SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A prosecutor wants to stop a Missouri judge’s domestic abuse court, alleging the judge didn’t follow proper procedure to set it up and then appointed his daughter and friends onto the program’s leadership team.
Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson filed a motion Monday asking the Missouri Court of Appeals’ Southern District to prohibit Judge Calvin Holden from running his domestic abuse court.
The appeals court directed Holden on Tuesday to hold off on any activities related to the bi-monthly treatment program for men convicted of domestic assault, until further notice, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Patterson alleges in the memo that the county’s domestic abuse court hasn’t been established as a “treatment court” under Missouri law, so Holden doesn’t have the authority to sentence offenders to participate in the rehabilitation program.
Patterson said he doesn’t oppose Holden requiring probationers to appear in court for case reviews. He objects to the domestic abuse court being used as an official treatment court, saying it’s rather “judicially supervised probation.”
Patterson also accused Holden of nepotism when appointing his daughter to the court’s team.
He wrote that Holden’s daughter “does not have any special qualifications with regard to domestic abuse cases but has a background in museology and grant administration.”
Holden said his daughter hasn’t attended any of the court team’s meetings, arguing that she’s only on the team in case the group wants to apply for a future grant.
The team’s positions are unpaid.
Holden said he doesn’t understand why he’s facing pushback for trying to solve the county’s rampant domestic violence issues.
The judge established the domestic abuse court in March 2018 as a way to put offenders under close supervision in an effort to prevent them from being repeat offenders and lower recidivism rates.
Participants in the program are required to maintain jobs or stay involved in vocational or educational programs.
“I’m just trying to help people not abuse women anymore,” Holden said.