Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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A good criminal defense attorney connects with his clients on more than one level. There is the objective analysis of the facts that must be done without regard to emotions. In order to evaluate a case properly, a good attorney needs to look dispassionately at all the facts and circumstances involved. He needs to know the law and how the facts fit into the law. He also needs to know exactly what the prosecutor has to prove in order to win, which is why being a former prosecutor can big a big advantage.

In establishing the facts and circumstances of the alleged crime, the attorney also must establish a relationship with the client and the client’s family. This is where the emotional involvement comes into play. The case is made up of more than just facts. It is made up of a human being with all that entails. A good attorney needs to care about his client. He worries about the client as a person. He has concerns about more than just getting the client “off”. In almost every crime there is an underlying problem and the lawyer worries about his client getting well.

If substance abuse is involved, the lawyer worries about the client obtaining treatment and getting well. If the client is going to jail, what is going to happen to his family while he is away? How will he pay his fines? His bills?

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Mrs. Jones calls the police and says Mr. Jones hit her. The police come and arrest him for domestic violence. Later Mrs. Jones changes her mind and says it didn’t happen and she won’t testify. What will happen?

The prosecutor can still proceed with his case against Mr. Jones by subpoenaing Mrs. Jones to court and forcing her to take the stand. Assuming she was telling the truth originally, she doesn’t have a privilege not to testify against her husband. If she refuses to testify, the District Attorney would seek to introduce her previous statements against the defendant. If Mrs. Jones said it didn’t happen, the DA could use the statements as prior inconsistent statements to convict Mr. Jones. Mrs. Jones could potentially face a perjury charge (lying under oath), however that is virtually never done. If Mrs. Jones refuses to testify at all and the judge finds she has no legal excuse for not testifying, she could be held in contempt of court and fined or jailed. Again, this almost never happens.

If Mrs. Jones wants to say the violence never happened but is afraid of perjury, she should consult a criminal defense attorney so he can say she as a legitimate reason for refusing to testify (self incrimination). If the prosecutor wants to proceed he would have to get a superior court judge to grant Mrs. Jones immunity.

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