Maryland Criminal Attorneys are commonly called upon to represent defendants who are charged with domestic violence assaults. As I have noted in previous blogs on the subject of domestic violence, there was an explosion of new domestic violence arrests in this country after the OJ Simpson acquittal in 1994. Police officers were encouraged to aggressively enforce the law in domestic cases where they previously might have considered these cases family matters and not law enforcement matters.
Additionally special domestic violence police units and prosecution teams were created throughout the country and new laws were enacted to allow the police and prosecutor to more aggressively pursue perpetrators of domestic violence. For instance in Maryland, new laws were enacted to allow for the warrant-less arrest of those suspected of domestic assaults under certain circumstances – even when the defendant is only suspected of committing a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, some people have taken advantage of these new laws and the new tactics of the police and prosecutors to have others falsely arrested. I had just such a case in Baltimore County Circuit Court this week.
My client, who has no prior criminal record, found himself in a relationship with a young women with a prescription pill addiction. He was not immediately aware of the problem and, unfortunately for him, she became pregnant prior to his learning of her addiction. She had a baby boy and they continued an on-again off-again relationship for about a year after he was born. Right around the boys’ first birthday, my client decided that he wanted to end the relationship altogether and wanted custody of the child. The boys’ mother had already had one child taken from her by the Department of Social Services for child neglect. My client believed that because of this fact, he would have a relatively easy time gaining custody. He did not anticipate what would happen next.
The police showed up at his door in January and placed him under arrest for domestic assault. His ex-girlfriend claimed that two nights earlier he had come over to her house in violation of a protective order and that they had gotten into an argument. She claimed that my client shoved her to the ground and repeatedly kicked and hit her about the head and body. She did not go to the hospital for medical treatment and the police did not see any injuries to corroborate her claims. My client was not present when the police responded.
My client was placed under arrest and held in lieu of $75,000 bail, this in spite of a spotless record and lifelong residence in Maryland. The case first appeared in District Court in May. We elected a jury trial and the case was transferred to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. The alleged victim failed to appear in court both in June when the State was granted a postponement and again last week. The State’s request for postponement was denied this time leaving the State’s Attorney no choice but to dismiss the case. Apparently this young women was not willing to take the further step of appearing in court and repeating her lies under oath and subject to the penalty of perjury. I had a similar case earlier this year in which the alleged victim had no such fear. I will discuss that case in my next blog.