The Iowa Department of Justice is urging Iowa lawmakers to significantly increase the penalty for attempted strangulation in a domestic situation. Under current law attempted strangulation is considered a simple misdemeanor if it does not result in serious injury, but Deputy Attorney General Thomas Henry Miller says the act is violent enough it should be classified as a felony.
"The man can strangle a woman within a few seconds from death or loss of consciousness and that’s an extremely cruel form of control," Miller says. "And where that is prosecutable and provable, we feel it should be treated as a felony in order to deter the escalation of extremely serious violence in the home." Miller says if the law is changed, someone convicted of the crime could face up to ten years in prison rather than just 30 days in jail.
"We feel that incapacitating someone who’s demonstrated an ability to come close to killing another person, putting them somewhere where they can’t do that is a good thing," Miller says. However, key legislators say they’re worried the proposal is too broad and the penalty is too severe for cases in which there’s not a serious injury. Strangulation is the second-leading cause of death in domestic situations.