Is It Still Domestic Violence If There Is No Police Report?

Couple in Shootings Were in Divorce Case, an article from The [River Bend] Telegraph, illustrates some commonly held misconceptions about domestic violence – misconceptions that cost lives.

A man reportedly murdered his wife and then attempted suicide, days before a divorce hearing to determine whether the husband must move out of the couple’s home during their divorce.

After being dispatched to their home, the police allegedly looked around the outside of the house, then contacted the phone company about calling the couple, then waited around for a realtor to give them easy access to the quiet, darkened home, and then methodically searched the house – until a gunshot rang out.

Police accounts emphasized that the relatives who called police only asked them to check on the couple and did not explicitly warn them of the potential for domestic violence. And that the wife had never called the police for assistance with domestic violence.

As it happens, according to the article, the husband was previously convicted of manslaughter and some misdemeanors – but not of a crime of domestic violence.

Police found the wife dead – lying on top of the phone, as though she had been trying to call for help.

The wife’s divorce petition cited “extreme mental cruelty” by the husband.

The only positive thing that can come out of such tragic incidents should be increased education and training for police officers.

Their consciousness should be raised to the fact that domestic violence victims frequently don’t report real, actual incidents of domestic violence, out of fear, fear of their assailant – and fear that the police will make light of their situation or, worse, side with the assailant.

Their consciousness should also be raised to the fact that lack of previous domestic violence complaints does not preclude a very real and present danger.

If police were to receive more domestic violence training, maybe more lives could be saved – even where there is no police record of allegations of domestic violence.

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Child Neglect Victims Receive Aid From an Unlikely Quarter

Even if you don’t love pets, you may still want to support the humane society.

According to Omaha’s KETV, the humane society may aid many neglected children as well as animals.

Apparently, the same people who neglect their pets may very well neglect their children.

The humane society’s cooperation and coordination with child protective services effectively expands the force of people looking out for our children.

Who’d have guessed it?

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One Libertarian’s Vision of Divorce

The Libertarian Party’s candidate for North Dakota’s governor in 2004 has authored an unusual divorce initiative which he hopes will land on the state’s voters’ ballots later this year.

The initiative would:

  • require all marrying couples to enter prenuptial agreements
  • dramatically reduce child support payment obligations
  • eliminate penalties for non-payment of child support
  • assign a court-appointed attorney to respondents against whom a civil order of protection or restraining order (called an injunction for protection against domestic violence in Florida) is sought and
  • protect the child visitation privileges of parties who have orders of protection entered against them

Anyone who wants to learn more about this unusual initiative can read the Grand Forks Herald article.

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Foster Parents vs. Relatives in Custody Battle

In Daytona Beach, FL, a custody battle has been raging over who gets to legally adopt a 4 year old boy: his foster parents or his biological second cousins.

The latest volley, reported in the Daytona Beach News Journal, was served by the foster parents, who petitioned to cancel further hearings since the court recently ordered the boy returned to them.

According to the Daytona Beach News, the appellate court held that the trial court, which placed the boy with his biological relatives, had committed legal error when it removed the child from his foster parents without adequate investigation and fact-finding regarding the child’s best interests.

This case is especially sad because this little boy’s home has been up in the air for fully half of this 4 year old’s life.

The case has been chronicled in a special section of the Daytona Beach News Journal.

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SC: Domestic Violence Alive and Well

The [Myrtle Beach SC] Sun News recently reported on the deaths of three different victims of domestic violence within five days on the same street in a relatively small community.

There is unquestionably rising awareness and increasing media coverage of domestic violence.

But is it enough?

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NJ: Criminal Contempt Proceedings Have Their Perks for Non-Paying Parents

Not surprisingly, many parents who allegedly default in their child support obligations don’t have the money to hire a lawyer to defend them at enforcement and / or civil contempt proceedings.

So, like it or not, they often defend themselves at these hearings on a pro se basis, a lawyer’s term for representing yourself.

According to a New Jersey Star Ledger article, when the circumstances are severe enough to warrant criminal contempt proceedings, the allegedly delinquent parent should get a bonus: free legal representation from a court-appointed attorney.

Ironically, this reported holding may have an unintended and counter-intuitive impact: custodial parents may now favor the civil remedy and non-custodial parents may now actually favor the criminal remedy.

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National Center for Men Asserts Father’s Right to Opt Out of Child Support

An organization known as The National Center for Men has reportedly filed a questionable federal court lawsuit on behalf of a baby’s admitted biological father.

The theory behind the suit seems to be that: men are denied equal protection of the law, because the biological mother’s reproductive rights supersede the biological father’s reproductive rights.

Therefore, the organization’s argument apparently goes, it is unconstitutional to impose child support obligations on a father – unless the father wanted, planned or later accepted the child.

The reported facts of the case indicate that the father alleges that the mother told the father she was unable to conceive. The article did not indicate whether the mother knew the truth.

Interestingly, it does not appear from the article whether the father asserted the mother’s alleged fraud as a defense in the state court paternity case that imposed the child support obligation.

Arguably, doing so may have quietly put an end to this particular father’s cause.

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Questions About Boy’s Death in Custody Plague FL’s Juvenile Justice System

On January 6th, a 14 year old boy died in a Panama City boot camp to which he was reportedly committed by Florida’s juvenile justice system.

According to reports of a second autopsy performed after the boy’s body was exhumed, the cause of the boy’s death may not be natural causes as initially determined.

A recently released videotape reportedly depicts several camp guards beating the boy to the ground, while a woman reported to be a school nurse stands by without apparent reaction.

That particular boot camp is now closed.

This week is Juvenile Justice Week.

Sources: Reuters, CNN, Wilmington Journal

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Moving E-Mail Notifications of Postings to Feedblitz

Some readers may have noticed that we recently added the option of subscribing to e-mail alerts of new posts via the FEEDBLITZ service.

Please note that we plan to move all subscribers to our current e-mail notifications list to FEEDBLITZ this weekend.

Thanks in advance for your patience with any temporary glitches that may occur.

If any problems persist, please alert our webmaster.

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Settlement, Trial – or Murder?

The year was 1987.

She asked for $1 million as her share of the property division. He refused.

Early on the day of the hearing on whether to set aside their postnuptial agreement, she was murdered by a professional killer.

Law enforcement favored him as the suspect most likely behind it.

Now, a former local Palm Beach resident is standing trial in Georgia for the murder of his wife.

In this unusual case, the wife’s former divorce attorney is a key prosecution witness.

If convicted, the husband may face the death penalty.

You can read more about this case in the Palm Daily News or on

Just don’t model own divorce after it.

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