Basically, in a trial, the prosecutors will all witnesses and present evidence in an effort to try to meet the elements of the crime of domestic violence or spousal abuse.
They typically will first call the alleged victim and try to set the stage for the rest of the testimony that's going to come in through other witnesses.
Many times in these domestic violence cases, the victims do not want to cooperate for a myriad of reasons.
Victim and Police Officer Statements at Time of Arrest
Whether the victim is a husband or wife or significant other, once the excitement and emotion die down from the incident, a lot of times they think twice about wanting to prosecute the other party. So, what I end of seeing happens is they get on the witness stand and either deny everything, won't say anything, or try and change and alter their story in an effort to help their significant other.
Defendants state that if this happen, they're going to be scot-free and they'll win their case. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The prosecutors will ask them questions about what happened that night.
If the alleged victim does not cooperate or tries to change their story, then the prosecutors will then confront them with the evidence of prior statements that they made about the incident.
And they will also confront them with other evidence they might have – broken tables, photographs of injuries and other evidence that the police gathered at the time they were called out.
And then the biggest evidence that the prosecutors have is they will call the police officers that were actually there to take the statement, see everything and make the arrest. They will ask the police officer, what did the person tell you at the time, and then they will get a full statement of what you said originally.
Photographs and Witness Statements
Further, if the police took pictures which they usually do, they're going to show the photographs of any injuries that were present at the time of the alleged incident. The police are also going to testify about how you were acting – were you crying, were you upset, did you appear injured, did you appear frightened?
In addition, they're going to talk to any witnesses that were there – family, friends, neighbors – and they're going to get statements from them and attempt to corroborate the original statement of the alleged victim.
The police are specially trained with these cases and when they arrive on the scene, they already assume or know that the alleged victim is going to try and change their story. They therefore, begin the preservation of evidence and start to take photographs, lock the person in on statement.
A lot of times they will record statements and videotape statements. Another thing they'll do is they'll get the statement from the alleged perpetrator and they'll memorialize that in a police report, or if they're smart, they'll use a tape recorder or a video. With the other person's statement, combined with the statement of the alleged victim, pictures of the damage or injuries, now they can actually present a case.
In a domestic violence or spousal abuse prosecution/jury trial, after the alleged victim testifies, then they're going to call the police offices to come in and testify about what they saw that night, what everybody said and try to lock their case in that way.
In addition to that, they will call any other independent witnesses or even family members and try to get statements in from them either from them testifying, or prior statements if they try to change or alter their testimony, and they'll get those people's prior statements in as well.
People might say, well that's hearsay, that can't come in. No, it would come in as a prior inconsistent statement to impeach their testimony at trial if they try to change their statement.
So, when it comes to these type of cases, your best bet is to sit down with an attorney and really look to the future to see what type of evidence the prosecutors are going to be able to bring up so that you can decide whether or not that evidence can be countered effectively so that you could actually say that you're not guilty and proceed with a trial and try to win the case, so learn the defenses in spousal abuse or domestic violence cases in Los Angeles County.
Defenses In Jury Trials Of Domestic Violence Cases
When it comes to these type of cases, the defense has a number of different options. Obviously, they can call the defendant and he or she can testify and give their version of events. The defense can also call any witnesses that were present at the time and have them testify.
The defense can even call the alleged victim as a witness if the alleged victim is now on the defendant's side. Sometimes it's a situation where the alleged victim embellished the story because they were angry, and added some facts in that just definitely are not true, and the evidence surrounding it corroborates the fact that they embellished and added some bad facts to try to hurt the defendant at the time.
Under these circumstances, there's nothing wrong with calling the alleged victim and having them explain that. And then when the defendant explains their version of events, you have those two statements together.
If you can also get some independent evidence like witness statements, physical evidence or any other evidence to corroborate that, then you can marrow defense in the domestic violence case. A lot of this stuff is common sense and once you sit down with an attorney like me whose done over 200 jury trials and has handled literally thousands of domestic violence cases over the last 25 years, I've seen how juries are deciding these cases. Contact our Los Angeles domestic violence lawyers to review your case.
Proving the Elements of the Crime
I've actually talked to the juries after the cases and saw what issues that they latched onto – what elements they were looking at in the jury instructions when deciding whether somebody is guilty of spousal abuse or domestic violence – what type of testimony they believed and what type of testimony they did not believe,
So, this type of insight is absolutely necessary if you're going to fight a domestic violence case, and even you're going to try and plea bargain and work out some sort of a resolution in a domestic violence case, you've got to have somebody who's been down this road before and had success for their clients under the circumstances that you're facing, and also in the jurisdiction where your case is pending.
Hiring someone who's local to your courthouse is crucial, because they will have dealt with the prosecutors, the judges and the court staff and they know what it's going to take to win a case in a domestic violence situation and when I sit down with people, I give them an honest evaluation as to whether or not they actually have a chance to win their case or not.
Lying to people or embellishing things or talking about going to trial right from the beginning, in my opinion, is not an honest practice as an attorney. You've got to be straightforward and genuine with people because if you're not, then the people are the ones that are going to suffer in the end when they get convicted of the crime, pay the attorney the money, and they really don't get a value for what they paid for.
So, be wary of attorneys that are already talking about doing to trial when they haven't heard any of the evidence yet. Now you certainly have the ability to go trial if you want to and nobody can stop you, but your attorney should be evaluating your case along the way, educating you and helping you make an informed decision as to whether or not your domestic violence case is worth fighting.
For more information on Domestic Violence Cases In LA County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.