New Bill Alarms Domestic Violence Victims - 8 News NOW

Janine Gill, Reporter

New Bill Alarms Domestic Violence Victims

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Domestic violence happens every day in Clark County. A new bill being considered in Carson City will change the way some cases are handled. The bill being discussed has crisis workers here in Las Vegas concerned. They feel it weakens domestic violence laws in Nevada.

One out of every four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. But what helps empower them is making sure the batterer is justly punished. Domestic violence counselers fear a new bill may change that.

"It's a bad bill, it's wrong, we're sending out a message to people that are violent, that violence is okay," says Kathleen Brooks, the director of Safe Nest, a domestic violence assistance program.

The bill gives prosecuters discretion to negotiate domestic violence cases. It basically gives them power to plead out cases.

"They don't need anymore discretion as far as I'm concerned. They plea bargain, they drop cases," says Brooks.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger insists domestic violence cases are taken seriously, but he feels not everyone deserves the same type of punishment.

"There are some cases that something cries out for less than strictest punishment and that's why prosecuters should have discretion," says Roger.

Domestic violence is a misdeameanor crime for the first two times. If convicted a third time, it's a felony. But crisis workers say if the crime is plea bargained to a lesser charge, it sends out the wrong message.

"What it says to the perpetrator is the same thing, it's a joke, you know I can batter my wife and I can get away with it," says Brooks.

While Roger endorses giving more discretion to prosecuters, he is not officially endorsing the bill because he disagrees with other portions of it. The bill is being sponsored by a group of municipal court judges in Northern Nevada.

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