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Domestic violence A legal tweak to save lives

It is surprising that New Hampshire’s criminal code has no “domestic violence” classification. If it did, the legal system might be able to prevent some horrible acts of domestic abuse.

Senate Bill 318, introduced by Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, would tag the term “domestic violence” onto the end of some criminal offenses committed against family members and romantic partners. For instance, a person convicted of first degree assault against a stranger would have “First Degree Assault” written into his criminal record, but a person convicted of the same offense against a spouse, child or romantic partner would have “First Degree Assault — Domestic Violence” written into his record.

Police and prosecutors say the paper trail this creates would help to identify and stop repeat abusers. It is information that could save lives. It is hard to think of a good argument against it.


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Spike said:

The editors call this legislation a mere "tweak," as Democrats describe each statutory whittling down of the Second Amendment the "closing of a loophole." In fact, you concede that existing laws are sufficient. You advocate a new law not because one is needed but to put yourselves on the right side of current fashion, perhaps to contrive to defend yourselves from nonsense Democrat allegations of a Republican "war on women." When we did something similar with "hate crimes," the result was not improvements in the justice system but to give leftie prosecutors cover to transfer rights from white people to black people even when black people play "The Knock-out Game" on white people (which is never a hate crime). Repeat convictions for "Assault" tell us exactly as much as repeat convictions for "Assault--Domestic Violence," and the details of the crimes are available for prosecutors who care about details. Finally, you rely on the gadfly canard, "If this bill could save Just One Life...." Please get real. "It is hard to think of a good argument against it"? The default is that a bill fails to become law if there is no good argument FOR it.
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January 16, 2014 8:38 am


What? UL editors are caving to liberal social engineering? You say that existing laws are adequate but somehow it is (fashionable) if we can add another social category to these crimes --- that being "domestic violence" - violence is violence - it doesn't/shouldn't matter if you are married or not. And please spare me the nauseating "if this could save just one life......" that is for the Norelli's and Hassan's and what's her name over in Portsmouth to proffer. And it also tells me that this so-called bill is ill thought out if that is the only rationale behind such legislation.
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January 16, 2014 12:19 pm

Chris Herbert said:

The first people bullies bully is family members; because these members are less likely to turn the assaults over to police and less likely to fight back. Same thing with drug addicts. They abuse their family members first last and always. Soucy's insight is a good one. This will improve the situation, in my opinion.
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January 16, 2014 1:47 pm


Wow! A democrat actually came up with something that makes good sense. This classification will assist the courts and cops when classifying issues with a subject.
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January 17, 2014 7:33 am

Mike Houst said:

Actually, speaking as an information system management professional, this is a poor idea. The first degree assault is already in the person's record, adding "domestic violence" to it does nothing to improve safety for anyone, inside or outside that person's household. An assualt is an assault, who the victim was is irrelevant. The domestic violence designation has no impact on police response, sentencing, or rehabilitation. At most, this makes every cop in the state a data collector for something that's likely to only ever be of academic study relevance. What this does is increase the amount of paperwork the police have to fill out, creates yet another point that can be misused to let offenders off the hook, or harass someone who doesn't meet the criteria for assault, and in either event, increases the overall cost of governing this state. Vote NO on Senate Bill 318.
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January 17, 2014 11:47 am


Agree wholeheartedly Mike Houst. the nature of the relationship is irrelavant - it's the crime and nature of the crime that is important. This is nothing more than "feel good" legislation.
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January 17, 2014 7:51 pm

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