Legal Desert: The recent federal reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act brings front and center yet another major New Mexican problem: some rural counties don’t have a single private practice attorney. Even Las Cruces’ county only has 324 lawyers – compared to Albuquerque with over three thousand lawyers. Places with none or few lawyers are known as a “legal desert”.
Restorative Justice?: Taylor claims that for people (who are not cisgendered straight males) who are afraid to call the police for help, “restorative justice can enable a victim to bypass the legal system.” In the article, Taylor did not explain what “bypassing the legal system” means.
In the late 1970’s, “restorative justice” meant having a meeting between the victim and the offender, sometimes with other community members, to discuss who was harmed by the crime and come up with a way for the offender to make amends, such as financial payment, apologies, and other actions to compensate and to prevent future conflicts. According to the Restorative Justice Legislative Directory created in 2014 it’s been frequently adopted across the country.
Leftist scam: Taylor claims that when members of a group of ex-cons who went through a restorative justice process were released, some of them now run restorative justice organizations. But what does this approach have to do with domestic and sexual violence?
Also, the new version of the Violence Against Women Act expands funding for the program to include men who identify as a woman and changes the label “domestic violence” into “gender-based” violence.
A real solution: The fundamental problem, according to Stephen J. Schulhofer and David D. Friedman, is “the fact that…the person who has the most at stake is allowed no say in choosing the professional who will provide him one of the most important services he will ever need.”
This problem “is compounded by an acute conflict of interest: the official who selects his defense attorney is tied, directly or indirectly, to the same authority that is seeking to convict the defendant.”
They propose a voucher system that would, “so far as possible, function in the same way that the existing market functions for affluent defendants who are able to retain their own counsel.”