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  1. #1
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Probable Cause for Domestic Battery Arrest?

    Florida

    A family member of mine was arrested.

    His wife called police and claimed that 8 hours earlier she was struck by her husband but that she did not want to press charges.

    The police went to the residence and spoke with the husband. He was very calm and cooperative and claimed he did not strike her. He had no criminal record.

    The police did not find any physical evidence of battery - such as scratches or bruises on the wife and they noted this on the report. There were no witnesses.

    The husband was arrested and held in jail for roughly 30 hours before release; at the bail hearing the judge said the officer had probable cause for arrest.

    Did the officer have probable cause for this arrest and jailing?
    Last edited by netfocus; 01-17-2010 at 01:24 PM.
  2. #2
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Short answer: Yes.
  3. #3
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proserpina View Post
    Short answer: Yes.
    When you have two credible people giving statements - why would the law choose one statement over the other?

    I have read online that probable cause can use hearsay - but does that mean they then ignore the hearsay of the accused party?

    logically I would think the two statements should cancel each other out; what causes them to take a side with two credible statements?
    Last edited by netfocus; 01-17-2010 at 01:45 PM.
  4. #4
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Probable cause is a rather low burden of proof. If she said he hit her, and the police found her statement more credible than his denial,that can suffice as sufficient probable cause to believe a battery occurred. Apparently a court also concurred with their finding.

    That being said, the existence of probable cause does not necessarily mean that there will be sufficient evidence to compel a prosecutor to pursue the case. The burden of proof for a conviction is much higher - proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless the DA wishes to put them both on the stand and have the jury weigh the question of credibility of the two parties, he may not pursue the matter.

    In any event, the husband should consult legal counsel.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

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  5. #5
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava View Post
    Probable cause is a rather low burden of proof. If she said he hit her, and the police found her statement more credible than his denial,that can suffice as sufficient probable cause to believe a battery occurred. Apparently a court also concurred with their finding.

    That being said, the existence of probable cause does not necessarily mean that there will be sufficient evidence to compel a prosecutor to pursue the case. The burden of proof for a conviction is much higher - proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless the DA wishes to put them both on the stand and have the jury weigh the question of credibility of the two parties, he may not pursue the matter.

    In any event, the husband should consult legal counsel.
    Thanks. I must say, I cannot believe that in this society a person could be convicted in a court of law based on someone's word - I just was not aware the courts allowed that until now, and its pretty sick.

    The bail hearing judge found probable cause with nothing more than a police statement that said - no physical marks, no witnesses, and no wish to prosecute.

    The prosecutor is proceeding - they have no evidence but a statement. The husband has paid thousands for legal counsel so far.
    Last edited by netfocus; 01-17-2010 at 10:01 PM.
  6. #6
    cyjeff is offline Senior Member
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    Many people have been convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony.
  7. #7
    DAD09 is offline Registered User
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    You read that online....

    There is a difference between being street smart and book smart. The police are not stupid and did not fall off the turnip truck. I am sure when witnesses all are part of a family or a group of friends they realize other motives.
  8. #8
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyjeff View Post
    Many people have been convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony.
    I could understand the courts using an eyewitness in the sense of a neutral party of good character with nothing to gain by testimony - who say witnessed a robbery.

    But in a domestic situation the wife is not at all neutral, and has everything to gain... I don't see how her word can be held above that of the husband of similar character in terms of probable cause for throwing someone in jail for 30 hours.

    This seems really, really, backwards.
  9. #9
    DAD09 is offline Registered User
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    Why in this instance did she wait 8 hours and called not wanting to press charges?
  10. #10
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by netfocus View Post
    Thanks. I must say, I cannot believe that in this society a person could be convicted in a court of law based on someone's word - I just was not aware the courts allowed that until now, and its pretty sick.
    An accusation and an arrest are not a conviction.

    But, people are convicted every day based upon the strength of the evidence presented. The testimony of a witness IS evidence. Many crimes go to trial with nothing more than the statements of the parties involved. A jury can weigh the credibility of the parties and decide if there exists reasonable doubt or not. Most cases with ONLY a statement and nothing else do not see the inside of a courtroom, but there are exceptions ... and, very often, there is a little more - often something to corroborate one statement or the other. And, if it is going to trial, that means that the corroboration has fallen on the side of the prosecution.

    The bail hearing judge found probable cause with nothing more than a police statement that said - no physical marks, no witnesses, and no wish to prosecute.
    The victim is not the one who prosecutes, the state does. And since more than 75% of DV victims recant or lie to protect their abusers, the state tends to err on the side of protecting the alleged victim and give her time to come to her senses.

    As i said, probable cause is a relatively low burden of proof to meet. Whether a DA will go to trial on this - or even file charges - is something that only time will tell.

    The prosecutor is proceeding - they have no evidence but a statement. The husband has paid thousands for legal counsel so far.
    Then the victim statement must be pretty darn compelling! Or, they have a little more to go on than that.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  11. #11
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAD09 View Post
    Why in this instance did she wait 8 hours and called not wanting to press charges?
    I think she premeditated how best to secure the finances, cash and household considering the husband told her he wants a divorce that morning. It worked, the court banned him from the house until trial and arrested him with nothing in his pockets... The wife now has everything, can transfer and move funds out of the country (shes a dual citizen), sell everything, pocket all the cash lying around. This whole situation has been treated as guilty until proven innocent on the husband.
    Last edited by netfocus; 01-18-2010 at 12:29 PM.
  12. #12
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava View Post
    An accusation and an arrest are not a conviction.

    But, people are convicted every day based upon the strength of the evidence presented. The testimony of a witness IS evidence. Many crimes go to trial with nothing more than the statements of the parties involved. A jury can weigh the credibility of the parties and decide if there exists reasonable doubt or not. Most cases with ONLY a statement and nothing else do not see the inside of a courtroom, but there are exceptions ... and, very often, there is a little more - often something to corroborate one statement or the other. And, if it is going to trial, that means that the corroboration has fallen on the side of the prosecution.


    The victim is not the one who prosecutes, the state does. And since more than 75% of DV victims recant or lie to protect their abusers, the state tends to err on the side of protecting the alleged victim and give her time to come to her senses.

    As i said, probable cause is a relatively low burden of proof to meet. Whether a DA will go to trial on this - or even file charges - is something that only time will tell.


    Then the victim statement must be pretty darn compelling! Or, they have a little more to go on than that.
    I understand crimes going to trial with nothing but someones word - but solely based on a biased partys word, to throw someone in jail, ban them from their home, send their mugshot across the web, take fingerprints they never had before, which are probably now permanently on file, and violate their privacy like that is unacceptable.

    The husbands character is extremely high, and should be held in just as high esteem as his wife's word - at least until trial; a simply notice to appear would have been the correct route. But violating someone like this on a whim, by probable cause is sick - whether the law allows it or not. The law needs to be changed if so.
  13. #13
    CdwJava is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by netfocus View Post
    I think she premeditated how best to secure the finances, cash and household considering the husband told her he wants a divorce that morning. It worked, the court banned him from the house until trial and arrested him with nothing in his pockets... The wife now has everything, can transfer and move funds out of the country (shes a dual citizen), sell everything, pocket all the cash lying around. This whole situation has been treated as guilty until proven innocent on the husband.
    And when they go to court and get a divorce with division of the assets she may very well have to bring some of the money back and pass it off to him. That is, IF she did any of these things.

    But, what makes you think she was such a criminal mastermind when she called EIGHT HOURS after the fact and then stated she did not want to press charges? You think she somehow KNEW the police and the state would act to take him away anyway?

    I understand crimes going to trial with nothing but someones word - but solely based on a biased partys word, to throw someone in jail, ban them from their home, send their mugshot across the web, take fingerprints they never had before, which are probably now permanently on file, and violate their privacy like that is unacceptable.
    Talk to your state legislators, the US Congress, and the United States Supreme Court. The police did not just make this idea up. The standard for an arrest has always been the existence of probable cause to believe a crime was committed and that the person arrested committed the crime. Apparently the police believed that probable cause existed, and a judge even concurred.

    The husbands character is extremely high, and should be held in just as high esteem as his wife's word - at least until trial; a simply notice to appear would have been the correct route.
    Depending on the state he lives in, a notice to appear may not have been an option. In most states an arrest for domestic violence is required or at least strongly encouraged in the event that there exists probable cause to believe the crime occurred. There would be a hue and cry to string up an officer if he cited a man for DV and then he later beat up or killed his significant other. In fact, such scenarios are why the laws changed to compel or encourage DV arrests without the victim's acquiescence.

    But violating someone like this on a whim, by probable cause is sick - whether the law allows it or not. The law needs to be changed if so.
    You also really do not know what was told to the police and what the police saw when they spoke to the two parties. So, there may be more to this than you know. Unless you ARE the man in question here, you probably only know what has been related to you by the husband and what little you heard in court.

    The key element here will be the DA. If the DA pursues this matter then there is likely more than her simple statement.

    And, as you may have heard before, if you do not like the law as it has been applied for as long as anyone has been alive and beyond, then speak to your legislators about changing it.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM
  14. #14
    netfocus is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava View Post
    But, what makes you think she was such a criminal mastermind when she called EIGHT HOURS after the fact and then stated she did not want to press charges? You think she somehow KNEW the police and the state would act to take him away anyway?
    She was told by her daughter that they have to arrest by law whether charges are filed or not; so she was just playing dumb by saying she didn't want to press charges. Basically she is going to go in and give a sworn statement for the trial - so she is pressing charges, but still says she isnt...

    Quote Originally Posted by CdwJava View Post
    You also really do not know what was told to the police and what the police saw when they spoke to the two parties. So, there may be more to this than you know. Unless you ARE the man in question here, you probably only know what has been related to you by the husband and what little you heard in court.

    The key element here will be the DA. If the DA pursues this matter then there is likely more than her simple statement.
    I was there, I drove over when I heard and was there while police questioned the husband, I saw both statements, talked to the police.

    The officer told the husband directly, that they were taking him in to cover there ass - and I don't see how that is probable cause.

    The county they live in has made it policy that someone WILL be arrested when a domestic call is made and this has been made public - so then the question is, what if there is no probable cause?? They are saying someone will be arrested, period. The prosecutor has enacted a zero tolerance policy.
  15. #15
    racer72 is offline Senior Member
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    Look at it the other way, the police could arrest the wife for making a false police report.
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