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Stop Mandatory Arrest

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Stop Harmful Mandatory Arrest Laws

DV Mandatory Arrest Laws Are Harmful:

Each year the federal government spends $30 million to implement mandatory arrest policies.* These policies:

  1. Place victims at greater risk of violence – every year, about 600 Americans are killed as a result of mandatory arrest policies (1)
  2. Silence the many victims who want their abusers to get treatment, not a police record
  3. Trample on fundamental Constitutional rights of the accused
  4. Waste limited law enforcement resources and rob the true victims of needed protections

For these reasons, the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act wisely removed its mandatory arrest policy. But 6 years later, these states still have mandatory arrest policies on the books:

  • Allegations of assault: AK, AZ, CO, CT, DC, IA, KS, LA, ME, MS, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, and WA (21 states)
  • Allegations of violation of a restraining order: AK, CA, CO, DE, GA, HI, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MN, MS, MO, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT,VA, WA, WV, and WI (34 states)

Mandatory Prosecution Places Victims at Risk, as Well:

Mandatory prosecution (often called “no-drop” prosecution) harms victims, too. According to a national study of the effects of DV criminal justice policies:

“Increases in the willingness of prosecutors’ offices to take cases of protection order violation were associated with increases in the homicide of white married intimates, black unmarried intimates, and white unmarried females….The largest effect is for white married females across all six [time] waves. As the willingness index increases by one, the expected number of white wives killed nearly doubles.” (2)

Take Action Now:

Call Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy NOW! Tell him to make sure the upcoming reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act includes strong incentives to get these states to remove their mandatory arrest policies. These states need to re-establish the “probable-cause” standard for arrest — that’s what the Fourth Amendment says, and that’s what victims are demanding!

Contact Sen. Leahy TODAY:

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* The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution requires that “probable-cause” must exist before a person can be arrested. SAVE supports arrest when there is probable cause of violence. SAVE opposes mandatory arrest policies that ignore due process requirements.

(1) According to a Harvard University study, when states enact mandatory arrest policies, the intimate partner homicide rate increases by 57%. (Source: Iyengar R. Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic violence? Evidence from mandatory and recommended arrest laws. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2007.) This translates into 609 persons a year whose lives are lost due to mandatory arrest policies. (Source: SAVE. Arrest policies for domestic violence. 2010.

(2) Dugan L, Nagin D, Rosenfeld R. Exposure reduction or backlash? The effects of domestic violence resources on intimate partner homicide. Prepared under Grant No. 97-WT-VX-0004. 2001.