We asked Jennifer Meckna from the Douglas County Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit (DVPU) to share a success story of how they collaborate with other agencies to hold offenders accountable.
There are many success stories to share from domestic violence cases. However, when analyzed with an emphasis on the importance of collaboration among agencies to succeed in obtaining effective and appropriate prosecutions of domestic violence offenders, there’s one that stands out. In January 2011, a suspect assaulted his soon to be ex-wife with whom he had children. He was arrested and charged with domestic violence assault, third degree (DVA3). The victim also reported that the defendant had been stalking her. With the assistance of the Victim Witness Unit and the Protection Order Office, the victim obtained a protection order. While out on bond for the DVA3, the defendant violated the protection order at two least times in March 2011. Law enforcement secured a quick arrest, which then led to convictions on the DVA 3 and the two protection order violations. The defendant was sentenced to jail for violations of protection order and then required to serve a term of probation for the DVA3.
As soon as he was placed on probation, the victim specialist from the probation office had immediate contact with the victim and remained in constant communication with her whenever concerns arose regarding his behavior. This communication helped maintain her trust and willingness to report additional criminal conduct. The victim reported an additional violation of protection order while the defendant was on probation, and immediate action was taken. Law enforcement effectuated an immediate arrest, after which he remained in custody for an extensive period of time, including a 20 month sentence rendered in September 2012. He has since stayed away from her.
Holding domestic violence offenders accountable is our primary goal in the DVPU, and it is through collaboration within the system that we can most effectively achieve this together.