Background and Observations on Domestic Violence (DV) Cases
The Paradigm Shift From Laxness to No Tolerance
One of my judicial specialties is domestic violence cases. Every day, I deal with 5-10 DV cases.
In the last 40 years there has been huge paradigm shift in how DV cases are prosecuted.
When I was a Deputy District Attorney (DA) we always acquiesced to the wishes of the victim. If the victim wanted the charges dropped, we dismissed the case. Even if the victim suffered severe injuries. Even if the victim was regularly treated like a punching bag.
After the O.J. Simpson domestic murder case, the pendulum swung in the other direction. Police always make an arrest at the scene even if the victim begs them not to. The DAs always file the case even though the victim wants the charges dropped. The DAs always request a full Protective Order forcing the husband and father to move from the home, even when the victim is opposed.
We now recognize that DV cases are potential homicides. Plus, we have learned that children who grow up in DV homes often revert to domestic violence themselves.
Most DV Defendants are Men
The majority of perpetrators of domestic violence are men, and the majority of victims are women. Same sex marriage had resulted in more cases of same sex domestic violence.
Most DV Cases Occur During Evening
Most domestic violence occurs in the evening. The husband comes home from a hard day of work, and/or has too much to drink, and then he takes out his frustration on his wife physically. Police, paramedics, and emergency room doctors are vigilant during this time.
He “Couldn’t Control His Actions” Defense
Some defense attorneys argue that the defendant could not control his actions due to medication. There are cases of “roid rage,” where prolonged use of steroids triggers violence. But that is rare. I ask the defense attorneys, “Has you client been beating people at work?” If he was truly out of control, he wouldn’t be able to focus his anger only on his spouse after work. .
Memorable Case: Wife Super Glued Her Husband’s “Member”
When I was a young DA, the police bought a unique case to me for filing where a wife super-glued her husband’s private part.
The husband was a mean person. He was ever meaner when he was drunk.
He came home after work, got drunk, and brutally beat his wife into unconsciousness. She awakened hours later. She saw that he had passed out on the bed lying naked on his back.
She grabbed a tube of super glue his “member” to his abdomen. She then quickly packed a suit case and split.
Later, half drunk, the husband staggered into the bathroom, to urinate. He was startled when he looked down and the pee shot him in the face. He was horrified to see that his “private part,” appeared to be looking up at him. He staggered to the phone and dialed 911.
The paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital. There, the doctors medically separated his “Peter” from his abdomen.
The police brought the case to me for filing. These male officers didn’t want me to file against the husband for felony domestic violence assault for beating his wife into unconsciousness. Instead, they wanted me to file against the wife for felony mayhem.
I declined. I thought the husband got what he deserved. The wife’s injuries were much more severe. Plus, she could have really mutilated her husband while he was vulnerable if she wanted to. Justice was served as far as I was concerned.
After explaining my decision, I told the officers that I would not be offended if they tried to get another DA to file the case. I don’t think they did.
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