At the Hoffinger Criminal Justice Forum on January 23, Professor Holly Maguigan, who teaches the Comparative Criminal Justice: Focus on Domestic Violence Clinic, delivered a talk, "True or False? Domestic Violence is a Crime Like Any Other Crime. False."
Maguigan, an expert on the criminal trials of battered women, described the evolution of her thinking from her past belief that prosecutors were too slow to adopt the idea that domestic violence was not only a crime but also a crime unlike any other, to her current stance that policymakers and prosecutors now treat it as a crime unlike any other in ways that are “wrongheaded and dangerous.” She gave an overview of the history of interventions by law enforcement, summarized the critiques of those interventions, and discussed whether there was reason for optimism.
To help illustrate the complications, Maguigan cited a study of domestic violence-related homicides indicating that such anti-domestic violence measures as mandatory arrest policies, increased prosecution of violated protection orders, and increased legal advocacy resources often affect one victim demographic positively while, in another population, the death toll rises: “We have policies that look neutral that have these impacts that we know are not felt equally.”