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    Default 17-Yr-Old Charged with Domestic Battery After Arugment with Stepmother

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida

    My 17-year-old granddaughter has been charged with domestic battery after an argument with her stepmother. My granddaughter came home from school about 3 weeks ago and found that someone in the house had left a burner on, on the stove. She left a sarcastic note by the stove, turned off the burner, and went to her room. Her stepmother, upon coming home, found the note, and went to the granddaughter’s room, screaming and yelling hysterically. (My son met this woman over the internet, went to Romania and married her, then arranged for her to come to the U.S. She has only been here a year and a half.) The granddaughter after listening to her verbal abuse for several minutes moved towards her, wanting her to leave the room, but not touching her. The stepmother punched my granddaughter, knocking her down. My granddaughter admits to kicking her at this point to get the woman off her. According to my other 10-year-old granddaughter who arrived home from school in time to witness everything, the stepmother hit the ten-year-old and grabbed an iron, held it aloft, and threatened the 17 year old with it. (There have been previous instances of physical abuse by the stepmother to both girls that were never reported).

    The younger girl ran outside, crying, and tried to call her father on the cell phone. A neighbor heard the little one crying and called the police. By the time the police arrived, the older granddaughter had taken her little sister with her and left the house.

    The police have not talked to either of my granddaughters.
    They have only talked to the stepmother who later appeared with big scratches all over her back and arms. (The ten-year-old claims she saw the stepmother rubbing her back against the stucco on the outside of the house which could account for these marks.) But the granddaughter was served with a summons to appear in court next month. The stepmother has since returned to Romania (supposedly to visit her family for the holidays).

    My granddaughter has never been in any kind of trouble at home or at school. She is a good student and has worked successfully after school at a retail store for the past year and a half. She is scared to death.

    Do we need to hire a criminal lawyer for her? What are the chances of this case being dropped if the stepmother fails to return? Will the younger granddaughter be allowed to tell what she witnessed?

  2. #2

    Default Re: 17-Yr-Old Charged with Domestic Battery After Arugment with Stepmother

    Quote Quoting Grandma41
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida

    My 17-year-old granddaughter has been charged with domestic battery after an argument with her stepmother. My granddaughter came home from school about 3 weeks ago and found that someone in the house had left a burner on, on the stove. She left a sarcastic note by the stove, turned off the burner, and went to her room. Her stepmother, upon coming home, found the note, and went to the granddaughter’s room, screaming and yelling hysterically. (My son met this woman over the internet, went to Romania and married her, then arranged for her to come to the U.S. She has only been here a year and a half.) The granddaughter after listening to her verbal abuse for several minutes moved towards her, wanting her to leave the room, but not touching her. The stepmother punched my granddaughter, knocking her down. My granddaughter admits to kicking her at this point to get the woman off her. According to my other 10-year-old granddaughter who arrived home from school in time to witness everything, the stepmother hit the ten-year-old and grabbed an iron, held it aloft, and threatened the 17 year old with it. (There have been previous instances of physical abuse by the stepmother to both girls that were never reported).
    It never ceases to amaze me the number of "previous instances of physical abuse" occur in families, yet no one bothers to report it. By failing to do so, it really destroys the credibility of the victim/witness (who might try to claim that such levels of "self defense" were necessary due to the fear level influenced prior incidents) AND doesn't provide ANY level of documentation of those prior reports when later incidents (like this one) occur. For the benefit of everyone reading this post, please do your kids a favor and teach them to use 911 - even a 10 year old can pick up the phone and say "someone is making me afraid".

    The younger girl ran outside, crying, and tried to call her father on the cell phone. A neighbor heard the little one crying and called the police.
    Finally.

    By the time the police arrived, the older granddaughter had taken her little sister with her and left the house.
    Unfortunately, this isn't going to help her case. Although I'm sure she was upset and wanted to get away from the step-mother, this sets her up to be painted in court as being the aggressor and then fleeing the scene. She needed to call the police herself and be the first one to go up to the officer arriving on the scene.

    The police have not talked to either of my granddaughters. They have only talked to the stepmother who later appeared with big scratches all over her back and arms.
    Exactly why she should have stayed AT the scene to talk to police. When they only get one side of the story, they can only act on one side of the story.

    (The ten-year-old claims she saw the stepmother rubbing her back against the stucco on the outside of the house which could account for these marks.)
    That'll be helpful, but again, if she fled the scene and didn't talk to authorities, this is information that police and the prosecution don't have at this point.

    But the granddaughter was served with a summons to appear in court next month. The stepmother has since returned to Romania (supposedly to visit her family for the holidays). My granddaughter has never been in any kind of trouble at home or at school. She is a good student and has worked successfully after school at a retail store for the past year and a half. She is scared to death.

    Do we need to hire a criminal lawyer for her? What are the chances of this case being dropped if the stepmother fails to return? Will the younger granddaughter be allowed to tell what she witnessed?
    Eventually, the younger child should be able to give her version of events in either a formal statement/depo or on the stand, or both. If the stepmother doesn't return, the prosecution can probably still pursue the case - but they might choose not to once a clearer picture comes into focus and they get more info, and depending on the level of evidence they already have against the 17 year old (statements from the "victim", the neighbor who called police, photos of injuries, etc.). Again, unfortunately, the credibility of the children comes into play as an issue (fleeing the scene, calling dad instead of calling authorities, and the amount of time the two have had to "get their story straight" are fodder for the prosecution).

    As for a criminal defense attorney, I'd highly recommend that she speak to several, at the very least for an initial consultation. Remember, there are injuries in this case (yes, maybe manufactured ones, but injuries nonetheless) and it's not impossible that the prosecution could try to get the case waived into ADULT court - and if that happens, your granddaughter COULD be looking at jail time or even state prison if somehow a conviction should occur. Personally if it was a 17 year old in my family, I'd be retaining the services of an attorney ASAP.

    What does dad have to say about all of this?
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

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