Domestic Violence Case System Faulted In Seattle


Seattle’s system of handling domestic violence cases is advanced but still has serious gaps, says a new report. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the problems identified range from inadequate police reports to a lack of clear guidance on how to confiscate firearms from convicted batterers. The assessment was assembled by law and court agencies that work together as the Seattle Domestic Violence Council. “Seattle has a terrific domestic-violence system compared to everybody else in the country, but despite that, we’re not quite there yet,” City Councilman Richard Conlin said.

Researchers examined police reports and municipal court case files, interviewed officers, spoke with domestic-violence advocates, went on ride-alongs with patrol officers, and viewed court hearings.

Several examples turned up of offenders with a history of abusing; the council said most weren’t punished at a level believed serious enough to match the violence of the crimes.

Municipal Court Judge Ron Mamiya took issue with data in the report, saying researchers did not look at enough cases. The city’s Municipal Court handles about 1,600 domestic-violence cases annually, he said, but researchers examined just 46 to draw their conclusions. “I disagree with the methodology and conclusions, particularly with respect to the Municipal Court being soft on domestic-violence crimes,” Mamiya said.


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