. As you point out, DV at the misdemeanor level is often over minor conflicts and incarceration often makes things worse. At most they will be incarcerated for a year and there is nothing they will experience in jail that will make them less violent towards there partner once they get out.

Felony level DV is more complicated and at times does require incarceration, but that is not always the best solution. Bad legislation like the VAWA that pushed a punishment only model with mandatory minimums and actively discouraging treatment are problematic and probably causes more domestic violence than in prevents. It's classic failed "tough on crime" legislation that has become far too common in places like King County.

If a man has a problem with violent antisocial behavior, incarceration often makes it worse for the partner when he gets out. Many women have gone to prison for killing a domestic partner in self defense after they get out of prison where their violent antisocial behavior was only reinforced.

"PROSECUTORS IGNORED EVIDENCE OF HER ESTRANGED HUSBAND’S ABUSE. SHE FACES 25 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MURDER."
https://theintercept.com/2021/05/24/manhattan-district-attorney-domestic-violence-tracey-mccarter/

If the goal is to reduce DV and support victims, we need to move away from the "incarceration is always the solution" approach.

Incarceration has its place, but only when it can be shown to help the victim. All too often the victim is ignored by a criminal system with it's own agenda.

22

@19: Not surprisingly, you missed the point, which was not that we should support domestic violence to prevent homelessness. I was providing a common scenario where the criminalizing model of DV made things worse for everyone, to include the victim left with rent that can't pay now that their partner has been incarcerated and is them homeless.

With a DV record you make it harder to find work. OK, we have criminalized them, pushed them further into poverty and made it harder for them to find work while not only doing nothing to address the cause of DV, but actively adding fuel to the fire of things that motivate DV in the fist place. How does this end well for anyone other than your feelz?

I know people who have been victims of domestic violence, their partner was arrested for it despite them not wanting it, so they were then forced to post bail to get them out since they could not support themselves if their partner lost their job. You have helped them how?

Far more people have been killed by your "literally lead to people dying" incarceration first model. One of many such cases where your solution literally killed someone and got the other person decades in prison. This is what your "win" looks like when it meets reality:

https://theintercept.com/2021/05/24/manhattan-district-attorney-domestic-violence-tracey-mccarter/

23

@22 I'm sorry I just think your logic is completely flawed on this one. For me to accept your premise, that we should decriminalize DV, you are asking me to also accept the underlying premise that the judicial system is so inherently flawed that an overwhelming percentage of outcomes are worse than if we do nothing. You are also asking me to accept that your change will result in less deaths than the current solution.

First, there are so many things that need to occur before DV even results in incarceration. A neighbor or a participant has to feel the conflict has passed a point to become a DV situation, the police once they arrive on the scene determine that whatever occurred warrants arrest, the prosecutor upon reviewing the case feels charges are warranted and finally a judge upon hearing the evidence concludes there is enough evidence to warrant a crime, even then the judge may have discretion to recommend a diversion program instead of jail time. I have no doubt there are cases where the defendant ends up in jail and doesn't deserve it but I don't accept that there are so many of these cases that we need to dismantle the entire system.

I also find it extremely difficult that decriminalizing DV will results in less deaths. Could some people go to jail and have a harder time in life or end up homeless? Yes, but they are alive. The other problems you describe can be dealt with by other programs however if you allow DV to continue unabated people will die and there isn't a second chance for them. What is your allowable percentage of DV victims we can sacrifice? 1 out of 20, 250, 500?

Beyond that you are completely removing any accountability from the participants themselves. You don't want to go to jail for beating your partner? DON'T BEAT YOUR PARTNER. I'm flabbergasted that you just remove any responsibility someone has for their actions. There are literally millions of people who have experience hardship, poverty, violence and numerous other maladies in their life and yet somehow they avoid escalating a conflict in their relationship to the point that it is anywhere near a DV situation. Assuming someone is going to exit jail and immediately go back to beating their partner is really jaded.

I'm going to say something else as well that you probably won't like. There just isn't enough resources in the public realm for us to fix everyone and there never will be. Sometimes the best we can do is remove someone from society so they can not hurt anyone else or themselves.

24

@16 I dunno. Should I?

Regular American prison sentences ain't great, but at least they have a release date.

25

@23: Perhaps at least part of our disagreement is a misunderstanding over terms.

I am not advocating for decriminalizing all DV so much as putting an end to the overcriminalization of DV we have seen in recent years that creates worse outcomes for victims.

We're all against rape, force, coercion and sexual exploitation, but when the Feds pay local police and prosecutors to pursue DV you soon get intersecting and expanding Venn diagrams of sexual and domestic behavior that quickly enters areas that should never have been criminalized and wouldn't have been without a financial incentive. Great way to get more grant money, terrible way to reduce harm.

The 1994 VAWA tied extremely draconian one size fits all punishments to federal financial incentives through grants to local law enforcement. When you pay the criminal system to go after something bad, it's far easier for them to broaden the definition of bad than pursue the thing they were paid to go after. We witnessed this with the drug war when the definition of drug trafficker was expanded beyond any meaning and this strategy has been replicated for the war on sex, to include DV. It does not mean there are not real examples where criminalization makes sense, but the financial intensive have distorted what qualifies toward greater criminalization and incarceration a the expense of what would lead to better outcomes.

You don't need to accept that the criminal system is fundamentally flawed to buy my argument, only that the current system creates worse outcomes for victims by over criminalizing DV. The two books I recommended make just that case.

You paint a picture of police, prosecutor and judge acting as a system of checks and balances. No doubt that was the original intent, but with prosecutors obtaining 95% of convictions through unchallenged plea bargains any story of check and balances is a farce. The police make the arrest for anything they want, the prosecutor determines the charges, convicts, and sentences through the application of mandatory minimums. The judge ostensibly overseas the process, but they are on the same team, so are primarily there to support the conviction by ensuring the law in interpreted in the way that best serves the outcome the police and prosecutor want. There's a reason that 60 years ago the conviction rate was about 70% and it is now over 99%. Prosecutors will tell you it's because they are so much smarter and better looking than their predecessors, but I never really bought that one.

The Aya Gruber book I recommended above explains in great detail how overcriminalizing of DV has resulted in more death, more violence and worse outcomes for victims over the past 40 years, but I don't think that's necessary. If you consider the primary motivation for DV and realize that criminalization increases the intensity of all the factors that lead to DV, it's not hard to imagine overcriminalization makes things worse. If someone is violent and antisocial, punishment under our system does not make them less violent and antisocial, it makes them more violent and anti-social. Sometimes that is the least bad outcome, but it should be avoided as much as possible and most victims of DV don't support it wants them learn what it entails and the negative impact it will have on them.

I would argue that incarceration is the process of removing accountability, because it often ignores the wishes of the victim where accountability resides. It's a mistake to define accountability entirely in terms of incarceration because you are no longer talking about accountability, but revenge, or what we now call social justice. I am unwilling to place the emotional needs of those in the criminal system that define accountability only in terms that serve them.

Accountability is not about pleasing the revenge fantasies of some prosecutor, or judge. Accountability cannot be understood outside the context of the actual victim they routinely ignore on DV cases.

Real victims are rarely listened to in the criminal system. Police, prosecutors and judges typically carry around an imaginary victims in their heads to justify harsh punishment. They are convinced the victims they invent to justify what they do to other people matter more than the actual victim standing in front of them who may not share their singular definition of accountability.

I actually agree with you that we do not always have the resources to fix everyone and we never will, but that is not an argument for locking people up, which is literally the worst thing you can do to another human other than killing them. The first rule of the criminal system should be the same as the medical profession. First, due no harm. That is, don't take a bad situation and make it worse.

One of the better conversations I have had here. Thanks for your thoughts.

26

@24: Not really.

https://cochranfirm.com/rights-felons-release/

https://inthesetimes.com/article/civil-commitment-rushville-treatment-detention-facility-prison-indefinite-detention

We routinely ignore the rest of the Constitution. Why would you think we would follow the "time served" idea.

27

@25 - Most of the judges I know would be pretty offended to hear that they are "on the same team" as the prosecution. I can think of at least five (including a WA Supreme Court justice) who were public defenders before going on the bench.

28

@25 appreciate it as well and perhaps we are just talking past each other. The foundation of this was the candidacy of Thomas-Kennedy who essentially is saying she won’t prosecute anything. My apologies if that isn't your position.

29

@28 I think I missed the part of this where Thomas-Kennedy said she won't prosecute felonies, or even thought it might be a good idea.

I mean she even says she'll keep right on prosecuting DUIs too, which is maybe an odd exception to make to your gross misdemeanors when you've got simple assault sitting right there, but she at least seems to think it's a data-driven one.

30

"It's a mistake to define accountability entirely in terms of incarceration because you are no longer talking about accountability, but revenge, or what we now call social justice."
--@

"we're" calling revenge 'Social justice' these days?

who is?

Social Justice means
Black and Po' peeps'
& Women's etc
Lives Matter.

31

sorry -- @25

32

@27: Not just the judiciary. Police and prosecutors would also be offended if portrayed as anything other that staunch defenders of truth, justice and the American Way who like honest Abe refused to tell a lie about chopping down a cherry tree and never made a questionable decision in their life.

Still, it was judges who invented qualified immunity out of thin air. It was judges who allowed the FISA courts, 3rd party doctrine, Terry Stops and every other expansion of the police state over the past 50 years that has left rights if defendants at a 100 year low. It seems ahistorical to pretend judges have not shown a proven history of consistently siding with the police state over the basic rights of defendents.

Sure, the occasional Judge Satemyor will slip through, but the Satemyor's are outnumbered by the Scalia's by by 10 to 1 at every stage of the game.

At the local level, due process and The Constitution are only distant ideas, whereas the next election is close and alienating the prosecutor's office never helps. Obviously the Supreme Court is the most independent and Superior court judges the least, but the gravitational pull of supporting the law enforcement is always present and you cross swords with the prosecutor's office by making a decision they don't like at your own peril.

This is just as true of ex-defense attorney's as anyone else. It's not about attorney history as much as an alignment of interest. Ask

33

@27: and how could I leave out parallel construction, asset forfeiture and civil internment.

https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/01/09/dark-side/secret-origins-evidence-us-criminal-cases

https://americansforprosperity.org/civil-asset-forfeiture-unpopular-and-unjust/

https://narsol.org/2021/04/civil-commitment-treatment-or-extended-punishment/

Is there anything cops want the judiciary won't sign off on?

34

@29 felonies would not be under the purview of the city attorney. They would go to Dan Sattenberg's office.

35

The average American politician on either side of the isle will almost always choose to take a puritanical(we can eliminate this scourge 100% and forever!) approach to legislating on every issue, despite and sometimes especially, when this will result in more deaths. They can't fucking help themselves.

36

I couldn't ever support her based on the domestic violence issues. It's not up to her or others to decide whether someone who's being assaulted or threatened with assault in their own home "should" have the right to pursue prosecution or arrest of the person violating their rights. I don't give a damn if it's inconvenient or overly burdensome to their system. The victim has a fundamental right to have that person arrested -- and the victim has a right to a no-contact order. It's their decision, not hers. So what makes her any different than some chauvinistic judge or prosecutor who doesn't respect the victim's autonomy either? They're both making the same decisions "on her behalf" (as it's usually "her"). "For her own good." Right. Sure.

37

@36 IOW there's a big difference between advising someone to do something based on any number of pros and cons they're weighing out relative to their individual situation. It's a whole other ball game to say that you're going to abolish their rights or ability to protect themselves - which is what I'm hearing.

38

How do you sanely abolish the criminal division? What about rape or murder investigations? If anything, those investigative divisions need more funding. Take the example of this murder at Greenlake which the police tried to wrap up in a couple of hours as a suicide when the woman was clearly murdered. If that doesn't spell inadequate funding for criminal investigations, I don't what does.

Definitely defund militarization and these absurd army-like confrontations with protestors. But the criminal investigation division needs more money, it seems to me, and focused on crimes like murder or rape.

39

It's also worth noting that DV can be a pretty strong predictor of future violence in other arenas: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-rail-yard-shooter-accused-violence-threats-women-n1268851

40

The prosecutor's job isn't to decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore, it's to enforce the laws that are. If Thomas-Kennedy wants to change the laws she should run for legislative office like city council. It's their job to make the laws, changing bad laws should start there.

What is it with Seattle politicians lately? Seems they think they are royalty, instead of trying to change laws through the democratic process they will just ignore them. Instead of openly challenging ethics rules they don't they just violate them and pretend they didn't understand.

41

@36, 37, 38: No one, including Nicole Thomas-Kennedy and certainly not me has suggested as you write:

"It's not up to her or others to decide whether someone who's being assaulted or threatened with assault in their own home "should" have the right to pursue prosecution or arrest of the person violating their rights."

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy made it clear she would refer such cases to the King County prosecutor as a felony charge, which is where what you describe is prosecuted. You ask "abolish the criminal division? What about rape or murder investigations?"

You seem confused about how your city government works. The city attorney handles misdemeanors. Felonies like "rape and murder" are handled at the County Level and have nothing to do with the city attorney. The county is not giving up their criminal division.

42

@39: This is a well known correlation. It's why the fact that police have a 200% greater chance of committing spouse abuse than the general population is a concern to many people outside law enforcement. If they have such a high rate of violence against their own children and wives, what does that say about their ability as police?

Your link references a Bloomberg study:

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-mass-shootings-domestic-violence-connection/
"An analysis of 749 mass shootings over the past six years found that about 60% were either domestic violence attacks or committed by men with histories of domestic violence."

And how do we know this correlation between domestic violence and mass shooters exist? Because these domestic abusers were arrested just as you suggest, then went to to commit these mass shootings despite that. Otherwise, how would be know about their prior domestic abuse?

So despite being run through our criminal system for committing domestic violence, they still went on to commit these mass shootings, meaning had no impact. Is your argument that this policy of a criminalization policy that failed to stop them from going on to become mass shooter is a good one we should continue?

This is precisely the argument why we need a different approach. What we are doing now isn't working. Doing what does not work even harder doesn't help. Ask the failed drug war.

43

@40: "The prosecutor's job isn't to decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore, it's to enforce the laws that are."

Deciding which laws to enforce and which to ignore is the exact definition of a prosecutor's job. We have endless laws on the books that would land everyone in jail if all enforced equally. The job of a prosecutor is to decide where to spend limited resources. Should they spend all their limited budget having the police go after people not wearing a bike helmet to the exclusion of going after people who commit DUI's?

One major problem with our current prosecutors at the city and county level over the past 40 years is that they spend a disproportionate percentage of their budget enforcing lifestyle crimes like drugs and prostitution, which has the affect of leaving fewer resources for pursuing the murder, rape, assault and property theft many wish they would focus more of their resources on.

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is simply acknowledging what we all know. Perhaps spending all your resources prosecuting poverty crimes like homelessness, or lifestyle crimes like drugs and prostitution is not where we should be wasting our money as Pete Holmes has (especially on that last one). Perhaps resources should be focused on the more serious misdemeanors Mr. Holmes has given little attention to.

44

@41 The article itself quotes her as advocating abolition of the criminal division. Plus not all assaults are felonies. Some are misdemeanors, and can be just as serious. The issue, as I already stated, the constitutional rights of the victim - which your candidate does not have the right to "write off" - at ANY level of government. Though I gather it would make her job a whole lot easier? If her solution to everything to just abolish everything that makes her job too hard, she shouldn't run for office. Because that is not solving the actual problems - it's just pretending to. "I no longer deal with that" doesn't mean that it no longer exists.

45

@43 The prosecutor does decide which cases to pursue which to not pursue. The job is not to decide which laws are good and worthy and which are bad. The prosecutor shouldn't have veto power over legally enacted ordinances and laws.

You are correct that prosecutors often hold they personal opinions above the laws and make decisions about public policy accordingly decisions accordingly. That doesn't make it right.

46

@44: Yes, but she then goes on to say she would continue to prosecutor DUIs, so whether she chooses to call in a criminal division or not is irrelevant. she would still prosecute.

This is her exact quote on domestic abuse:
"When it comes to issues of domestic violence, we could be focused more on meeting the needs of those victims. If we want to put no-contact orders in place, then where are people going to live? If we want to encourage people to leave abusers, then where are they going to go? What services are going to be in place for them? There's lots of stuff that goes along with that kind of trauma, and none of it is addressed by this system," she said."

She is exactly right. Criminalization often not only does nothing to keep victims safe, but places them in greater danger if that is all you do. Giving women housing options and the resources they need to leave their abuser does make a difference and we currently don't do that. That needs to be the first priority.

Otherwise, you end up with stories like this that are all to frequent:

"In 2008, Sonja Holt stood in front of a judge in civil court and recounted an incident in which her abusive fiance of 11 years, Stafford Shaw, played “Russian Roulette” with her, firing a bullet at her as she ran out of the bedroom. He would repeatedly pin her to the ground and put the gun in her face, threatening to kill her, she said. He was sentenced to 90 days in prison and sent to a batterer’s intervention program. No one said anything about his gun, she said in a recent phone interview, not even her attorney. He went on to murder his next girlfriend, their infant child, two bystanders and himself in 2015."
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-mass-shootings-domestic-violence-connection/

In Seattle we would have taken his gun away, but I suspect someone intent on murder is not going to worry about obtaining an illegal gun, which is not a hard thing. Do you think incarceration really helped in this situation?

That's the danger with imagining the criminal system will solve all your problems. You end up ignoring the needs of the victim because you personally have some score to settle on the topic of DV, but it's not about you.

Prosecutor's make decisions about what they will prosecute and what they will not prosecute based on priorities and limited resources. You can stomp your foot all you want and tell me life is not fair, but that's simply a fact. There is no way for the legal system to arrest everyone for every crime. Not even America has enough police and jails for that and we lead the world in both.

It's not hard to charge DV as a felony when needed. It goes back to that prosecutor discretion I was telling you about, but as Nicole Thomas-Kennedy pointed out it's a thorny issue. You over simplify it by imagining the victim always wants incarceration. Often they did not call the police, did not want their partner arrested and there was no physical harm to the victim. Are you insisting despite what the victim wants they should be incarcerated anyway? Are you going to step up and pay the victims rent while their partner is in jail? Are you going to pay the bail to get them out so they won't need to? of course not, because you expect the victim to pick up the tab for your personal revenge fantasies. Did I mention this is not about you?

Stop ignoring victims and you will come closer to dealing with the real issue, which is helping the victim and preventing future DV. The current incarceration only model does neither.

47

@45: I get where your coming from, but the widespread inconsistent use of prosecutors discretion for the crimes they do enforce is a greater problem. Prosecutor's don't only decide what laws will and will not be enforced, they decide who they will be enforced against, how severe the penalty will be and what the plea will look like and they do it all with no oversight. I have seen a prosecutor charge someone who committed a major crime with a lesser charge and a low crime with a much higher charge on the same case simply to settle some personal score or impress someone else with their sense of social justice. I consider the complete inconsistency in the way prosecutors choose to enforce the laws they do enforce the real problem.

The truth is everyone is guilty of a crime if the police decide to arrest you. We elect DA's to decide what to enforce and what not to enforce because there are not enough jails and cops to enforce everything. in the 1980's many DA refused to continue enforcing sodomy laws on the books because that is not where those who elected them wanted them to spend their time and energy. Virginia still has infidelity laws. Do you think the DA should focus on enforcing those over murder and rape because "the law in the law?"

You should go buy this book:
Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent Paperback – June 7, 2011
by Harvey Silverglate (Author), Alan M. Dershowitz (Foreword)

That is just at the Federal level and that was back in 2011. There have only been more laws written and added. Now add in all the state laws you routinely violate without ever knowing.

I'm sure if we send the cops to go through your life they will find a few felonies to arrest you for. If the law in the law, enjoy prison. It was nice knowing ya.

48

@46 You're mischaracterizing a lot of my position while projecting all kinds of emotional baggage, therefore complicating the discussion, and you haven't even addressed any of the points I've made. If that's your idea of campaigning and winning voters, have fun losing your election - which people are predicting is going to happen majorly and anyway.

Again, the victim has constitutional rights you cannot "write off" in the name of benevolently helping them -- or simply on the argument that the system is f'd up, meaning you really just don't want to deal with the system as it exists.

So, if anyone is "stamping their foot at the world" and crying "life isn't fair," I think you need to take a look in your own mirror, instead. I'm the one saying you have to deal with the real world - including the constitution - while you're turning a blind eye to both.

It's not up to you or your candidate to decide what's in the best interests of a given victim. It's up to the victim - and whether or not you're o.k. with their decision about their life, not yours. It's not up to you to say, "You don't need a no-contact order because then you'd be on the street" - and what? Instead of living with the abuser ?? Which you or your candidate unbelievably deem "better" ?? Or like that's your decision to make? Or like you have the right to take away their options - as poor as those options already are? You'd make those options even fewer?

You sound very mixed up - as does your candidate. Or just FOS, shall we say?

As for Seattle taking away someone's gun? I think not. For example, the gun fanatic couple who shot a man on the UW campus didn't have their collection pursued by the police or the D.A. for at least a month -- and while they reportedly even lived next door to an elementary school. And the man in your story should have been prosecuted for attempted murder. That's not some "vendetta" of mine - try "rational" instead -- most thinking people understand that those who go around trying to shoot other people indeed belong behind bars. It wasn't that prison wasn't working in his case - it was the fact that they let him out.

49

Well, this was a great and useful debate, as usual. @6 obliquely referenced the deaths of Lisa Vach and Travis Berge, real persons who are now dead because our catch-and-release policy sent Berge back to Pike-Pine repeatedly to smoke meth' -- and steal to get it -- until he mortally wounded Vach, left her to her death, and then died horribly himself as police tried to extricate him from the Pump House at Cal Anderson Park. The persons in the rest of the comment thread who are critical of using incarceration never even tried to explain what else we should have done with Berge, who refused the drug treatment we repeatedly offered him. (Hint to @13: a 30% chance of recovery beats the 0% chance obtained from not requiring treatment.) Score another victory for the Seattle Compassion Brigade!