Over the past two years, the concern to appropriately sentence repeat domestic violence offenders has been a focus of the Washington State Attorney General's Domestic Violence task force, and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.1
Within the Attorney General's Domestic Violence task force, a sanctions work group for repeat offenders formed consisting of representatives from several county prosecutors' offices: Benton, Snohomish, Kitsap, Thurston, Spokane, Yakima, Pierce, Clark, and King; as well as representatives from the Attorney General's Office, University of Montana School of Law, Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, and other advocacy organizations.
The working group focused on repeat domestic violence felons and developed legislation to reform sentencing of repeat domestic violence felony offenders.2
The legislation described below has been adopted by the Attorney General's Office and by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys:
- The task force helped bring about the Assault 2 strangulation legislation among other domestic violence changes.
- The work group also examined several states that have aggravated punishment for cases with repeated prior incidences of domestic violence. Some states "stack" domestic violence offenses (increase penalties from misdemeanor to felony for repeated conduct) including: Alaska (§18.66.990, and 12.55), Alabama (§12-25-31), Arkansas (§5-26-303 to 309), Idaho (§18-918), Kansas (§12-3412), Louisiana (§14.35 and 14.79), Maryland (§14-101), Michigan (§750.81), Minnesota (§609.224), Mississippi (§97-3-7), Missouri (§565.070-074), Montana (§45-5-626), New Mexico (§31-18-15), Nevada (§200.485), North Carolina (§50B-4.1), Ohio (§2919.25), Oklahoma (§22.60.6), Texas (§22.01), Utah (§188.8.131.52), Virginia (§18.2). While some states also increase the class of the crime for repeat domestic violence offenders. See Missouri, New Mexico and Arkansas.
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