This publication documents how New York City’s domestic violence cases are handled at each stage of the criminal justice process, from pretrial to sentencing. Relying on data from cases arraigned in 2012, 2013, and 2014, the publication serves as a companion piece to an earlier work that examined the path of all New York City cases—without specifically isolating domestic violence. The current study seeks to answer questions such as: to what extent do prosecutors decline to prosecute domestic violence cases; how often do judges release domestic violence defendants on their own recognizance or set bail, and based on which factors; to what extent are release and sentencing decisions informed by risk; and how do decisions and outcomes vary based on race, ethnicity, and gender?
- More than 30,000 domestic violence cases were processed annually in New York City. Over a two-year follow-up period, 36 percent of the defendants were re-arrested, and 17 percent were re-arrested for domestic violence.
- Almost four in five misdemeanor domestic violence defendants were released on recognizance pretrial, a similar outcome to other, less violent misdemeanor defendants. Among felony domestic violence defendants, two in five were released on recognizance.
- Slightly more than half of those misdemeanor domestic violence defendants who were classified with a “high” or “very high” risk of a future arrest for domestic violence were nonetheless released on recognizance during the pretrial period. Conversely, almost a third of felony domestic violence defendants classified “low risk” had to make bail.