Persons accused of domestic violence have right to hearing

by Walter Olson on November 14, 2009

That’s a more controversial proposition than you might think; the Connecticut Supreme Court was split 5-2 in agreeing that a hearing was necessary to confirm the validity of a protective order against a defendant who has been accused but not convicted. The case pitted the state ACLU against the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [Connecticut Law Tribune via Amy Alkon]

{ 12 comments }

1 William Nuesslein 11.15.09 at 7:52 am

Scientists know about the problem of generalizing from incidents and anecdotes. There are tons of domestic violence calls each day, and some involve murder. Certainly the State has an obligation to try to minimize the carnage.

But we have to ask ourselves whether the risks justify the level of intrusion of the State into family matters. There are roughly 20,000 homicides in the United States each year, and about 2,000 of those are spousal and 75% of those are guys killing gals. (That 25% is not insignificant. I kept guns out of my house because my wife was a good shot.)

If you are married, you know first hand that the person with the greatest opportunity to drive you nuts is your spouse. Sometimes they do even if there is substantial love in the relationship. It’s a matter of exposure. The correct conclusion from the statistics is that mature relationships seem to calm the savage breast.

No rational judge wants to pilloried as was Judge Duckman, and they issue restraining orders like confetti at a wedding and overstate the risk of males.

2 Deborah 11.15.09 at 8:04 pm

Statistically, over 68% of DV charges are bogus, tools for divorce
lawyers and custody battles. This insanity has to STOP.

3 nevins 11.15.09 at 8:20 pm

“Victims should be protected,” said Anne C. Dranginis, of Hartford’s Rome McGuigan. “In many of these cases, victims have suffered trauma or fear and are trying to calm down children.”

Indeed, victims should be protected. But for there to be a victim as judged by the court, then there is a decree from the court that a specific individual is the victimizer. And this individual has been judged and denied specific rights and freedoms just as surely as had she or he been convicted through normal means. An unsupportable accusation has denied a person’s rights; they should have the same process due a person charged by a prosecutor. A fabricated accusation is heinously damaging; the court must be ready to protect the falsely accused and the DA must be ready to press charges against the accuser.
But then everyone ‘knows’ that the woman never lies and the man is always guilty, right?

4 Andrew_Ess 11.15.09 at 9:52 pm

There is something fundamentally troubling about laws or legal processes that effectively override any legal maxim. Legal maxims are formed out of experience, reason and the nature of general human practises. They are age old truths and what is considered absolute. It is a line that seems to be very blurred these days with what is and has become an instrument of legal policy. What business the law has to do with state policy other than the obvious monetary, power and political interest is a strange modern phenomena, abridging the constitutional spirit and intent of what was once believed to be a fundamental right. The right to even the basic form of due process. In the words of judicial training sessions for domestic court judges. “Why should we care about ‘his’ constitutional rights… throw him out on the streets, let ‘him’ keep the shirt on his back and say see ya..”. Why !

Females today would seem to be quite content to swap state legal benefits and incentives to promote their ‘all or nothing nature’, apparently with the blessing of judicial practises. After all if anyone is not legally crazy enough to accuse another human of something heinous and worse without evidence. We are one step short of some serious legal changes that follow the same template. No evidence required just the correct political vehicle by proxy. These things lead to some strange cultural changes. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Gulag Archipelgo described, the courts that process criminal acts in civil administrative capacity no matter how heinous the accusation without evidence is a step back for America and nostalgia for those who would remember the book burning and worse. Russian friends of mine remark on how they get an eery feeling of dejavu on hearing of the social mayhem it causes to families. Of interest would be the demise of the Good old USSR is attributed to the root policy of destroying it’s most wealth producing middle class family and ‘their’ burgeois thoughts traditions and familial ties. Same as any other bureacracy gone mad, even a legalized one. Fully one third of this nations wealth is accounted for in terms of a cost of governmental policy business in welfare and the resulting human resources as a result. I would not like to think that people namely e pluribus unum are human resources and for whom. Time for a review of what our legal system is and has become. After all we just need to enforce the laws that were existing, not have judiciary members acting on our behalf in legislatures as law policy makers creating not what is law but what is revenue streams. One of which was domestic violence based on some very flawed facts.

5 CraigW 11.16.09 at 1:13 am

I think each and everyone one that reads this article knows someone who has been a victim of false acusations. Why does this part of the court not have to follow the rest of the courts?

What happened to “Innocent until proven Guilty?” All someone has to do nowadays is call the police and say “he/she hit me” and someone has to goto jail.. No proof, do not pass go, do not collect $100, now that person has a potential life ruining criminal record.

And can that person fight it? NO!
What happens to the False accuser? Nothing..
Would that person falsely accuse again? Sure why not, no reprocussions.
What happeneds to the accused? Lifetime mark of injustice.

How bad is it, that the “Justice” systems deals out the worst INjustice imagineable.

6 Melvin H. 11.16.09 at 2:17 am

Wasn’t there a study that came out about a decade ago (I do not remember who put it out) that something like half of all accusations of domestic violence by women against men are false…and something like 50-60% of the allegations of child abuse/molestation are in cases where there are NO children in the family?? (Said accusations did NOT involve any children “outside the family”.)

7 Melvin H. 11.16.09 at 2:18 am

Clarification: I should have added for both: “….in divorce cases.”

8 Jim Collins 11.16.09 at 9:22 am

A good friend of mine was a police officer. Was is th operative word here. He and his wife had recently divorced and he was fighting for custody of his kids. His wife’s lawyer advised her to file for a PFA stating that it would help her in the custody case. She decides to take it one step further and swears out a complaint for his arrest because she said that he hit her. One small problem, at the time that she said this happened he was testifying in court. She was charged with filing a false police report and he won custody of the kids. Under Pennsylvania law just the accusation of domestic violence is enough to revoke a person’s right to carry a gun. Innocense or guilt has no bearing and there is no proceedure in place to restore those rights. He was assigned a desk job while his union fought to have his rights restored, but was terminated when the union lost the fight.

9 MF 11.16.09 at 4:00 pm

Re: Jim Collins’ story – my best wishes for your friend. Here is yet another example, a painfully dramatic one, of where zero tolerance equals zero intelligence. Judges, school administrators, arbitrators, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, there will always be a bad one here or there, but if you give them leeway, most of them will make the proper determinations if they have the discretion to do so. The problems arise when the laws/rules are coded to prevent the tiny percentage of guilty who slip through the cracks and receive inadequate punishment. It turns into a CYA exercise. The Cub Scout with the utility knife, or the girl with the birthday cake, whose grandmother included a cake knife to be “helpful”, are perfect recent examples.

10 MF 11.16.09 at 4:06 pm

One thought occurred to me as I was thinking about the police officer who was fired because he could no longer carry a weapon due to the false accusation from his wife. At a minimum, couldn’t he slap a huge civil lawsuit on his former wife? Grounds being due to lost wages (and benefits, etc., from the future retirement as a police officer). As a result of her proven false accusations, he lost his job, and also permanently lost his ability to work in a significant area of industry (basically any area where he might need to carry a gun).

Normally I’m extremely anti-lawsuit. But this sure sounds like a justified (no pun intended) case.

11 Andrew_Ess 11.18.09 at 8:03 pm

Sadly one of the side effects of DV accusations is default loss of weapons privliges and those rights associated with them, either by vocation or hobby. Interestingly enough the same dilemna faces many soldiers who are no longer able to aim a gun at the ‘enemy’. Imagine a civilian Judge in a family court sending you a letter that arrives months after the fact while you are deployed, and delivered to you in a fox hole or somewhere simlarly sequestered while the sergeant ask’s you to surrender your arms. I suppose they are supposed to throw their office desks at the enemy or use harsh language. However harsh language according to the deluth wheel of aggression would be considered abuse and therefore that would be off the table and/or confirmation of said abusive or domestically violent attitude.

A few males are actually benefiting from this scenario, they get there girlfriends to file an RO and cite simple fear as the cause. Voila, automatic discharge and no free trip to gun shot alleys in Afghanistan or Iraq. I know of one guy who automatically lost his kids and access thereto to them when the judge prepondered that since he was a soldier he obviously had malevolent intent. As he averred along with his former spouse this poor not so defensless soldier kills people for a living. It is interesting how these bureaucratic legal red tape nightmares take on a life of their own, especially with the billions of dollars of seed money that offers a return that may be considered a good one in the legal circles. The good thing is the DV laws provide a massive trough to which many may feed and gain lucrative employment from. The future problem is, it is running out of males and now seeks to correct the problem by extending the rules to cover who, Yep , you guessed the very females who were by virtue of legal sexism and inequality immune by default. Nothing like shooting yourself in the foot and then some.

12 Joe Volope 11.25.09 at 5:25 pm

False allegations of domestic violence injure innocent people and children. Especially when used to gain leverage in cases such as
divorce and custody. Filing a false allegation should be a felony
when you consider the damage it does to innocent people, the court
system, the people trying to protect victims and real domestic violence victims.

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