Domestic violence a key issue in race for solicitor general

Domestic violence a key issue in race for solicitor general

CANTON — Domestic violence is a complicated crime that requires that continuing safety for vic-
tims always remain the top priority, according to candidate for Cherokee County Solicitor General Todd Hayes.

“The most important thing is the safety of the victim,” Hayes said. “We had a stalking case that was so severe, it was clear that if the offender was not separated from the victim, it would have ended in death.”

In that instance, the stalker was hit with 20 misdemeanor domestic violence charges and a 10-year jail sentence, Hayes said.

Hayes participated in a forum Thursday at the Historic Cherokee County Courthouse downtown. Opponent Sarah Hobson, a Woodstock attorney, was invited to participate but declined, according to forum host Ashley Snow, deputy chief assistant district attorney.

The forum was sponsored by the Cherokee County Domestic Violence Task Force, which is a coalition of social service, law enforcement, advocacy organizations and concerned citizens.

Hayes told the dozens of audience members that the solicitor generals’ office handled 462 domestic violence cases last year and said his experience in handling these cases makes him the best candidate in the May 22 primary.

The reason domestic violence cases are complicated is that, “in every case they victim has been hurt by someone they love,” Hayes said.

For that reason, the level of cooperation in prosecutions from victims varies. Some are committed to prosecuting, while others quickly decide not to cooperate and want the case dropped.

While victim cooperation is helpful, attorneys in the solicitor’s office often prosecute cases when the victim does not assist them. Reasons that victims choose not to cooperate are understandable, Hayes said. They often love their abuser. Often the two have children together and victims have the ties of shared finances, or even has financial dependence on the abuser.

And, while it’s important to prosecute offenders, Hayes said the criminal justice system does work
toward and tries to foster rehabilitation. “It is appropriate to punish offenders,” Hayes said. “It is also appropriate to give offenders the chance to rehabilitate and reclaim their lives.”

Hayes is running to replace current Solicitor General Jessica Moss, who has endorsed the candidacy of her top deputy. Moss is retiring at the end of this year.

Citation Tribune Ledger News – April 29 2018

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