In my last post about the Topeka imbroglio, I wondered how vigorously the County DA would prosecute misdemeanor domestic battery cases after the city of Topeka dicriminalized misdemeanor domestic battery and forced the County DA’s hand (by his own admission). My conclusion: Not very. My assumption was that in cases in which charges are actually brought, defendants were likely to be offered fairly favorable plea bargains.
If they are, it won’t be by lawyers. Instead, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal, County DA Chad Taylor said that misdemeanor domestic battery cases will be
prosecuted by interns who are law school students.
They have completed their second year of law and completed 58 hours of classes, allowing them to receive temporary licenses to practice law.
The chief deputy district attorney is in charge of interns prosecuting domestic battery cases, and there is “substantial” time spent with the interns reviewing their legal pleadings and the disposition of cases, Taylor said.
Domestic battery cases are handled by four or five interns and two assistant district attorneys supervising them, he said. When a domestic battery case goes to trial, an assistant district attorney sits at the prosecution table to aid the intern by acting as a “second chair,” he said.