Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 7. Judicial Responses

Section 6 — Are defendants who don't show up in court more at risk for reabusing than those who do?

The Chicago study found that no-show defendants prosecuted by a specialized prosecution team had a significantly greater number of post-arrests than those that showed (0.78 vs. 0.46). [107] While this has not been examined elsewhere, in a Berkeley arrest study, researchers similarly documented that having a pending warrant at the time of the domestic violence incident was a significant predictor of reabuse. [228] The Quincy, Mass., arrest study also found that suspects who flee the scene before police arrived were significantly more likely to reabuse than those arrested at the scene. [23]

Implications for Judges

If defendants default in court prior to sentencing, judges should consider them higher risk for reabuse for purposes of bail, fashioning civil orders and sentencing. (Research basis: Although only one study looked at this issue directly, several others found the same association between defendant conduct and reabuse pre-prosecution.)

Date Created: June 5, 2009