Recently, the city of Mesa, Arizona announced that it will be opening a new domestic violence court focused specifically on the most serious domestic violence cases that come through the city’s court system. According to the city government, the new court is opening in response to a rise in domestic violence homicides between 2020 and 2021, and it will aim to offer services to both victims and defendants so that the rate of domestic violence in the city can begin to decrease. While the impacts of the new court, which opens July 7, are yet to be seen, the city’s announcement does provide important information for defendants facing domestic violence charges.
The court will employ a variety of tactics that are not currently in use by the city court system as it stands. For example, when imposing sentences, the court will use not only prison time but also counseling and rehabilitation so that defendants can work through any issues that the court thinks they might be facing. These sanctions will include frequent check-ins between defendants and the domestic violence court, meaning defendants will have to report on their progress in counseling and other rehabilitative programs as often as the court deems necessary.
The court will also impose deferred jail sentences for defendants who are found guilty of domestic violence. These sentences require defendants to go through certain programs before they have to report to prison, and if the defendants fail to comply with the terms that the court has imposed on them, they can be imprisoned as a result.