COUNTY IS OVERWHELMED
March 12, 2009
By Megan Twohey
Frederick Goings was charged with domestic battery for allegedly choking Angela McClinton. He was later accused of punching Susanna Cornish, sending her to the hospital. The Chicago attorney also reportedly threatened to kill a family member of Nova Henry.
Each three incidents might have signaled the Cook County state’s attorney’s office that Goings was a risk of slaying an intimate partner and deserved attention from a special team of prosecutors. Though Goings was charged six times in domestic violence cases, he was charged six times in domestic violence cases, he was never flagged for aggressive action.
Last month, he was charged with the murders of Henry and an infant daughter fathered by former Chicago Bull Eddy Curry. They were found slain Jan. 25 in Henry’s South Loop townhouse.
The case, experts say, illustrates how difficult it is to target domestic violence offenders deemed among the most dangerous. Threat assessments built into the process don’t always work in an overtaxed legal system that handles 19.000 domestic abuse cases each year in Cook County.
Launched in 1997 to identify and actively pursue the most serious misdemeanor domestic violence cases, the state’s attorney’s Target Abuser Call, or TAC, program has won high praise. Each case handled be a team of prosecutor’s, investigator’s and victim advocates.
Prosecutor’s say convictions in cases handled by the unit have soared to as high as 73 percent. Going was among those receiving the regular form of prosecution, where conviction rate is a dismal 17 percent, officials said.
Records show that only one of the six domestic abuse cases did Going’s receive court sanction, when he pleaded guilty to assault and reckless conduct for an attack on McClinton and a male companion. he was sentenced to 2 years probation.
Advocates say TAC does not have the resources to go after all the offenders tagged as potentially dangerous……the program was pursuing 30 of 90 offenders identified each week as being high risk of committing murder.
According to TAC guidelines, prosecutors should consider whether an offender has a history of domestic violence, caused injury, threatened to kill the victim or members of the victim’s family or used a gun when making threats.
I personally prefer using the word strangle instead of choke…but here is the rest.
Choking a victim is one of the most important risk factors prosecutors should look for, although there is no no strict check list……
TAC investigators visit victims within 48 hours of the reported crime, explain options for then prosecution and collect additional evidence. Unlike regular domestic violence cases, TAC prosecutors remain in charge of their cases from start to finish.
Victim advocates maintain more contact with the victim.