Not every Domestic Violence (DV) police call and subsequent arrest has merit. Sometimes there are false accusations made by a spouse to gain leverage in a soon to be filed or already filed divorce /child custody case. The accusations are usually made by the wife and sometimes they are just used as “banked” leverage for a possible future contest. Most DV claims have merit and I by no means condone domestic violence. However we must be aware that this happens.
I had a case where a couple had rented at Marriott Desert Springs Villas and arrived with their two kids and nanny. They had reservations across the street at Morton’s at 6pm. They ordered a pizza across the street and checked on it 3 times and it had not arrived when they left for dinner 400 yards away. They ordered the large “bone in” steak for two. Aggravated from the pizza disappointment, the husband did not eat much and asked for a doggy bag. He then ordered a shot of Louis 13 which was $125 and his wife complained “how can you spend $125 on one shot.” He chugged the drink and left his card for his wife to sign. He waited in the car.
His wife opened the door and said “I bet you forgot the friggin doggy bag.” He reached down by his right foot and picked up the doggy bag. He intended to show her the bag but instead hit her in the left eye with the “bone in” bag. Her eye began to swell and he kissed it and apologized as they returned to the villa where he went to bed.
His wife put ice on her eye and called her best friend who was married to a lawyer. She said “in case you ever want to file for divorce it would be nice to have a record of your husband hitting you,” and suggested the wife call the police to make a report. She told the front desk she wanted to contact the police to make a report but not have the police come out.
The wife explained she just wanted a report and not have him arrested. Once the police are called they must arrest and bail is automatically set at $50,000. After getting declarations that I presented to the DA the case was not filed.
Ever since the OJ Simpson case the police have automatically arrested the defendant when they are called on a domestic battery. Nicole Simpson had called West LA police many times and when they saw it was OJ they let him go back in the house. Now police worry that if they let the abusive spouse back in the house and s/he harms the spouse again they could be sued for negligence in not doing their job and thus causing injury or death.
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 was going to pay 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 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. My declaration along with that of the paralegal 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 not to file the case.
These are examples but clearly not the majority of the cases that are righteous DV cases.
REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED
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