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Domestic Violence as a Crime against the State: The Need for Mandatory Arrest in California

Machaela M. Hoctor
California Law Review
Vol. 85, No. 3 (May, 1997), pp. 643-700
DOI: 10.2307/3481154
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3481154
Page Count: 58
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Domestic Violence as a Crime against the State: The Need for Mandatory Arrest in California
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Abstract

Despite the fact that domestic violence is a crime, law enforcement officers often fail to arrest batterers, occasionally with lethal consequences. This suggests that criminalization is an inadequate response to domestic violence unless legislators also enact laws to facilitate arrest. Although some states have made needed reforms in this area, California has lagged behind the national trend. This Comment proposes that California enhance law enforcement's response to domestic violence by abolishing the warrant requirement for all misdemeanor domestic assaults not observed by an officer and enacting a mandatory arrest law targeting the primary physical aggressor in domestic assaults. The author contends that such legislative measures are needed to lay an effective foundation for a coordinated community response that will provide better protection for victims of domestic violence.

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