Holmes Backtracks on Domestic Violence

The City Attorney has put off his pledge to make victims' advocates independent of his office.

When City Attorney Pete Holmes was running for office last year, it seemed as if he thought incumbent Tom Carr could do no right.Holmes' portrayal of his opponent as a heavy-handed, inflexible, behind-closed-doors kind of guy helped feed the backlash against Carr, who'd already won the enmity of nightclub owners and others who saw him as a sneakier version of his controversial predecessor, Mark Sidran. (That was before City Council member Tim Burgess, with his anti-panhandling proposals, openly became the new Sidran.)Now that Holmes is in office, however, he's backtracking on at least one callfor change.Holmes had pledged to remove advocates for domestic-violence victims from his office to ensure they would work independently and serve the best interests of victims rather than prosecutors.Holmes began raising the issue in the latter stages of his campaign, and it became the subject of hot debate. He said that the advocates sometimes push for "no-contact" orders that victims don't want or need. In fact, he said, such orders, which prevent couples from seeing each other, can harm families living on the economic edge.Carr equated Holmes' stance with being soft on domestic violence. "It really scares me," Carr said at the time.If so, Carr can rest easy. In an interview last week, Holmes claimed that during the campaign, he'd only said "we should consider" moving the advocates out of the city attorney's office. Since then, he says, he's talked with the advocates and realized that their independence, or lack thereof, is "the least of our problems." He did not offer further explanation, but added: "Institutions can only handle so much change at one time."

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