The prosecutors do have a difficult road when it comes to prosecuting many domestic violence cases because a lot of times what happens — and they are used to this — is that the alleged victim decides they don’t want the person prosecuted.
So, now the prosecutors have to deal with somebody in their own camp who is adverse to them and what they’re trying to do. Realize, the prosecutors are simply trying to protect victims of domestic violence and they’re trying to make sure that those individuals who batter other individuals or hurt them are prosecuted and are deterred from committed future domestic violence-related offenses.
Victim Changing Their Story
So, with their eye towards protecting the victim, if the victim tries to change their story which is one of the big problems that prosecutors run into, they don’t care. They’re still going to prosecute the person. They will use the police to prosecute them.
If the person gets on the witness stand for example and tries to change their story — tries to help the defendant in the case — the prosecutors will, of course, confront them and say, wait a minute, back then look, you’ve got a black eye and you told the police that this person hit you. Now you’re just trying to say this in order to try to help them because they’re your only source of income, they’re the father of your child, whatever the case may be.
So, then the prosecutors will call the police officer who took the statement and say, when you went out there and took the statement, the person was crying, they had a black eye, they said that Bill is the one that hit them and they gave a whole description of it. Did they seem sincere to you? Yes, they did. So, you’re not just going to lose the case just because someone doesn’t cooperate, but his is definitely problem for the prosecutors.
If someone is trying to take back domestic violence-related charges, it can sometime inure to the benefit of the defendant. Other times, it really doesn’t make a difference.
Victim Doesn’t Cooperate With Prosecutor
Another problem in prosecuting these domestic violence cases is, once the case is set for trial or if the case is set for preliminary hearing in a felony, a lot of times the alleged victim doesn’t want to cooperate and they don’t show up to the court proceedings.
The fact that they actually try to evade trying to be served with a case so they don’t have to appear, creates another problem for the prosecutors in trying to prosecute these cases.
There is a case called People v. Crawford that will allow the prosecutors in certain circumstances to be able to put on other evidence of the victim’s statement instead of having the victim there live and in person. Sometimes the police will capture the statement on bodycam.
Sometimes it will just be the police officer saying what the person said. Normally, that would be hearsay and most of the time I’m able to keep those type of statements out of the record, but there are some occasions where the prosecutors are able in domestic violence cases to get those statements in against the defendant and that’s kind of a double-edge sword.
On the one hand, the jury is scratching their head saying, how come the alleged victim isn’t here to tell us their story. I don’t know if I believe what this police officer is telling me. On the other hand, the defense doesn’t get an opportunity to cross-examine the alleged victim, ask them any questions. So, that makes it difficult as well.
So, you really have to know the case well as a defense attorney, know what it’s going to take to defend the case if you’re going to take it to trial and sometimes the victim not showing up — though it is a problem for the prosecutors — can also operate as a problem for the defense.
Developing a Defense Strategy with an Attorney
So, there’s all sorts of problems prosecutors face in dealing with these cases, but they’re used to dealing with these problems and they have counter-measures in order to try and deal with an uncooperative victim, for example, or other issues that may pop up in the case.
The best thing to do as a defendant and defense attorney is to coordinate together to come up with a plan that best suits the case. In other words, anticipate what some of the problems the prosecutors are going to face in dealing with the case and figure out how you can best use those problems to your advantage to get the best result in your domestic violence case and make sure that you capitalize on those problems when they come up and hopefully those problems don’t become your problems in the criminal case.
Categorised in: Domestic Violence