Mandatory Arrest: A Step Toward Eradicating Domestic Violence, but Is It Enough?
Marion Wanless | 1996 U. Ill. L. Rev.
While the trial of O.J. Simpson has brought increased media attention to the epidemic of domestic violence in the United States, the problem is neither new nor isolated. In fact, up on one-third of all women can expect to suffer physical abuse at the hands of a man with whom they have had a relationship. Those who are strong enough to fight back are often faced with an inadequate response from police, prosecutors, and courts. To remedy this situation, several states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws mandating the arrest of men accused of abuse. The author of this note evaluates the role of mandatory arrest laws in the fight against domestic violence. She examines the circumstances that have led to the enactment of these laws and analyzes possible challenges to mandatory arrest. She also examines the strengths and weaknesses of the various mandatory arrest laws currently in force. Finally, she concludes that mandatory arrest can be very effective if it is part of a comprehensive response to domestic violence by the criminal justice system.