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Minnesota Legislature

Domestic violence penalties

Published (2/24/2012)
By Mike Cook
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As part of a domestic assault in July 2011, a man in Hopkins held his wife against a wall by her chest and neck during an argument and then threw her to the floor.

Following the man’s arrest, Jason Hutchison, the prosecuting attorney for Hopkins, reviewed the man’s criminal history to see if he had been previously convicted of a qualified domestic violence-related offense that would have allowed Hutchison to start the case as a gross misdemeanor, rather than a misdemeanor.

Qualified domestic violence-related offenses include: murder; violating an order for protection, harassment restraining order or no-contact order; stalking; domestic assault; or criminal sexual conduct. Hutchison found none of these in the man’s past.

“What was brought to my attention by one of the police detectives was that this particular suspect had been convicted of female genital mutilation in 2000 for which he was on probation until 2001,” Hutchison told the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee Feb. 16.

Sponsored by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park), HF2149 would add to the list of a qualified domestic violence-related offense the crime of female genital mutilation against a family or household member.

Approved by the committee, the bill awaits action by the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee. A companion, SF1657, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

“People who commit acts of FGM, a felony, and are convicted for those acts, should have those convictions used against them when they perpetrate other acts of violence on their families and family members,” Hutchison said.

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