The landscape of cases involving domestic violence has drastically changed in the last decade. Once, a matter of intra family resolution, these cases have now become a tremendous burden to the justice system. Prosecutor’s offices must now assign special prosecutors to these cases. Judges hand out tougher sentences to those convicted of these offenses. Counseling programs for abused spouses have flourished and are, in part, paid by tax dollars. I believe these cases are serious cases that should be prosecuted if based upon legitimate evidence. They certainly should. Although the judicial system is not designed to help break the cycle of women who are subject to repeated abuses from their mates, it can be useful in conjunction with counseling programs aimed at assisting abused women. However, too often have I seen cases brought against one party merely as leverage to obtain an advantage in a divorce, child custody matter, or, unfortunately, in anger when one mate or partner wants to dissolve the relationship.
Florida’s law now requires law enforcement officer’s make an arrest if the officer observes any signs of a struggle involving the complaining witness. Many times, it may even be the husband or male partner who calls law enforcement yet once the officer responds to the scene, the officer arrests the husband because the officer observes some evidence the wife or girlfriend has been in a struggle. There is definitely a bias I have observed where male police officers arrest the husband or boyfriend even if both parties show signs of being involved in a fight with one another. In one recent case I have, the officer who arrested the man, went to the woman’s home the next day and offered his assistance in replacing all her door locks. He went so far as to cut lumber and made sure ever glass sliding door in her house could not be opened. Many of the cases I have seen also involve one party trying to remove the other from the home, they struggle and police are called.