On October 2nd the City of Las Vegas announced that it will stop charging people with misdemeanour domestic violence after Nevada Supreme Court’s decision allowing defendants in such cases a jury trial.
“It’s about 10-steps backwards for domestic violence victims within the city of Las Vegas right now,” said Liz Ortenburger, CEO of the domestic violence prevention advocacy group SafeNest. The city will start prosecuting those domestic violence cases as simple battery, which puts domestic violence victims in greater danger.
Las Vegas Municipal Court is currently handling around 5,000 misdemeanour domestic violence cases each year, typically processed via trails by a judge. Local and state officials have mentioned that the high court’s decision will most probably cause drastic changes to Nevada’s Justice System since the municipal courts are ill-equipped to handle any jury trials, let alone hundreds each month. John Piro, chief deputy Clark County public defender, said:
“the moves show that municipal governments want to keep those cases in their courts rather than allow the local justice courts to take on the jury trials for which they are more equipped.”
“They are bending over backwards to deny people their constitutional right to maintain their fine and fee structure.” Interestingly, Nevada ranks as at the top of states when it comes to to the rate of domestic violence killings.