Last week I wrote that not every Domestic Violence Arrest involves a guilty defendant. I received many emails and calls from my article suggesting if someone was arrested they must be guilty. I know this would be my mother’s reasoning too. My readers felt that the police would not arrest an innocent party. Of course, the police wouldn’t make a false arrest …on purpose. However, it happens on a regular basis… or at least the victim wants the court to think that is the case.
You have to understand the police and DA are between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t arrest and prosecute, then if the abuser does it again and someone dies, the lawyer for the deceased may file a lawsuit against them for negligence. The argument would be if they did their job the abuser would be in custody or subject to a Restraining Order that would somehow have protected the victim.
The victim in these cases is often the spouse who continues to live with the party that hit her. She reasons they need the husband working to put food on the table as they are living month to month. Thus they sometimes represent to the lawyer, the DA or the court that nothing happened. The DA’s are reluctant to dismiss a case like this knowing the request to drop the charges is not necessarily because the incident did not happen, but rather for the family’s financial security.
Another similar case of mine was a well-respected woman, who was a “cutter” and worked for a large company in the CV. She told the police her husband hit her over the head and showed the police the red mark. She said she did not want him arrested but just wanted him out of the house. Again he was arrested and $50,000 bail was set.
The next morning the husband and wife showed up in my office. The wife explained she is a cutter and abuses herself and just wanted her husband out of the home that night and thus hit herself over the head with a frying pan. She paid his legal fees out of her business account.
I asked her to provide a declaration, and she agreed. I called my paralegal in and she took down the info from the wife and typed it up. The wife read it and said it was correct but she wanted to take it home to sleep on it. The next morning she called and said if this confession that admitted she was a cutter surfaced, she would be fired from her job.
I presented the DA with the unsigned declaration my paralegal had typed up along with my paralegal’s declaration that the victim gave this info to us. I included a copy of the wife’s retainer check. I included my declaration along with that of the paralegal which explained, under oath as an officer of the court, that the wife had read it and agreed the info was correct but wanted to sleep on it. I convinced the DA to drop the case.
These are examples of bad cases, but clearly not the majority of the cases that are righteous DV cases.
Remember: Silence is Golden and Handcuffs are Silver so DON’T TALK to POLICE without your lawyer’s permission.
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