Elbert Flowers of San Francisco burned a girlfriend with the clothes iron in August 2003, but she refused to testify against him or cooperate with prosecutors, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Flowers, 27, thought he would get off easy. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to be sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attack.
It took 18 months of dogged, frustrating work by prosecutors, victims’ advocates, investigators and police officers to get the case to trial. Flowers then pleaded guilty. The Chronicle says the case marks something of a turning point for the District Attorney’s office, which had been criticized for its low number of domestic violence convictions. There were 101 convictions last year, District Attorney Kamala Harris’ first year in office, compared with 72 convictions in 2003. “The attention (to domestic violence cases) is unprecedented,” said Beverly Upton, executive director of the Domestic Violence Consortium. “It requires a lot of legal creativity,” Harris said of prosecuting domestic violence cases without a cooperative victim and with the new restrictions under a Supreme Court case.