Releasing a suspect accused of dousing his pregnant girlfriend in lighter fluid then setting her on fire on $5,000 bond is no one’s idea of bail reform.
Before COVID-19 upended lives and economies, long before Joe Biden or even Donald Trump was elected President, life was already hard enough for economically disadvantaged women in America.
The wage gap, the glass ceiling, sexism and discrimination are only a few of the problems American women of all classes, races and backgrounds have faced and still face. We learned in the #MeToo era just how many women have suffered hostile work environments, sexual harassment and worse.
One in three women will experience violence at some point during her life.
Sexual assault, stalking, partner violence and domestic abuse; rape culture and the creeping commodification of the female body in Hollywood and beyond: Women face all this and more.
In all of it, women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are more vulnerable. They are more vulnerable to predation in general.
Without financial means or a support system- often intentionally deprived of resources and isolated- many women trapped in abusive relationships lack the means to escape.
For many survivors of domestic abuse, in particular women who lack financial and family resources, the legal system is their only hope of protection and salvation.
Women desperate enough to break away during what basically amounts to a slow-motion hostage crisis can call the police and the police will protect them.
Many victims of domestic violence refuse to cooperate with investigators for a variety of reasons. Cases brought against suspects in domestic violence cases do not usually require the victim to press charges; the prosecutor presses charges on behalf of the local authority. Without the testimony of the victim, however, the cases are much harder to prosecute if not impossible.
Often, abusers keep their victims compliant with threats: “Leave me,” the domestic abuser tells their terrified partner over, and over, and over again, “and I’ll kill you.”
It isn’t an idle threat. Far too many abusers do end up killing their victims, accidentally or intentionally; those victims who manage to escape and those who don’t. Many victims of domestic violence who manage to escape barely do so with their lives, sometimes only after coming very close to losing them.
For these terrified women, many with terrorized children in tow, the legal system is their last, most desperate hope. This time, from a hospital bed, the battered wife agrees to cooperate in the prosecutor’s case against her domestic abuser.
After police arrest a domestic abuser for attempted murder, or aggravated assault serious enough to land someone in intensive care, the survivor of domestic violence should be able to breathe a short sigh of relief. The worst, at least, is over.
With the abuser safely in jail awaiting trial, the victim can begin the arduous process of rebuilding, finding a place of safety- to hide, if necessary.
Except in too many many cities, that is no longer happening. Domestic abuse suspects are being released from jail almost immediately on shockingly low bonds, free to retaliate at will.
Long before Democratic mega-donor George Soros took a personal interest in criminal justice reform- deciding that getting progressive prosecutors elected in deep blue districts would be much easier than reforming the legal system- the system wasn’t perfect for women facing domestic abuse, far from it.
Should the crimes of the abuser fall just short of attempted murder or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the legal system would be hard pressed to keep a criminal suspect in a domestic case jailed. People can’t be prosecuted for what they might do; only what they’ve done.
In a situation like that, a victim could report her abuser to the police and have the abusive husband or partner back home within hours, angrier than ever.
The Soros end-run around the U.S. Constitution- elect local prosecutors who will refuse to prosecute certain laws, reduce or eliminate consequences for other laws, and enact bail reform measures without all the hassle and rigamarole of passing bail reform measures- seemed like a genius idea. The ultimate hack.
Too many people in U.S. prisons- just stop putting so many people in prison. Problem solved.
That refusing to put people in prison, even for violent crimes, would fail to reduce crime, even if it did reduce the prison population, didn’t occur.
Domestic violence hasn’t gone down as a result; it has gone up. Thanks to covid trapping victims home with their abusers, it is up even further.
Before Darryl Brooks drove his SUV intentionally into a Christmas parade, killing 11 and injuring 60, he tried to kill his girlfriend by running over her with his car. For this crime, Brooks was set a bail of $1,000.
Brooks wasn’t alone: 45 domestic violence suspects had their bail set at $1,000 or less during the same time period, according to Milwaukee court records. 10 of those committed additional felonies while out on bond.
A Detroit man posted bail to the tune of $5,000 after dousing his pregnant girlfriend with lighter fluid and setting her on fire. The police rescued the woman after an anonymous call informed them that a woman was being held against her will and tortured.
Criminals have been getting more and more brazen recently, there’s no question about it. California, already plagued by a major uptick in retail theft, has caught a glimpse of the next wave. As California retailers have taken precautions to protect themselves from theft attempts during business hours, thieves have managed to stay one step ahead.
Cutting out the middle man, they are roaming California’s rail yards with bolt cutters, opening cargo cars and stealing anything valuable; leaving empty boxes and rejected retail leavings as proof of their complete lack of regard for the California legal system and its agents.
Thieves in Chicago cleaned out the Burberry store on the Magnificent Mile twice in three days last week. The second time the store was hit, the group robbed a convenience store first; cleaning out the cash registers, then dumping the empty registers on the very lawn of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion before finishing their night at Burberry, Moose Knuckles and other popular high-end targets.
After the first robbery, Burberry hired a guard. She reported having been in the restroom at the time of the armed robbery.
Obviously these criminal suspects have no fear of Chicago law enforcement, to say nothing of a lone security guard making $20 an hour.
Criminals have been emboldened. The reason for their new attitude is simple enough: Even if the police do manage to arrest them, chances are they won’t be seeing any serious penalties as the local prosecutor will refuse to prosecute to the fullest, or any, extent of the law.
There are other criminal suspects being emboldened by these misguided attempts at criminal justice reform- violent ones.
If the victims of domestic violence can’t count on the U.S. justice system to prosecute their abusers, what hope do they have? Domestic violence is the lived reality of millions of American women.
Domestic violence is a serious crime. Thousands of women lose their lives every year at the hands of their partner or spouse. When their prime counter-measure- leaving their abuser- doesn’t work- who will protect them?
Does the legal system have no regard for domestic violence victims?
Isn’t their safety a priority on par with bail reform?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)