Judge Rules Court Can Hear IDV Cases

October 4, 2012 Updated Oct 4, 2012 at 12:56 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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October 4, 2012 Updated Oct 4, 2012 at 12:56 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - A judge has decided what will happen to the special Integrated Domestic Violence Court in Erie County.

Back in August, District Attorney Frank Sedita said he would not prosecute misdemeanors and violations transferred to the IDV Court past August 24th if the defendant was not indicted.

The judge, however, ruled that the District Attorney's office has the authority to prosecute these cases in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court.

The IDV court specializes in domestic violence cases that are also linked to family and/or marital hearings.

Advocates say it's important for all of these cases and hearings to be heard by one judge, who understands all of the different components of the case.

However, Sedita, who calls the court "ineffective" says his office just does not have the resources to have prosecutors assigned to IDV cases. He explains "I already have prosecutors handling them in other courts, and those men and women can't be in two places at once. They can't be in the 38 different local and town courts, in the domestic violence court part and the Erie County domestic violence part and the Integrated Domestic Violence part."

Those who have gone through the court system say the Integrated Domestic Violence Court is very important. Susan Still, who survived abuse and went through the IDV system, says "It especially looks out for the innocent people in this situation, which would be the children. The IDV court allows for the monitoring of the abusers to make sure that they are doing the things that they've been mandated to do."

The case this controversy surrounds is going to a grand jury.

Sedita says if a grand jury comes back with an indictment, his office will prosecute it.

However, if not, the judge rules that she will have to find a special prosecutor.

Sedita says he disagrees with a special prosecutor handling these cases. He believes this issue will end up being heard in a higher court.

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