Most people assume that domestic violence cases always involves a man abusing a woman. But just as a woman abusing a man can be domestic violence, so can a woman beating a woman or a man punching a man. The only thing that matters in a domestic violence case, according to Del Mar domestic violence lawyer Peter M. Liss, is that the couple is now or formerly was involved in a romantic or sexual relationship.
Same Sex Domestic Violence in the News
A Tennessee District Attorney recently made headlines by saying that he refuses to press domestic violence charges against abusers in same sex relationships because, according to him, God doesn’t recognize such marriages. Aside from the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that same sex marriages are legally recognized in the U.S., this stance also runs afoul of the law because, as any La Jolla domestic violence defense attorney will tell you, domestic violence protections in both Tennessee and California don’t only apply to married couples, but also unmarried couples and even someone with whom the defendant is cohabitating.
The Problem With Prosecutorial Discretion
Prosecutorial discretion is what allows a prosecutor to decide where to direct the DA’s resources by determining which cases to prosecute and how. This means both whether or not to press charges in a case, which charges to file, when to work out plea bargains and when cases can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor they decide whether to file felony or misdemeanor charges. Normally prosectorial discretion is a good thing as it allows the District Attorney the freedom to decide how to best use the department’s resources, but in cases where the prosecutor is biased, against a certain group of victims or suspects, it can result in a prejudiced legal system that doesn’t help certain crime victims or more aggressively goes after certain types of suspects.
Unfortunately, when prosecutors are biased, there isn’t much legal recourse. Specific cases may end up getting appealed, but ultimately prosecutors can only be voted out by local residents. That means that if the prosecutor is acting biased in a way that the majority of voters are also biased, he might stay in office for years until public opinion changes. When it comes to the Tennessee prosecutor who doesn’t think gay people deserve domestic violence protections, this will probably be the case.
It’s worth remembering though that prosecutorial discretion will always vary from prosecutor to prosecutor, so even if prosecutors across the nation were hesitant to file domestic violence charges when they involved same sex couples, that would likely not be the case throughout most of California. In fact, anyone who suspects they may be accused of abusing their partner should contact a Solana Beach domestic violence defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with domestic violence or believe you may be accused of the crime, it is important to contact a Carmel Valley domestic abuse attorney like Peter M. Liss. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Image by Stanley Dai