Rise in domestic violence arrests concerns Kane state's attorney
Kane County felony arrests in 2015 continued their downward trend, decreasing 8 percent from 2014 and dropping an overall 41 percent from the high water mark in 2009.
But new misdemeanor domestic violence charges increased from 1,214 in 2014 to 1,219 in 2015, which Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said is worrisome. And prosecutors charged 208 felony domestic violence cases, an increase of 7 percent from 2014.
"We have not seen a decrease in (domestic) crime. Domestic violence has been fairly consistent over the years," McMahon said Tuesday at his monthly media meeting during which his office's annual report was spotlighted. "The fact that it's flat or trending slightly upward is contrary to other areas of crime."
McMahon is quick to note domestic violence can and has led to most homicides in Kane County.
Two notable murder cases resolved last year, according to the annual report, stemmed from domestic issues: Shadwick King of Geneva was sentenced to 30 years in prison for strangling his wife, Kathleen, in July 2014 in a jealous rage after learning she was emotionally involved with another man; and Latoya Baines of Batavia was sentenced to 25 years in prison after admitting to stabbing her former boyfriend to death in 2012, believing he made advances on another woman.
McMahon's annual report touched on several highlights from last year, including a study that showed only 8 percent -- or one in 12 people -- who successfully completed the county's Pretrial Diversion Program for first-time, nonviolent felony offenders, was arrested within a three-year period of completing the program.
McMahon's office also has pretrial diversion programs for first-time domestic violence offenders and low-level felony drug offenders. He hopes to study the recidivism rates for those, but is still looking for a research partner to assist with the study the way Aurora University did for the Pretrial Diversion study.
McMahon said he would be surprised if the domestic violence recidivism rates were as low as 8 percent.
"(Domestic violence) is a behavior that is learned from generations. Undoing that behavior is a little more complex," he said.