Domestic Violence

Keeping Score in Room 113

May 24, 2015 D.C. Superior Court

If ever I fancied the notion of becoming a judge, I changed my mind after spending another day in domestic violence court last week. The judge in Room 113 of D.C. Superior Court – where civil protection orders are handled – is two things that I am not. First, she is very smart. This is […]

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God Comes Before a Good Defense

June 3, 2013 Domestic Violence

It is supposed to be a three-fer for Wayne my investigator and me. It is a domestic violence case in which the defendant and complainant are still living together. This means that Wayne and I can re-interview the defendant, interview the complainant, and visit the crime scene all in one place.  How efficient, how economical!  […]

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Sizing Up Opposing Counsel

November 28, 2011 Domestic Violence

Opposing counsel’s praecipe arrives in the mail.  I am representing the respondent in a civil protection order hearing; he the petitioner. I google the lawyer’s name to find a self-made website and a less than professional photograph of the lawyer, taken by somebody with the same last name.  In the photograph, the lawyer is standing […]

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Empathizing with the Accuser at a Civil Protection Order Hearing

November 24, 2011 Assault

“Oh,” says the witness to the judge.  “There is one other thing I would like to say.” The witness is the father of the respondent in a civil protection order hearing.  He is an old man and he is angry.  The judge has given him tremendous latitude in testifying about every complaint he has ever […]

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The “Back Story” in a Civil Protection Order Hearing

April 28, 2011 Domestic Violence

I took a break yesterday afternoon from losing to Norm Pattis at Words with Friends to finish up a civil protection order hearing in D.C. Many colleagues eschew any case involving a domestic dispute.  The cases are messy.  People tend to cry.  There is lots of emotion and not much law. I, on the other […]

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When The Complaining Witness Refuses To Testify In A Domestic Violence Case

August 11, 2010 Assault

A couple of weeks ago, I described a number of myths about the U.S. criminal justice system. One popular misconception I did not address was the question of who actually prosecutes a criminal case. You often hear people say that they don’t want to press charges. What they don’t understand is that, unlike in a […]

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