- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Topeka officials have voted to reinstate a citywide ban on domestic battery, a move that apparently returns prosecution duties of those crimes from the county back to the city.

The back-and-forth began in 2011 when Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said his office could no longer afford to prosecute misdemeanor domestic batteries committed in Topeka because of budget cuts. For years, the city and had county agreed that the district attorney’s office would handle domestic violence prosecutions in the better-funded state courts.

After Taylor’s announcement, the prosecution of domestic battery cases inside the city fell on the city attorney’s office, which didn’t have the budget or manpower to carry out the duties. Domestic assault or battery involves a person in the same household, and victims often need additional services or shelter. City officials had argued that Topeka couldn’t afford to replicate county services for domestic abuse victims or rent jail space from the county for suspects.

Topeka leaders then dropped the city’s domestic battery ban in a move to force Taylor to take the cases, which he did.

But on Tuesday, city governing body members voted to reinstate the ban on domestic battery beginning Jan. 1, 2015, which would apparently move the prosecution duties back to the city, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1cvEHKr ).

The delay until next year was approved after City Attorney Chad Sublet told governing board members it would cost about $300,000 to prosecute domestic battery cases this year, and that money is not in the city’s budget. He said the city would need to create four new jobs to resume prosecuting domestic batteries next year.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor declined comment Wednesday on the vote to reinstate the city ban on domestic battery.

“He’s not going to have any comment on that whole issue right now,” said Lee McGowan, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s office. “He’s going to stay out of it.”


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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