15                          Cleveland, Ohio
16                          Monday, September 30, 1996
18               Speech given by ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET
19     RENO taken at the Justice Center Auditorium,
20     1200 Ontario, Cleveland, Ohio, at 2:00 o'clock
21     p.m., on Monday, September 30, 1996, and the
22     proceedings being taken down by Stenotype by
23     LORRAINE J. KLODNICK, RMR-CRR, and transcribed
24     under her direction.

 1              ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  I can't tell
 2     you how impressed I am and how much I respect
 3     you all for bringing such a group together today
 4     and for the willingness of those who are
 5     volunteering or who are prospective volunteers
 6     for your willingness to get involved.  Let me
 7     tell you why I think it's so important.
 8              In 1978 I became the State Attorney for
 9     Miami, Florida, for Dade County.  The medical
10     examiner asked me to send some interns over to
11     try to figure out why people had been killed in
12     the county for the previous 20 years.  We did a
13     study and 40 percent of the homicides in the
14     county over that period of time were related to
15     domestic violence, boyfriend/girlfriend,
16     husband/wife, ex-spouse.  We developed an LEAA
17     grant and established a domestic intervention
18     program that is still ongoing.
19              Over those years, the 15 years that I
20     served as the State Attorney, getting people
21     interested in doing something about domestic
22     violence was like pulling teeth.  Police
23     officers just write it off as domestic.  Judges
24     way before Judge Adrine's time were far less
25     interested.  Prosecutors trying to get them into

 1     domestic violence unit, I needed bulldozers.
 2              But talking to the victims and looking
 3     at the statistics made me realize how important
 4     it was.  We had a no drop rule that required
 5     that they had to talk to me before we would
 6     agree to drop the prosecution.  And I never had
 7     one ultimately disagree with me.
 8              In talking with them the pain came
 9     through and the frustration, the frustration
10     with the system, the system that revictimized
11     them as they went through the system, the system
12     that did not provide for appropriate sanctions
13     or for appropriate treatment.  And I became ever
14     more committed to the whole effort to do
15     something about domestic violence.
16              As I sat there and looked at the cases
17     you feel frustrated as a prosecutor.  I think
18     Stephanie would say the same thing, because you
19     know there's a lot of crime out there you can't
20     prevent, but you can prevent a murder, you can
21     prevent further assault if we interrupt the
22     cycle of violence and if we give people the
23     strength and the support and the caring
24     compassion that will enable them to come through
25     the system.  So this initiative is just so

 1     extremely important.
 2              Tomorrow is the beginning of National
 3     Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but my mother
 4     always told me that she didn't want to celebrate
 5     Mother's Day because she thought every day was
 6     Mother's Day.  So I think every day should be
 7     Domestic Violence Awareness Day and every month
 8     the same.
 9              What you have undertaken here in
10     Cleveland is so vitally important, to have
11     police working with prosecutors, working with
12     the courts in a comprehensive way, to have the
13     medical community involved is like a breath of
14     fresh air.  But there are others that should be
15     involved.
16              Teachers all so often are the people
17     who first determine that there is domestic
18     violence and teachers do not know what to do.
19     The child is crying in the corner of the room.
20     What happened?  She will hear the stories that
21     Ms. Alexandria talked about.  She will hear it
22     and not know where to go or what to do.  You've
23     got to develop an outreach to the public school
24     system.
25              Employers.  This past week ironically

 1     an employee came to me, a victim of domestic
 2     violence wanting to know what to do.  Employee
 3     assistance programs in major companies can be an
 4     extraordinarily important partner in this
 5     initiative.
 6              General practitioners.  Not just the
 7     emergency room, but the general practitioners of
 8     this community and the family practitioners have
 9     got to be educated ever more to recognize that
10     domestic violence is not a criminal justice
11     problem; it is a public health problem.
12              And all of us have got to be sensitized
13     because I suspect that there is not a person in
14     this room who has not from a friend or family
15     member seen the scars or the -- both the
16     emotional and physical of domestic violence.  It
17     is something that we cannot continue to
18     tolerate.  If you can't convince people of that,
19     then just point out to them that the child that
20     watches his father beat his mother comes to
21     accept violence as a way of life.
22              Unless we end violence in the home we
23     are never going to end it on the streets or in
24     the schools of this nation.  We have got to
25     interrupt the cycle where it starts.  Violence

 1     is a learned behavior and one of the best
 2     classrooms to date has been in the home.
 3              So what you undertake in your
 4     initiative here in Cleveland is just to be
 5     commended by everybody across the country and
 6     I'm going to go back and start spreading the
 7     word about what you're doing here.  My goal as
 8     Attorney General is to be a partner with
 9     communities across this nation, not to come in
10     to tell you how to do things or what to do, but
11     to ask how can we support you, how can we work
12     with you in developing a partnership against
13     domestic violence in this country.
14              In 1984, with a bipartisan effort on
15     the part of Congress resulted in a passage of
16     the Violence Against Women Act which provided
17     significant funding including violence
18     initiatives.  We will continue this effort.  It
19     goes through your state criminal justice agency
20     and is distributed across the state and you
21     should, if you have not already done so, get
22     yourself fully advised as to how that is
23     distributed.  Any suggestions you have as to
24     what we can do in Washington to work with you
25     more effectively, we need to know that.  The

 1     Violence Against Women Act also provided some
 2     tools that are important for practitioners who
 3     are involved in this effort.
 4              I used to be frustrated when I would
 5     see a victim of domestic violence come to
 6     Florida.  Violence would go back and forth one
 7     to the other federal taking over local on who
 8     had the jurisdiction.  Provisions in the
 9     Violence Against Women Act provide for
10     jurisdiction in certain cases.  We don't want to
11     take the case from the local prosecutor.  We
12     want to work with the local prosecutor to
13     determine what is in the best interest, who
14     should handle it, not who gets the credit, but
15     who could most effectively deal with a
16     particular crime concerning the differences in
17     jurisdiction.
18              There's also a provision that's
19     important that says if you're subject to a
20     protective order it is against the law, against
21     federal law to be in possession of a firearm.
22     Many states don't have that provision.  They
23     handle it in other ways.  But it is a tool that
24     can be very useful for local government if it is
25     needed.

 1              In all our governments we're trying to
 2     do the best to develop that partnership, through
 3     the COPS program.  We're not only getting police
 4     officers to the street to be designated
 5     community police officers, we're developing
 6     special initiatives that involved domestic
 7     violence recognizing, again, that when a police
 8     officer goes into a community with a high crime
 9     rate and becomes part of that community, a very
10     interesting phenomena happens.  First of all
11     people don't want to come out from behind their
12     doors.  They're frightened.
13              The community police officer gets in
14     there, works with other detectives, the
15     community becomes safer.  People start coming
16     out from behind their doors.  They come down to
17     the community center.  They become involved.
18     They talk about quality of life.  They want that
19     graffiti down.  They become a voice at city
20     hall.  But also the domestic violence pours into
21     the streets and police officers say that after
22     they've turned so many other issues around
23     domestic violence is often the most difficult
24     issue of all to deal with.
25              Those who propose to volunteer, may I

 1     say you're a little lower than the angels.  To
 2     have a busy law practice and to still be willing
 3     to do this is to me the example that should be
 4     set for all lawyers across this land.  When I
 5     came to the Department of Justice people said,
 6     but I'm a lawyer.  I work for the Federal
 7     Government.  I'm engaged in public service.
 8              Every one of us can do a little bit
 9     more.  I volunteer in the Community Dispute
10     Resolution Program in Washington in a public
11     school.  All of us can make a difference by
12     reaching out beyond our particular job to truly
13     make a difference.  I detected at first a
14     reluctance because people said I may have a
15     conflict, how can I be involved.  I may be
16     interviewing somebody who is being prosecuted by
17     the US Attorney's office.
18              We have found that working together we
19     can resolve any issue of conflict.  We can
20     provide for appropriate protections and we can
21     provide for appropriate training.  And I am so
22     gratified to hear what you're doing here in
23     terms of the training and supervision that you
24     are providing.  It is so critically important.
25              I think one of America's greatest

 1     problems is that people lack access to justice.
 2     The American Bar Association estimates that as
 3     many as 70 to 80 percent of the poor and working
 4     poor in this country do not have access to a
 5     lawyer.  That means that for too many the law is
 6     worth a little more than the paper its written
 7     on.  By your willingness to become involved, to
 8     make sure that there are advocates for those who
 9     are victims of domestic violence, you are
10     showing so many others that each one of us can
11     make a difference beyond the narrow confines of
12     our job.  I applaud you and let's go.  We can
13     make a difference.  You surely will.

 1                        CERTIFICATE
 2              I, LORRAINE J. KLODNICK, do hereby
 3     certify that as such Reporter I took down in
 4     Stenotypy all of the proceedings had in the
 5     foregoing transcript; that I have transcribed my
 6     said Stenotype notes into typewritten form as
 7     appears in the foregoing transcript; that said
 8     transcript is the complete form of the
 9     proceedings had in said cause and constitutes a
10     true and correct transcript therein.
14                  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
15                  Lorraine J. Klodnick, Notary Public
16                  within and for the State of Ohio
18     My commission expires June 28, 1997.