This is a very interesting topic when it comes to domestic violence cases, and that is, what actually happens in a trial? Obviously, a domestic violence trial is the same as any criminal trial where a jury is picked and the prosecution has the burden of proving all of the elements of the charges.
A lot of times in these trials the alleged victim will not cooperate with the prosecutors, so what ends up happening is, they come and tell a different story than they did when the police originally arrested the defendant in the case.
This can sometimes create a problem for the prosecutors because now they have an uncooperative witness who will not give them the information that they want, so they have to use other means to get in that statement that incriminates the defendant in the case.
What they will do is, they will call the police officer or officers who took the original statement in the case and they will use that statement to show the jury that the defendant is responsible for the crimes that he or she is charged with.
They can also use the 9-1-1 call the person calls and says all the stuff the prosecution need to convict somebody for domestic violence, domestic battery, simple battery, criminal threat or any of the other charges that go hand-in-hand with domestic violence cases in Los Angeles.
Police Bodycam Evidence
Another way now that's becoming more and more prevalent to get somebody for a domestic violence case is to use the bodycam evidence from the police officers who arrive on scene.
LAPD — the Los Angeles Police Department are all equipped with bodycams and they especially turn them on in domestic violence-related cases so they can capture people's statements. Sometimes they also capture some of the domestic violence that's going on. So, that's another way to get in evidence.
Also, if the defendant in a criminal case made any type of a statement that's helpful to the prosecutors, they will use that in a domestic violence trial to try to prove the case against them.
Another thing they will use in addition to the 9-1-1 tape, the defendant's statement, the police officer's statement and the alleged victim's statement is any physical evidence that they see at the scene.
For example, if the whole house is torn up, that would be an example of using physical evidence. Let's say the victim has injuries — a black eye, scratches or any other type of injury, they're going to take pictures of that at the scene.
They're going to memorialize that in the police report and on a disk usually. That will be turned over to the defense and then the prosecutors will be free to use that evidence at trial.
So, if somebody says somebody punched me in the eye and then they show a picture of an eye that looks like someone punched, that would be good evidence to prove a domestic violence charge at a trial.
Challenging Accuracy of Victim's Story
Of course, the flip side is true and I've had a lot of cases where the alleged victim, the wife for example, claims that the 250 pound husband punched her in the face and there's not a scratch on her. That shows that somebody's not telling the truth, unless she's got a face that doesn't sustain any injuries.
So, there's all sorts of issues that come up at these domestic violence trials and there's usually a lot on the line because people are looking at jail time, the loss of their right to vote, to own, use or possess a weapon — especially in felony domestic violence cases.
So, since all is on the line — a person's reputation, their freedom and their rights, these trials are usually very contentious and it's crucial that you get a lawyer like me who's been doing this for 25 years,.
I've handled thousands of domestic violence cases and many trials over the years, and can be in a position to do damage control if that's necessary or try the case to a not guilty verdict.