Nancy Simpson


In order to combat the massive threat that domestic violence poses to pub-
lic safety, prosecutors’ offices across America have enacted no-drop policies
requiring prosecutors to seek a guilty verdict on all domestic violence cases.
However, for many and varied reasons, victims of domestic violence are often
hesitant to testify against their abusers in court proceedings. Evidence-based
prosecution, sometimes called victimless prosecution, has become the goal
for many prosecutors seeking to hold abusers accountable when the victim
does not want to testify. However, there can be practical barriers to success-
ful evidence-based prosecutions, which, when combined with strict no-drop
policies, leave prosecutors no option but to force reluctant victims to testify.
This article discusses the interplay between well-intentioned no-drop poli-
cies, the practical limitations to evidence-based prosecution, and the effects
of these policies on the victims they seek to protect.