Connecticut’s domestic violence court dockets combine strict supervision, pretrial programs, victim advocacy and defendant accountability, says the Hartford Courant. The payoff can be a suspended sentence and eventual dismissal of charges if the defendant takes responsibility and cleans up his or her life. The program, begun a decade ago, is now in seven judicial districts. There are about 6,000 cases pending on those dockets statewide; 70 percent of the defendants are male.
“It’s all about accountability,” said Judge Thomas O’Keefe. Defendants not only have to want to change, they have to change to earn a more lenient sentence, he said. The key is stricter supervision of cases, which includes contact with victims and defendants, said Elizabeth Moseley, main prosecutor in the New Britain, Ct., docket since its start in 2006. Each week’s cases are discussed by a team consisting of her and representatives from adult probation, family relations, victim advocates, and other court support services. “You have to earn your place on the domestic docket,” Moseley said. “It’s all about taking responsibility and being accountable for your actions. Much of the violence in these cases is witnessed by children. That’s serious.”