|Domestic Abuse Affects Everyone |
A scene within FOR EVERY ACTION, my Pepper Bibeau mystery novel, involves an arraignment for an assault case. The judge decides the case is a civil matter between the two parties and, at the request of the defendant's lawyer, he dismisses the case. The situation does not represent a domestic dispute, but the judge interprets it as such, just another complaint to be handled in civil court.
An arraignment, in the law of the United States,
is the bringing of a person who has been formally
accused of a crime before the court to answer
the accusations against the person.
After the accused is identified and the indictment
is read, the defendant is called upon to answer
the charge by pleading not guilty, guilty,
or nolo contendere (no contest).
Before pleading, the defendant may file a
formal document, known as a motion,
asking the court to dismiss the case.
A judge can dismiss the charges if, for example,
he or she determines that the conduct charged
does not constitute a crime.
In 1968, domestic disputes were considered a family matter.
By the 1980's, such charges were taken more seriously.
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