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Articles Posted in Criminal Law

domestic-violence-photo-child-300x243If you have been faced with a charge of domestic violence or a party is seeking a restraining order on you you must be careful about prior acts of domestic violence that can creep up on your during a contested hearing or trial. Often clients feel that prior acts of domestic violence may not have much weight with the Judge , however it is to the contrary. Prior acts of domestic violence can often tip the scale in favor of the party seeking a restraining order. In a civil setting he burden of proof to prove a domestic violence case is preponderance of the evidence. That means it is more likely than not an act of domestic violence occurred. The judge will often give the benefit of the doubt to the party seeking the restraint order.

Now what prior acts constitute domestic violence? It may be very surprising to know that Simple acts that might seem innocuous to our every day relationships with our significant other will be Fuel by the other party to prove up their case.

Acts such snooping through someone else phone even once can be seen as obsessive behavior and look bad upon the court. Also looking through baggage if that person goes on a trip can be viewed as too nosy and appear over controlling if you are looking for something. Stopping. Y uninvited by the other party can also be seen as stalking and shown to be an act of domestic violence.

Even politicians are susceptible to the laws and regulations of domestic violence. They too can be disciplined and even effected by the filing of restraining orders and Stay Away Orders.  One might think that because they are a politician and hold a public office and are voted by the people to represent them in the legislature that they are above the domestic violence laws of the United States.  However, this has proven to be untrue as in the case of South Carolina legislator Chris Corley who was indicted on felony domestic violence charges.  The South Carolina House Speaker suspended Mr. Corley after the domestic violence charges were done.

A 911 call was made from Mr. Corley’s house and in the background on the 911 call children’s voice were heard screaming as Mr. Corley allegedly was pointed a gun at his wife. Under California law Corporal Injury to the spouse under Penal Code section 275 is a felony and can send a person to state prison for 2, 3 or 4 years.  This charge occurs when it is inflicted upon a family member.  In Mr Corley’s case he allegedly attacked and beat his wife.

His children were heard on the 911 call telling their dad to stop the aggression.  This type of behavior as well will probably end up on criminal charges.  Exhibiting violence in front of the children can be a criminal charge as well.  Under Penal Code section 273a wherein if a person places a child in danger willfully or recklessly placing a child in a dangerous circumstance.

Pursuant to Family Code section 4320(m), there is a rebuttable presumption that when there has been a criminal conviction for an act of domestic violence by one spouse against the other within 5 years before, or any time after, filing of the dissolution petition, a court should not make a spousal support award to the abusive spouse.

So, what does this mean? If you have been convicted of an act of domestic violence by your spouse within 5 years (before or after the filing of the divorce petition), a court has discretion to not award the abusive spouse with spousal support.

Does the abusive spouse have any recourse? For instance, if the abusive spouse has redeemed himself or herself, if he or she has attended anger management classes etc., is there a chance to obtain spousal support, especially, if there is a great disparity in income between the parties? According to the same code section, in order to rebut the presumption set forth above, “the court may consider, among other things, documented evidence of a convicted spouse’s history as a domestic violence victim.”

It was reported earlier this week that RFK Jr. has filed for divorce from his wife of 16 years, Mary Richardson Kennedy. Mary Kennedy is RFK Jr.’s second wife and they have four children together. RFK Jr. divorced his first wife back in 1994 and they have two children together.

RFK Jr’s divorce comes on the heels of the drunk driving incident involving his wife. Mary Kennedy was arrested on May 15 after a police officer witnessed her driving her car over a curb near their home in Bedford. Police report that Mary had a blood alcohol level of 0.11%. The legal limit is .08%. On May 28, Mary was arraigned but RFK Jr. did not appear for said arraignment.

Certainly, alcohol related problems can trigger one spouse to file for divorce. If you and your spouse are experiencing marital problems, divorce may the way out. Contact an Orange County divorce lawyer for more information.

Wow…last week the internet as a buzz over the plethora of California family law and criminal law issues involving Mel Gibson and his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva. Talk about a relationship gone really ugly. Turns out that Mel Gibson is now going to be investigated by the District Attorney for alleged domestic violence, child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon charges. Gibson’s case will be referred to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for felony review. Again, this is a perfect example of a family law matter that crosses over into criminal law issues. It’s very common to see these crossovers. Indeed, typically, if someone is involved in a domestic violence dispute, most likely a temporary restraining order is issued ordering the perpetrator to stay at least 100 yards away from the victim. Often times in emergency situations, the police are called to the scene of the incident and an Emergency Protective Order is issued to protect the victim. In serious situations, depending on the crime, criminal charges will also be filed.

If you have an Orange County domestic violence issue and/or an Orange County criminal law issue and wish to obtain further information about your rights, contact an Orange County family law/criminal law attorney for more information.

Source: Mel Gibson Case Headed to D.A.

Stemming from a strange case out of Indianapolis, Shannon Ellis became pregnant two years ago to the surprise of her family members. Supposedly, her husband had a vasectomy and they told everyone the vasectomy was reversed, thereby explaining the surprise pregnancy. This story turned out to be false. Truth be told, through DNA testing, Ellis became pregnant by a 14 year old boy. The 14 year old boy is a relative of Ellis’ husband. Ellis allegedly coaxed the boy into having sex. The two of them continued to have sex after she gave birth. Presently, Ellis is facing sexual misconduct charges with a minor and could face up to 10 years jail time.

From an Orange County divorce lawyer perspective, questions begin to arise regarding the welfare of the child. If the mother is in jail and the father is a minor, who will be the best person to care for the best interest of the child? The baby is currently in the care of Ellis’ husband. However, a child custody battle is pending between the minor’s parents and Ellis’ husband.

At this stage, I do not know how the Indiana courts will rule with respect to this type of scenario. However, from a California child custody point of view, it would make sense if guardianship proceedings are involved considering the circimstances surrounding the biological parents.

A bill was heard the past Tuesday wherein a State legislative committee sought to close what its author claims to be a loophole in California’s no-fault divorce rule. In part, the legislation will specify that spouses who solicit the murder of their soon to be ex-spouse are not entitled to collect financial rewards during divorce proceedings.

The bill was enacted because of the facts concerning John Pomroy, a police detective. His wife collected about $70,000 from their estate after she was released from prison in 2004. His wife allegedly became addicted to painkillers, alcohol and drugs. The couple subsequently separated when his wife became physically abusive. Pomroy eventually moved out of the former family residence and was awarded custody of the children. When the wife faced the loss of her kids and lack of financial support from her husband, she hired members of the Vagos motorcycle gang to kill Pomroy while he was on duty.

The Califrnia Family Code states that if spouses are convicted of murdering or attempting to murder their husband or wife, they are not entitled to reap any financial benefits during divorce proceedings. However, in the event they hire someone to murder their spouse, the victims’ assets are not protected.

Sometimes family law matters overlap with criminal law matters. A Huntington Beach woman, Angela Marie Aiton, 34, pleaded not guilty to kidnapping her own daughter in an Orange County court last week.

Angela Marie Aiton was charged with a felony count of child stealing.

Aiton reportedly left a Newport Beach Cheesecake Factory last Friday taking daughter Symphony.The young girl was on a court-ordered visitation with her foster father. Aiton told the foster father she was taking the girl to the restroom and he stated that she never returned. The abduction triggered a Orange County-wide Amber Alert.

Whether you are a resident of Los Angeles County or any City in Orange County, a competent and reputable family law firm will be able to assist you in any California family law matter you may have, including but not limited to domestic violence.

On Sunday, March 14, 2010, it was reported that Newport Beach City Attorney, David R. Hunt, age 52, was arrested for being involved in a domestic dispute. Police arrived at 8pm on Sunday evening to Mr. Hunt’s home in Santa Ana on suspicion of felony spousal battery. Officers learned Hunt got into an argument with his 18-year-old son, but when his wife intervened, she was assaulted.

Hunt’s 49-year-old wife was taken to a hospital suffering from a laceration to her arm and a large bump on the back of her head, Bertagna said.

Today, trial commenced in a case of a man accused of murdering his wife. Henry Lisowski is accussed of killing his wife, Rosa, over a child support dispute. The prosecution states that a child support dispute prompted the killing.

It has been reported that Henry Lisowski, who had repeatedly threatened to harm his estranged wife, was driven to kill her after she was awarded child support for the two young children they shared, a prosecutor told a jury Monday.

The wife, Rosa Lisowski, went missing about a month before an important court hearing in 2008, when a judge was to consider whether her husband would have to pay child support for the previous year and whether he had significantly underreported his income.

Her body was never found, but the prosecutor said yesterday that evidence presented in Henry Lisowski’s trial would show that he killed her and dumped her body in a trash bin.
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