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No-Drop Policies in the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases: Guarantee to Action or Dangerous Solution?

NCJ Number
Fordham Law Review Volume: 63 Issue: 3 Dated: (December 1994) Pages: 853-881
A Corsilles
Date Published
29 pages
A "no-drop" policy denies the victim of domestic violence the option of freely withdrawing a complaint once formal charges have been filed; this note examines no-drop policies, explores the impetus for their adoption, and evaluates the policies' claimed merits and drawbacks.
Part I examines different types of no-drop policies and surveys the jurisdictions that have instituted them or addressed their adoption. Part II explores the reasons that underlie the adoption of no-drop policies, and Part III assesses the policies' claimed benefits and risks. Finally, Part IV argues that the merits of no-drop policies outweigh their drawbacks and calls for States to enact measures that promote their adoption. This note concludes that no-drop policies can play an important role in combatting domestic violence, because they account for victims' realities, counteract longstanding justifications for inaction, and transform the statutory promise of justice for battered women into a credible threat of prosecution for their batterers. By dismissing cases simply because a victim requests it, prosecutors allow batterers to extend their power and control into the courtroom. No-drop policies have been used in a number of jurisdictions throughout the country and have achieved positive changes in the attitudes of victims and justice personnel concerning the role of criminal prosecution in combatting domestic violence. No-drop policies close the gap between the statutory promise of protection for battered women and the justice they receive. 208 footnotes


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