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Domestic Violence:  Sometimes the defendant is actually the victim

The charges against my client were dismissed on the morning of the jury trial.

Prior to my involvement, my client was charged with domestic violence which was plead down to disorderly conduct.  She was not represented by an attorney.  Big mistake.  She indicated to anyone who would listen that she was the victim, not the boyfriend who had brought the domestic violence charges.  No one believed her.  She had to do anger management, mental health assessments, probation meetings, pay a fine, pay costs, etc.

She was again arrested.  This time she hired me.  I was able to prove to the city that her boyfriend was abusing her.  The abuse was horrific.  By the time the case was brought to trial everyone involved either believed she was the victim or, unable to actually say that, stated "we can't win this case so we are dismissing it".


It is vital that you keep records, recordings, photographs and whatever other documents you can come up with to PROVE your claim.  Most cellular phones will record and in Ohio you can record any discussion as long as you are part of that discussion.

Ongoing attack by ex-wife

After my client was able to plea down a domestic violence in Texas, he and his ex-wife were divorced.  He returned to Ohio.  His ex-wife followed.  She filed a request for a domestic violence protection order.  My client went to the hearing but was unable to navigate the legalese and properly defend himself.  He hired me and we returned to show the wife could not provide any reason she should fear harm.  We were able to show JS just wanted to get on with his life.  The order was lifted and they both went their separate ways.

Is it domestic violence when two brothers push at each other over who has the next turn at the Nintendo?

Is it domestic violence? Probably. Is it just?

Here the state attempts to assign to one brother a serious crime of violence with significant life-long consequences. Here two young brothers pushed at each other. There were no injuries. Neither wanted the police, or charges, or the arrest and weekend in jail.

The charge was dismissed on the day of trial.



Beware the

Domestic Violence Advocate

Everything said to a domestic violence advocate can and often

will go right to the prosecutor to be used against the defendant!


In a domestic violence case, there are a number of parties representing a number of persons.

The judge

The judge is there to decide the outcome.

The prosecutor

 The prosecutor does NOT work for the victim.  The prosecutor works for the State of Ohio.  Even if the victim wants the charges dropped, the State will almost certainly deny that request and continue with the prosecution.

The defense attorney

I am there representing the client.

The domestic violence advocate

Because the prosecutor represents the state, there is no one there to insure the alleged victim's needs are heard.  That is the reason for a domestic violence advocate.  He or she is there to insure the voice of the victim does not get lost.

There is no question that a domestic violence advocate will be a God-send to some victims.  Services will be provided where before no one was there to help.

But, there are other cases.

There are cases where a couple want to stay together, be a family and reconstitute their life.

There are cases where two people want to end their relationship on friendly terms.

There are cases where two people are unsure of the outcome but would hate to see the situation devolve into an all-out war.

In those cases the nature and process of a domestic violence charge can be fatally toxic to any reconciliation.  It is in those cases that the advocate, in properly striving for justice, will appear to a defendant and his attorney to be no more than the prosecutor's tool.


Advocate case 1 - I'm your friend, but anything you say goes right to the prosecutor

Someone called about a fellow and his girlfriend having an argument.  The police came and interviewed the female.  She denied any violence.  The police talked to the male.  He denied any violence.  They inspected the house and found nothing amiss.  The police left.

A few days later, the female received a call from a domestic violence advocate.  That advocate described how he could help her.  He could direct her to resources.  He could help her case proceed.  He described how it was his role to make sure she was heard.  In order to insure that she was directed to the right services, it was important that she tell him everything about the incident.  She was taken in by his assurances that he was acting in her best interest.  She told him that regardless of whether there was violence or not, she wanted no action.  Case closed and the advocate helped, right?  Hardly.  The advocate determined that violence must have occurred, went to the prosecutor and the male was charged with domestic violence against the wishes of the other party.

Advocate case 2 - I have my own spin on your case and want the judge to hear what I think

In front of a judge, I was arguing that neither my client nor his wife wanted the action that was occurring.  His wife, the alleged victim, was doing her best to diffuse the situation.  The advocate bullied herself into our conversation, interrupting the judge and the defendant, demanding that charges be continued.  Luckily, the judge ignored her input.

Many advocate cases - a domestic violence charge can be toxic to a marriage or relationship

The nature of a domestic violence charge causes it to be toxic to the marriage.  A domestic violence charge will often result in the filing for divorce and then go on to inflame that process.  Some prosecutors want to see evidence of a intent to get a divorce before they will agree to any plea deal.

In an attempt to halt communication, the protection order often causes disastrous backchannel communication

Husband and wife are forced apart by a court-ordered temporary protection order.  They aren't allowed to talk to each other.  Friends and family all discuss their situation and each adds their own spin and bias.  Facts are shredded.  Words get back.  Husband becomes enraged at what he thinks his wife is saying.  She didn't say that stuff.  Wife gets enraged by what she thinks her husband is saying.  He didn't say that stuff.  Their original problem grows to many times its original size.


Husband believes the report that the wife turned gay

For example, my client came into our third pretrial firmly convinced that his wife had turned gay and moved in with her girlfriend.  He had such good authority of those facts!  He was completely convinced.  In court the wife was floored by the idea.  She stated that she was doing fine.  She had been living with her new boyfriend for a number of months.

The protection order halts reconciliation

What once was an opportunity for anger management and counseling is now a full-blown divorce.  With both parties fighting, attorneys on both sides will take a hefty chunk of their savings as the case spins from criminal court into domestic relations court.  Remember that if divorce attorneys can get the parties fighting, their profits (their fees) will skyrocket as an amiable dissolution becomes a full-blown divorce war.

In criminal court, all communication has been lost.  All that is left is the family and friend's rumors and their opinion as to what happened.  The alleged victim is inflamed and prepares for war.  The advocate does what the advocate is supposed to do.  After being poisoned by the innuendo, the victim tells the advocate and the advocate tells the court:  "Hang him from the highest tree!  Or, better--skin him!"

Everything said to a domestic violence advocate can and often will

 go right to the prosecutor to be used against the defendant!

Domestic Violence:  Keeping a couple together

I spent a great deal of time in numerous pretrials laying the groundwork for a husband and wife to come back together as a couple. Ohio's domestic violence laws work well when violence is an issue. Otherwise it works to keep couples apart; providing protection but splitting marriages. Married forty years, K.W. and J.W. never realized the problems that would occur when they called the police. I managed to convince the court they belonged together. From a possible six months in jail and a $1000 maximum fine, K.W. had to do forty hours of community service and pay $122 in court costs.  Later, I worked to seal the record to insure her as much privacy as was left to them.

Jury:  Not guilty of assault

My client was attacked by her boyfriend's aunt.  There was a cultural component to this case as the aunt wanted someone of her own descent dating her nephew.  I was able to convince a jury that between the aunt's changing story and the horrible police work, my client was not guilty.  It was only a few minutes in the jury room before they all agreed my client should go free.

Enabled daughter brings domestic violence charges against Father

Dad provided well for his 21 year old daughter. He provided her with room and board, paid for her college, paid for her car, paid for the daughter's 2 year old child's room and board, diapers, clothes and other items. Daughter was collecting over $500.00 in child support that Dad never saw. Dad's pay-back? An allegation of domestic violence that cost him three days in jail until he could be arraigned. Dad hired me. Dad had the support of the entire family and I used that support to describe to the prosecutor why the case should not be tried. The case was dismissed at the first pretrial.