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So Many Valuable Lessons from the “Giles Amicus Brief” (2005)

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(1) . . . BUT FIRST, let me (have some fun) present(ing) the DILEMMA of FAMILY LAW & CUSTODY in the face of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

 

CHILD CUSTODY, supposedly:

1. Safety & Welfare: The court’s “primary concern” is to assure the child’s health, safety and welfare. This codified policy is a companion to the Legislature’s express finding and declaration that “the perpetration of child abuse or domestic violence in a household where a child resides is detrimental to the child.” [Ca Fam § 3020(a) (emphasis added); see also Ca Fam § 3044]

(KINDof sounds like California Penal Code 273, spousal batterers are a clear and present danger to the physical and mental health of the citizens {{including LITTLE ones??}} of the state of California.  And so what is done about this?  The old 1-2-3.  

  • 1.  Restraining order, in one venue or another.  Possibly a night, or more, in jail (often not, but sometimes it happens), or in egregious circumstances, maybe even anger management classes. . . . . 
  • 2.  IF all are alive, when restraining order is about to expire, and kids exist, THIS is where family law can come in.  Alternate plan – it can come in right away, in other cases.  BOOM!  There goes safety and separation.
  • 3.  Thus it remains, until another “event’ happens, either a child-stealing, a custody-switch (with supervised visitation for the former PROTECTIVE parent, often a mother).  Or 18th birthdays.  Or (ad lib…).

IN THE INTERIM, spice it up with child support orders (and attempts to enforce them), parenting education, and a heavy dose of therapeutic jurisprudence.  


2. “Frequent and continuing contact” with both parents and shared parenting: ((??)) Further, an appropriate custody/visitation award must take into account the codified policy “to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy” . . .except where the contact would not be in the child’s best interest pursuant to Ca Fam § 3011 [Ca Fam § 3020(b) (emphasis added)]

==================

WOW, that “joint” stuff is what took me out from actually having a post-separation LIFE, of any significant duration at any significant endeavor.  The most years I ever got it up to was four in a row, one job, but the dynamic is this:  SEPARATION WITH SUCCESS FOR (the nonviolent spouse) == ESCALATION TO CAUSE FAILURE (from the enabled abuser)– ever tried to “share parenting” after domestic violence?  Or during it, for that matter?  During it, it was my job.  PERIOD.  Along with a whole lot of other non-paying jobs, including doormat and punching bag, wife, lover (when he was in the mood) and erstwhile Mom.  And bringing home the bacon.    After it, it was his, PERIOD.  Or the other closest male in the family.  I just was to take the remote control orders.  I protested, I lost custody.  Not even legally.  So be it.  Thank you, Mia Patria, fatherhood movement, engaging fathers, fatherlessness crisis, and faith institutions.  . . . . . 

(God, I miss those girls!)

 

(2) . . . Criminal v Family Law — from STOP FAMILY VIOLENCE website:

 

Creating Justice Through Balance: Integrating Domestic Violence

Juvenile and Family Court Journal, September 1, 2003

The core values underpinning family law—particularly as it addresses child custody and visitation—too often are at odds with the safety needs of victims of domestic violence. Family law, which has developed {{ACCORDING TO THIS SOURCE — and, I HAPPEN TO DIFFER PERSONALLY–FAMILY LAW historically had promoters, founders, etc.}} as a mechanism for defining, recognizing, establishing, reordering, or supporting the familial and intimate relationships that people have with one another, is frequently inadequate to address domestic violence. In contrast, the specialized domestic violence law provisions operating within family law function under rationales and theories distinct from those underlying family law. {{And are one weak-assed response to them, too!}} The inherent substantive tensions that arise when the two bodies of law are simultaneously implemented can result in conflicting court orders, unsafe interventions, and inappropriate remedies for survivors of domestic violence.

  • NEWS ARTICLE

    Custodians of Abuse

    Boston Phoenix, January 9, 2003

    Nearly 25 experts in custody litigation involving child-abuse claims were interviewed for this article. All had the same three complaints about family court — regardless of which state’s court system they were familiar with: – Family courts do not rely on criminal investigators to examine child-abuse claims. They rely on family advocates called guardians ad litem (GALs) – psychologists, social workers or lawyers who lack expertise{{AND/OR INTEREST….}} in investigating child sexual abuse. – Normal courtroom checks and balances don’t exist in family court. Unlike in criminal and civil court, there are no juries, plaintifs often lack legal representation, hence judges can act without scrutiny. Often judges act in ways that violate basic rights of due process. – Gender bias and traditional stereotypes of how women and men parent children continue to prevail in family court. As a result, while conventional wisdom has it that mothers almost always fare well in family court, statistics show otherwise.  More

(PAY ATTENTION NOT ONLY TO ARTICLE, BUT ALSO PUBLICATION….)

The above shows some of the dilemma — 2 languages, 2 approaches, 2 different sets of expectations, goals, and most importantly — standard of evidence when it comes to DV.  Yet one family can be experiencing behavior that is appropriately addressed in criminal, yet attempts made to handle it in family.  In general, no can do — I say.  

(3) . . .Giles Amicus Brief, 2005

At the end of the LAST post, I have a segment from a well-known — if you track these things — “Giles Amicus Brief.”  I explained why posting it, and gave a sample with highlighting of sentences, and a few comments, as to how it goes with domestic violence.  

Well, now I’m pasting the whole dang thing in here.  I believe that those who are literate, and able to visually sort legal cites from common English sentences will get a heads-up on what the criminal sector is saying about the crime of domestic violence:  the laws, the District Attorney folk, and those who help prosecute.  The word “prosecute” applies to the criminal sector.  The word “mediate/reconcile/educate (etc.) belongs to the family law sector.  Get used to both of them!  (Some couples experiencing violence never even made it to the criminal prosecution point — I’m one of those, and it was a shame, and a factor of the many enablers and public inability to put a NAME to the CRIME.  Or to accept that it had happened.  We’re talking California, and we’re talking turn of this century — not turn of the LAST century.  Backlash, denial, residual misogyny, or suppressed misogyny just waiting to spring into action, I don’t know.  But it’s unfortunate for the children.  And everyone else.

This brief will, perhaps, provide a backdrop of wonder and amazement at the trouble the family law sector has in “explicating domestic violence in the context of custody” and holding conference about who hits whom more.  Meanwhile, officers responding to a call, I’d bet, bring their guns AND if they have them, bulletproof vests.  That’s an indicator, OK? Sure,  it was a quarrel, a dispute, but any officer is still going to go in armed and protected….

Moreover, some officers — like some PEOPLE —  are also privately batterers.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, and hope whoever responds to the call, isn’t….

 

Moreover, I find it incredible that, given the amount of domestic violence that’s STILL prevalent, obviously (see headlines), the criminal people who are putting SO much efffort, and funding, into prosecutions (at least so I hear — I haven’t seen too much personally, though I hear it occurs.  Typically where one hears it occurred is after another headline — see other pages in my blog) — how can they possibly fail to realize what is going on in the family law system, which is closer to THIS:

 

 

(and after which you and yours may feel & look more like THIS than not…..)

(To protect the innocent, I have NO relationship to any of sources of the images, and only utilized Google Image Search to find them).

(I’m assuming readers would prefer NOT to have 1,000 of my words, when 3 images would get the job done just as well).

 

AN FYI on HOW IT CAN GO, PROSECUTING DV – 

For readers who have a high tolerance (or desire) to seek out the statements of the argument, and the ability to not be dissuaded by formatting of legal cites and extensive references, if that language is an unfamiliar one.  Go for the words you DO understand, and assemble the concepts.  There’s a lot of data in here. . . . 

(Excerpt from the end):


Arguably, some victims may refuse to assist in their batterers’ prosecutions due to factors that the batterer does not cause, including love and the hope that the batterer will change.  Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving the Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997) TA \l “Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving the Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997)” \s “Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving tThe Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. EOImmigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997)” \c 3 However, even in these circumstances, trial courts may determine that the batterer caused the victim’s unavailability by preying on the victim’s emotions and promising to change.  

 

{{Also it will discuss factors of initimdation and fears of reprisal, and whether or not the batterer caused these in intention to silence a witness or as a factor of what domestic violence simply is . . . . . The case, GILES, is where he was (I believe, but can’t affirm) protesting hearsay evidence that yes, he was the murderer — and his rights to confront his accuser were supposedly compromised, in that she was dead.  Talk about a fine point — but an important, Sixth Amendment one.  Yes, this is a vital issue, and this is how it sometimes plays out in the trial courts.

 

 Tom Lininger, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, conducted a survey of more than sixty prosecutors’ offices in California, Washington, and Oregon regarding Crawford’s impact on domestic violence prosecutions.  The survey included responses from 23 counties in California (which collectively included eighty-eight percent of California’s population).  Several courts have recently cited Lininger’s domestic violence research findings, including the Ninth Circuit Court of AppealsSee United States v. Hall, 419 F.3d 980 (9th Cir. 2005) TA \s “United States v. Hall, No. 04-50193, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 17148, at *21 n.6419 F.3d 980, 988 n.6 (9th Cir.  Aug. 15, 2005)” .


“Crawford” will be explained in the Amicus…..

 

Why “Giles,” My friends?  

 

This came up when I searched “clear and present danger” of spousal batterers.  While the purpose of this Amicus Brief is to discuss the Crawford rule, as applied to a man accused of a DV murder who protested (using, I believe, that “Crawford rule” that his 6th amendment rights (to confront his accuser in court) ruled out the admissibility of statements from (either 911 calls, or prior statements), it’s KIND OF IRRELEVANT in that he had, allegedly, killed her.  They are saying, if he is allowed to call on this rule (and a narrow interpretation of it), that provides a profit from wrongdoing (a.k.a., case in point, femicide). . . . 

To  non-attorney on-lookers it may seem pretty fine-tuned argument, given a homicide happened.  But what about right to defense?

 

My purposes in pasting it here are a little different:

  •  Sample of legal argument (not a motion, but a legal reasoning process) in which almost every assertion is cited.  
  • The attorney for the groups filing (who are listed at the end), is Nancy K.D. Lemon, Esq., at UC Berkeley.  She is pre-emininent in DV law, and in training others in applying it, AND future attorneys.  So you are reading the work of a person very informed in the field of Domestic Violence.  
  • IT TALKS ABOUT THE ESSENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, I BELIEVE TRUTHFULLY.. . . AS THE PATTERN, WITH ESCALATION, AS COMPREHENSIVE, AND WITH EVER-PRESENT POSSIBILITIES OF ESCALATING.
  • IT TALKS ABOUT THE PRIME ISSUE OF VICTIM / WITNESS INTIMIDATION.
  • IT ACKNOWLEDGES THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM (couldn’t tell, again, from most family law proceedings….)
  • TO ME, IT HIGHLIGHTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TYPE OF REASONING IN THIS FIELD OF LAW (CRIMINAL) AND FAMILY LAW (a specialized — I say, bastardized — version of civil law).  

The dilemma of families stuck in the one system, yet dealing — systemically — with problems that fall clearly by evidence and definition within the crimnal — is serious.  They can be like flies in amber.  Their squeaks will not be heard in one venue, where if properly addressed (and that’s a big IF) in the other, someone would be in jail.  The public needs to understand this!  It’s a public problem affecting public bottom lines, and draining the one economy and putting the drained funds into the hands of those who run certain systems. . . . . 

 

For readers who can deal with a level of discomfort, if legal language is new to you, and go for the plain English language, if the “cites” are too burdensome, there is a lot of valuable information in this brief, filed in December 2005.  For those who can handle the cites also (unfortunately, because my source didn’t transmit the active links, it seems some of the fine-print cites show up in duplicate or triplicate — oh well, just look for the next complete English SENTENCE) — they have significance, quoting some of the major “players” (organizations, nonprofits, published works) in the DV field.  

As should be obvious, by now, to readers, I am speaking from the perspective of still dealing with the impact of years of DV upon my life as a single woman and mother, and in recent years, the added drama of becoming noncustodial in an egregiously illegal and trauma-producing manner.  And without further recourse to reverse the bad ruling.  This document explains SOME of why what may seem like the obvious thing to do, safety was a factor all round in doing it, as well as finances, as well as legal know-how.  

A previous, better-highlit version (of this 25 page brief!) was not saved last night, and so what you see is what you get.  You are on your own in this one, but I trust that the experience will help those who can navigate the rapids of a legal brief.  At the end, (if it’s new), consider yourself a little drenched, but let’s hope slightly different for the experience.

Also, for women or others in need of writing their own, it shows the level of detailed reasoning, and SUPPORTING EACH POINT, that should be involved when filing anything on your behalf.  Don’t let sloppy stuff go on the record.  

The word count in the brief (it says towards the bottom) is 7,000+ exempting certain cites.  The word count in this post, now, is 10,850.  Have a nice day!  Please COMMENT if this was helpful, or not — thanks.


 

 

 

 

Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Respondent in People v. Giles

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT 

 

The Rule of Forfeiture by Wrongdoing (“the Rule”) extinguishes a defendant’s Sixth Amendment confrontation right where the defendant procured the witness’s unavailability, regardless of the defendant’s intent.  

 

Crawford v. Washington does not require courts to exclude a victim’s relevant statements where the defendant himself has guaranteed that the victim cannot testify in court.  Crawford states that a defendant can forfeit his Sixth Amendment confrontation rights through his own wrongdoing.  A defendant will profit from his wrongdoing when, regardless of intent, the defendant procures a witness’s unavailability and the court suppresses the witness’s testimony as a result.  Should the court adopt the defendant’s flawed understanding of the Rule, abusers who have harmed or terrorized their victims to the point where they are no longer willing or able to testify will be acquitted much more often than previously.  Since neither the Sixth Amendment nor Crawford requires this result, this Court should not suppress the deceased victim’s statements in this case. 

The Rule applies equally where the defendant procured the victim’s unavailability by killing the victim or by instilling fear of reprisals.  Unavailability often results where, in absence of a direct threat, the batterer has abused the victim to the extent that the victim reasonably fears retaliation.  Batterers should be held responsible for causing the victim’s unavailability where a victim fails to assist the prosecution based on a reasonable fear of retaliation.  

Restricting the Rule to cases where the defendant intended to procure the victim’s unavailability would have a deleterious effect on domestic violence prosecutions.  Many batterers cause their victims’ unavailability without intending to silence the victim’s testimony at some future trial.  Rather, a desire to control the victim motivates a batterer’s abusive behavior.  Furthermore, a victim’s statements regarding prior abuse or threats are often the only means of establishing the batterer’s motive, identity, and propensity to abuse.  For example, since domestic violence homicide is often the result of an escalating series of battering incidents, the trier of fact must be able to hear evidence of prior abusive incidents in order to establish the defendant’s motive in killing the victim.  

The California Legislature has recognized the need to admit previous acts of abuse in domestic violence cases and California courts have traditionally admitted this evidence in the form of previous prosecutions, previous convictions, and eyewitness testimony.  However, many batterers successfully terrorize and sequester their victims so that the victims do not file charges and so that there are no eyewitnesses to abusive acts.  The defendant’s flawed understanding of the Rule would give batterers an incentive to further abuse and isolate their victims in order to prevent the justice system from intervening.  

 

In order to ensure the continued viability of domestic violence prosecutions and support the Legislature’s efforts to combat the domestic violence epidemic, judges must be allowed to determine that a batterer who causes a witness’s unavailability through murder or by instilling fear of reprisals has forfeited his right to confront the victim.  This Court should affirm the decision of the court of appeal.      

ARGUMENT

 

THE RULE OF FORFEITURE BY WRONGDOING APPLIES EVEN IF THE DEFENDANT DID NOT INTEND TO PREVENT THE VICTIM FROM TESTIFYING  

 

The Rule of Forfeiture is based on the equitable principle that the accused should not profit from his wrongdoing.  See Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 158-59 (1879) TA \l “See Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879)” \s “See Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 158-59 (1879)” \c 1  (If a witness is absent because of the accused’s wrongful procurement, “he cannot complain if competent evidence is admitted to supply the place of that which he has kept away”; “The [forfeiture] rule has its foundation in the maxim that no one shall be permitted to take advantage of his own wrong.”); Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 62, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 1370 (2004) TA \l “Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354 (2004)” \s “Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 62, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 1370 (2004)” \c 1  (“[T]he rule of forfeiture by wrongdoing (which we accept) extinguishes confrontation claims on essentially equitable grounds.”).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A wrongdoer would profit from his wrongdoing whether or not he intended to procure the witness’s unavailability because, in either case, the accused’s wrongdoing prevents the victim from testifying at trial.    

The Rule applies where the wrongdoing consists of intimidation or other means to keep a witness from providing adverse testimony.  See generally Reynolds, 98 U.S. at 160 (admitting testimony of a witness from a prior trial because the defendant refused to reveal her location to a process server). See also State v. Wright, 701 N.W.2d 802, 814 (Minn. 2005) TA \l “State v. Wright, 701 N.W.2d 802 (Minn. 2005)” \s “State v. Wright, 701 N.W.2d 802, 814 (Minn., 2005)” \c 1  (“We agree with amici curiae that perpetrators of domestic violence frequently intimidate their victims with the goal of preventing those victims from testifying against them.  Thus, a forfeiture by wrongdoing analysis is particularly suitable for cases involving domestic violence.”).

 

However, a defendant would equally benefit from his wrongdoing if, after the batterer caused the victim’s unavailability, the court failed to admit the victim’s testimony  At least two courts have held that the Rule applies to a defendant who caused, without specifically intending to do so, the witness’s unavailability at trial.  The Kansas Supreme Court held that “[Where] the trial court determines as a threshold matter that that the reason the victim cannot testify at trial is that the accused murdered her [,] [the] accused should be deemed to have forfeited the confrontation right.”  State v. Meeks, 88 P.3d at 794.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that, in contravention of the Rule, a defendant would benefit from his own wrongdoing if a court excluded a victim’s testimony after the defendant procured the witness’s unavailability by killing her.  United States v. Emery, 186 F.3d 921 (8th Cir. 1999) TA \l “United States v. Emery, 186 F.3d 921 (8th Cir. 1999)” \s “United States v. Emery, 186 F.3d 921 (8th Cir. 1999)” \c 1

 

RESTRICTING THE RULE TO CASES WHERE THE DEFENDANT INTENDED TO PROCURE THE VICTIM’S UNAVAILABILITY WOULD HAVE A DELETERIOUS EFFECT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROSECUTIONS

Domestic Violence Assaults And Homicides Are Tragically Frequent 

 

For at least the past fifteen years, California law enforcement has annually received between 180,000 and 250,000 domestic violence calls for assistance.  California Attorney General’s Office, Domestic Violence-Related Calls for Assistance, 1986-2003 TA \ \c 3 , available at http://caag.state.ca.us/cjsc/publications/candd/cd03/tabs/57.pdf; see also  TA \l “Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18290 (West 2005)”  (“There are hundreds of thousands of persons in this state who are regularly beaten.”); Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey 38 (U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Nat’l Inst. Of Justice No. 183781, 2000) TA \l “Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey 38 (U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Nat’l Inst. Of Justice No. 183781, 2000)” \s “Patricia Tjaden & Nancy Thoennes, Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey 38 (U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Nat’l Inst. Of Justice No. (Nov. 2” \c 3  (indicating that about 1.5 million women and 834,700 men are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year), available at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf.  In 1998, California law enforcement agencies made 56,892 arrests in domestic violence cases.  Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Report on Arrests for Domestic Violence in California, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 3, at 4 (1999) TA \l “Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Report on Arrests for Domestic Violence in California, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 3 (1999)” \s “Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Report on Arrests for Domestic Violence in California, 1998, Criminal Justice Statistics Center Report Series, Vol.ume 1, No.umber 3, at 4 (1999)” \c 3 , available at http://caag.state.ca.us/cjsc/publications/misc/dv98.pdfFurthermore, the California Legislature has acknowledged that domestic violence is “the single most unreported crime in the state.” Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18290 (West 2005) TA \s “Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18290 (West 2005)” .    

Far too often, an escalating series of abusive incidents leads to homicideSee Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18290 (West 2005) TA \s “Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18290 (West 2005)”  (“[In many cases] acts of domestic violence lead to the death of one of the involved parties.”); People v. Linkenauger, 32 Cal. App. 4th 1603, 1606 (1995) TA \l “People v. Linkenauger, 32 Cal. App. 4th 1603 (1995)” \s “People v. Linkenauger, 32 Cal. App. 4th 1603,at 1606 (1995)” \c 1  (“We again confront a situation that, unfortunately, is becoming all too common, domestic violence culminating in murder.”).  Nationwide, an average of three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.  Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Subcommittee on Crime, Correction & Victims’ Rights, Ten Years of Extraordinary Progress: The Violence Against Women Act 30 (2004) TA \l “Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Subcommittee on Crime, Correction & Victims’ Rights, Ten Years of Extraordinary Progress: The Violence Against Women Act (2004)” \s “Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Subcommittee on Crime, Correction & Victims’ Rights, Ten Years of Extraordinary Progress: The Violence Against Women Act 30 (2004)” \c 3 , available at http://biden.senate.gov/documents/VAWA_Report.pdf.  In California, the Criminal Justice Statistics Center reported that there were 187 domestic violence homicides in 2003.  Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Review of Domestic Violence Statistics 1993-2003 TA \l “Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Review of Domestic Violence Statistics 1993-2003” \s “Criminal Justice Statistics Center, Review of Domestic Violence Statistics 1993-2003” \c 3 ,   HYPERLINK http://caag.state.ca.us/cjsc/publications/misc/dvsr/rpt.pdf.         

 

 

 

 

The Nature Of Domestic Violence Makes It Likely That A Batterer Will Cause A Victim Witness’s Unavailability Through His Behavior That, While Not Necessarily Intended To Silence The Victim’s Testimony At Trial, Instills A Reasonable Fear Of Reprisal In The Victim 

 

Domestic violence victims frequently fail to assist in their batterer’s prosecutions.  This decision is often based on the victim’s fear of reprisal, including fear of violent and severe non-violent acts.  These fears are reasonable even in absence of a direct threat because they are based on the witness’s intimate knowledge of the batterer’s behavior.  Batterers may therefore cause a witness’s unavailability either by directly threatening the victim or by instilling fears of reprisal.  In response to this common evidentiary problem in domestic violence cases, trial courts must be allowed to determine whether the batterer caused the victim’s unavailability by instilling a fear of violent or severe non-violent retaliation, thereby forfeiting the defendant’s right to confront the victim at trial.

 

This Court has recognized that domestic violence victims are more prone than other crime victims to refuse to cooperate after initially providing information to law enforcement.  See  TA \l “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892 (2004)” \s “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004)” \c 1 People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004) TA \s “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004)”  (citing expert witness testimony regarding the “tendency of domestic violence victims to recant previous allegations of abuse as part of the particular behavior patterns commonly observed in abusive relationships”).  In fact, a recent study indicates that between eighty to ninety percent of domestic violence victims recant their accusations or refuse to cooperate with prosecutors.  Davis v. State, 169 S.W.3d 660, 671 (Tex. App. 2005) TA \l “Davis v. State, 169 S.W.3d 660 (Tex. App. 2005)” \s “Davis v. State, 169 S.W.3d 660, 671 (Tex. App. 2005)” \c 1  (citing Tom Lininger, Evidentiary Issues in Federal Prosecutions of Violence Against Women, 36 Ind. L. Rev. 687, 709 n.76 (2003) TA \l “Tom Lininger, Evidentiary Issues in Federal Prosecutions of Violence Against Women, 36 Ind. L. Rev. 687 (2003)” \s “Tom Lininger, Evidentiary Issues in Federal Prosecutions of Violence Against Women, 36 Ind. L. Rev. 687, 709 n.76 (2003)” \c 3 ). 

Domestic violence victims may fail to assist in their batterers’ prosecutions because their batterers have specifically threatened them with reprisal.  Alana Bowman, A Matter of Justice: Overcoming Juror Bias in Prosecutions of Batterers Through Expert Witness Testimony of The Common Experiences of Battered Women, 2 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 219, 248 (1992) TA \l “Alana Bowman, A Matter of Justice: Overcoming Juror Bias in Prosecutions of Batterers Through Expert Witness Testimony of The Common Experiences of Battered Women, 2 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 219 (1992)” \s “Alana Bowman, A Matter of Justice: Overcoming Juror Bias in Prosecutions of Batterers Through Expert Witness Testimony of The Common Experiences of Battered Women, 2 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 219, 248 (1992)” \c 3 .  According to a recent study, batterers threaten retaliatory violence in nearly half of all prosecutions.  Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response 183 (3d ed. 2003) TA \l “Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response (3d ed. 2003)” \s “Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response 183 (3d ed. 2003)” \c 3 ; see also Cal. Pen. Code § 136.2 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code§ 136.2 (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code (2005) § 136.2 (West 2005)” \c 2  (directing courts to identify domestic violence cases so that they may issue various orders on their own motions, including protective orders, that will keep defendants from intimidating or dissuading their victims). 

However, based on their intimate knowledge of the batterer’s behavior, many victims reasonably anticipate retaliation even without a direct threat and consequently do not assist the prosecutionSee United States v. Hall, 419 F.3d 980, 988 n.6 (9th Cir. 2005) TA \l “United States v. Hall, 419 F.3d 980, (9th Cir. 2005)” \s “United States v. Hall, No. 04-50193, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 17148, at *21 n.6419 F.3d 980, 988 n.6 (9th Cir.  Aug. 15, 2005)” \c 1  (“The difficulty of securing the testimony of domestic violence victims . . . against their batterers is well recognized.”) (citing Tom Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford, 91 Va. L. Rev. 747, 769 (2005) TA \l “Tom Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford, 91 Va. L. Rev. 747 (2005)” \s “Tom Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford, 91 Va. L. Rev. 747, 769 (2005)” \c 3 ); Buzawa & Buzawa, supra, at 183 TA \s “Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response 183 (3d ed. 2003)”  (noting that despite increased societal attention to domestic violence, the rate of prosecution is still limited by victims’ inability to cooperate with prosecution).      

The Ninth Circuit recently acknowledged that the source of domestic violence is “power and control [that] pervades the entire relationship” so that “the battered woman’s fear, vigilance, or perception that she has few options may persist…even when the abusive partner appears to be peaceful and calm.”  Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003) TA \l “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824 (9th Cir. 2003)” \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)” \c 1  (citing Mary Ann Dutton, Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence: A Redefinition of Battered Woman Syndrome,  HYPERLINK “http://www.lexis.com/research/buttonTFLink 21 Hofstra L. Rev. 1191, 1208 (1993) TA \l “Mary Ann Dutton, Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence: A Redefinition of Battered Woman Syndrome, 21 Hofstra L. Rev. 1191 (1993)” \s “Mary Ann Dutton, Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence: A Redefinition of Battered Woman Syndrome, 21 Hofstra L. Rev. 1191, 1208 (1993)” \c 3 ).  This Court also described this pattern in People v. Brown, noting that “even if there has been no other episode of violence, the victim may change her mind about prosecuting the abuser and may recant her previous statements.” 33 Cal. 4th at 907 TA \s “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004)” .  

 

Furthermore, the California Legislature has defined domestic violence to include violent and various non-violent acts, supporting the proposition that victims may reasonably fear many forms of reprisal.  Specifically, the California Evidence Code states that domestic violence is “physical or sexual abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment that results in physical harm, pain, or mental suffering, the deprivation of care by a caregiver, or other deprivation by a custodian or provider of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.”  See Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 (West 2005)” \c 2  (following the meaning of domestic violence set forth in  TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West 2005) \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West 2005)” \c 2 Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West 2005) TA \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West 2005)” ). Additionally, the California Family Code defines abuse as causing bodily injury, sexually abusing a person, or placing a person in “reasonable apprehension of serious bodily harm to that person or to another” and, further, it provides that a victim may obtain a restraining order to protect against the batterer’s non-violent reprisals, such as “stalking, threatening,…harassing, telephoning,…[or] destroying personal property.” Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6203, 6320 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Fam. Code § 6203 (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6203, 6320 (West 2005)” \c 2 .     

 

Most commonly, a victim reasonably anticipates a physical assault, including sexual assault or even death, if the victim attempts to end a battering relationship and assist in the batterer’s prosecution.  In fact, victims are at the highest risk of severe abuse or death when they challenge the batterer’s control in their attempts to leave.  Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 837 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)” ; see also Martha R. Mahoney, Victimization or Oppression? Women’s Lives, Violence, and Agency, in The Public Nature of Private Violence 59, 79 (Martha Albertson Fineman & Roxanne Mykitiuk eds., 1994) TA \l “Martha R. Mahoney, Victimization or Oppression? Women’s Lives, Violence, and Agency, in The Public Nature of Private Violence (Martha Albertson Fineman & Roxanne Mykitiuk eds., 1994)” \s “Martha R. Mahoney, Victimization or Oppression? Women’s Lives, Violence, and Agency, in The Public Nature Of Private Violence 59, 79 (Martha Albertson Fineman & Roxanne Mykitiuk eds., 1994)” \c 3  (describing the phenomenon of “separation assault” in domestic violence relationships and finding that the majority of domestic violence homicides occur upon separation).  

 

Victims may also reasonably fear serious, non-violent reprisals.  For example, a victim may fear that the batterer will abduct or injure the couple’s children.  See Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 125 S. Ct. 2796, 2800-2802 (2005) TA \l “See Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 125 S. Ct. 2796 (2005)” \s “See TownCity of Castle Rock v. Gonzalesz, 125 S. Ct. 2796, 2800-2802 (2005)” \c 1  (describing incident in which batterer violated his wife’s restraining order against him, abducted his three children, and murdered them.); see also Maureen Sheeran & Scott Hampton, Supervised Visitation in Cases of Domestic Violence, 50(2) Juv. & Fam. Ct. J. 13, 13-21 (1999) TA \l “Maureen Sheeran & Scott Hampton, Supervised Visitation in Cases of Domestic Violence, 50(2) Juv. & Fam. Ct. J. 13 (1999)” \s “Maureen Sheeran & Scott Hampton, Supervised Visitation in Cases of Domestic Violence, 50(2) Juv.enile &and Fam.ily Ct. J.ournal 13, 13-21 (1999)” \c 3  (citing research that establishes a definitive link between parental child abduction and domestic violence).  In fact, twenty-five percent of batterers directly threaten to kidnap the couple’s children if the victim pursues legal action. Buzawa & Buzawa, supra, at 183.  

 

Additionally, because many victims depend upon the batterer for financial support, they may reasonably fear financial ruin or homelessness if they assist the prosecution.  A batterer’s control of the victim’s access to money and employment is common in domestic violence situations.  Diane R. Follingstad et al., The Role of Emotional Abuse in Physically Abusive Relationships, 5 J. Fam. Violence 107, 109 (1990) TA \l “Diane R. Follingstad et al., The Role of Emotional Abuse in Physically Abusive Relationships, 5 J. Fam. Violence 107 (1990)” \s “Diane R. Follingstad et al., The Role of Emotional Abuse in Physically Abusive Relationships, 5 J. Fam. Violence 107, 109 (1990)” \c 3 A victim may reasonably fear that, without the batterer’s financial support, she and her children are at risk of becoming homeless.  U.S. Conference of Mayors, A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 27-City Survey (2004) TA \l “U.S. Conference of Mayors, A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 27-City Survey (2004) \s “U.S. Conference of Mayors, A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 27-City Survey (, December 2004)” \c 3  (citing domestic violence as the primary cause of homelessness in forty-four percent of the cities surveyed).  

 

Furthermore, many undocumented abused immigrants are at a heightened risk of financial ruin if they leave their batterers because they may not be able to obtain employment or public assistance.  Leslye E. Orloff et al., With  HYPERLINK “http://web2.westlaw.com/find/default.wl?DB=1137&SerialNum=0105667923&FindType=Y&ReferencePositionType=S&ReferencePosition=317&AP=&mt=California&fn=_top&sv=Split&vr=2.0&rs=WLW5.10” \t “_top” No Place to Turn: Improving Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women, 29 Fam. L. Q. 313, 317-19, 324 (1995) TA \l “Leslye E. Orloff et al., With No Place to Turn: Improving Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women, 29 Fam. L. Q. 313 (1995)” \s “Leslye EL. Orloff et al., With No Place to Turn: Improving Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women, 29 Fam. L. Q. 313, 317-19, 324 (1995)” \c 3  (“The battered immigrant spouse rarely obtains the cooperation of her husband in obtaining a work visa … In addition, virtually all public assistance programs bar undocumented immigrants from receiving benefits and limit the eligibility of legal residents.”).  

Undocumented immigrant victims may also fear that their batterers will prevent them from obtaining legal status. Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Power and Control Wheel, in Domestic Violence Law 38 (Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2005) TA \l Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Power and Control Wheel, in Domestic Violence Law (Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2005) \s “Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Power and Control Wheel, in Domestic Violence Law 38 (Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2005)” \c 3  (noting that immigrant women may stay in abusive relationships due to the threat or fear of being deported).  For example, if an immigrant victim is deported, she may be separated from her children indefinitely, especially if the children are United States citizens.  Orloff et al., supra, at 324.  The victim may return to poverty, famine, a health-related epidemic, civil war, political persecution, or a country that does not protect her from domestic violence.  Karyl Alice Davis, Unlocking the Door by Giving her the Key: A Comment on the Adequacy of the U-Visa as a Remedy, 56 Ala. L. Rev. 557, 571 (2004) TA \l “Karyl Alice Davis, Unlocking the Door by Giving her the Key: A Comment on the Adequacy of the U-Visa as a Remedy, 56 Ala. L. Rev. 557 (2004)” \s “Karyl Alice Davis, Unlocking the Door by Giving her the Key: A Comment on the Adequacy of the U-Visa as a Remedy, 56 Ala. L. Rev. 557, 571 (Winter, 2004)” \c 3 .  Additionally, the victim may no longer be able to provide financial assistance to her family in her home country, or her friends and family may ostracize her if she seeks to separate from the batterer.  Id.  

 

More generally, a victim of domestic violence may fear reprisals even when the victim seems to withdraw cooperation with the prosecution out of a desire to reconcile with the batterer.  Many batterers provide “loving gestures,” such as “expensive gifts, intense displays of emotion, sending flowers after an assault, making romantic promises, tearfully promising that it will never happen again,” that in fact threaten the victim with abuse if she does not respond.  See Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 837 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)” .  The Ninth Circuit recently stated, “[P]hysical abuse, threats of harm, and isolation are interwoven with seemingly loving gestures. … Amnesty International [] describes such ‘occasional indulgences’ as a method of coercion used in torture…The message is always there that if the victim does not respond[,] the perpetrator will escalate [the abuse].”  Id. (citing Leslye E. Orloff, Manual on Intra-family Cases for the D.C. Superior Court Judges 15 (1993) TA \l “Leslye E. Orloff, Manual on Intra-family Cases for the D.C. Superior Court Judges (1993)” \s “Leslye E. Orloff, Manual on Intra-family Cases for the D.C. Superior Court Judges 15 (1993)” \c 3 ).  Moreover, the Ninth Circuit has recognized that a victim’s decision not to testify against the batterer is not typically the result of passivity or submission but is rather an attempt to stop the violence, based on experiences where cooperation with the batterer proved to be a successful strategy.  See Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 838 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)” .  

 

.Finally, the batterer’s intimate knowledge of the victim greatly and reasonably enhances the victim’s fear of reprisal.  Unlike most other perpetrators of violent crime, the domestic violence defendant typically has lived with the victim, thereby becoming familiar with the victim’s thoughts, behaviors, habits, and daily routine  California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Benchbook, Domestic Violence Cases in Criminal Court 23 (2000) TA \l “California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Benchbook, Domestic Violence Cases in Criminal Court (2000)” \s “California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Benchbook, Domestic Violence Cases in Criminal Court 23 (2000)” \c 3 ; Brown, 33 Cal. 4th at 899 TA \s “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004)”  (“A fundamental difference between family violence and other forms of violence (such as street violence) is that family violence occurs within ongoing relationships.”) (citing Am. Psychological Assn., Violence and the Family 15 (1997) TA \l “Am. Psychological Assn., Violence and the Family 15 (1997)” \s “Am. Psychological Assn., Violence and the Family 15 (1997)” \c 3 ).   

 

 

The Victim’s Prior Statements Of Abuse Are Necessary  Evidence In Murder Cases Because They Are Often The Only Evidence Of Previous Domestic Violence Acts, Which Are Relevant And Necessary To Establish The Defendant’s Motive, Identity, And Propensity To Abuse 

 

California courts and the California Legislature have recognized the need to admit previous domestic violence acts in murder cases on issues of the defendant’s motive, identity, and propensity to abuse.  Previous acts are relevant to domestic violence murder cases because homicide typically occurs within the context of the cycle of violence.  California courts have previously admitted evidence of prior domestic violence acts in the form of the defendant’s prior criminal record or eyewitness testimony.  However, many batterers do not have prior criminal records and, due to the victim’s isolation by the batterer, there are often no other witnesses to domestic violence actsTherefore, a victim’s statements are necessary to establish the defendant’s motive, identity, and propensity to abuse because they are often the only evidence of previous domestic violence acts. 

 

{{My comment:  Given THIS, then how is it when a case lands in the family law venue, the victim (now often called a partner in a high-conflict marriage, and equally held responsible for any violence or stress that comes from the situation)’s very accounts are dismissed or minimized based on attribution of her motives — she just wants to gain control, and is not telling the truth.  This assessment then becomes the focus, rather than the facts.  What I am pointing out (saying) is that, the family ideology, principles, methodology and framework is to DENY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WHEN IT HAS OCCURRED and to DECRIMINALIZE that behavior, and Re-CRIMINALIZE the parent subject to it.  Although DV is (see top paragraph above) indeed relevant to both parenting ability and (LEGALLY speaking) custody — I have sat and watched a judge expressed boredom when I summarized the DV history (as apparently records of it were considered irrelevant by mediator and judge alike), in the context, there were several MORE, RECENT incidents of it which had brought us before the court.  It’s an entirely different mindset, and intentionally so.  This cannot be and is no accident, and it is at this point a serious social problem for our country, and others.}}

 

A murder defendant’s abusive history is relevant to determine his motive, identity, and propensity to abuse because domestic violence homicide is often the result of an escalating series of battering incidents.  See Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, at 3-4 (June 25, 1996) TA \l “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876 (June 25, 1996)” \s “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, atpp 3-4 (June 25, 1996)” \c 3 , available at  HYPERLINK “http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/95-96/bill/sen/sb_1851-1900/sb_1876_cfa_960624_094659_asm_comm.html” http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/95-96/bill/sen/sb_1851-1900/sb_1876_cfa_960624_094659_asm_comm.html [hereinafter Assem. Comm. Rep.] (“[B]attering episode[s]…usually escalate[] in frequency and severity.”).

 

This buildup of multiple violent acts stems from the very nature of domestic violence, which frequently manifests itself as a cycle of violence that escalates over time.  The Ninth Circuit recognized the cycle as comprising “a tension building phase, followed by an acute battering of the victim, and finally by a contrite phase where the batterer’s use of promises and gifts increases the battered woman’s hope that the violence has occurred for the last time.”  Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 836 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)”  TA \l “Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 836” \s “Hernandez, v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d at 824, 836” \c 3  (quoting Dutton, supra, at 1208). 

 

{{Comment:  This phrase “increases the battered woman’s hope” is a “mind-reading” and likely came from someone who has not experience DV.  DV is a survival situation from the moment it begins, and the ffocus of very much often on the PRESENT, with short-term future — the focus is not having the next incident.  To state that we do indeed “hope” that it was the last incident is demeaning to women, and minimizes what we do to stay alive and keep our children alive in such situations, and hopefully injury-free.  Given that separation and independence-seeking provokes increasing levels of restraint, to accuse us, living with this, of being in as much denial as the community often is – — well, NO.  Perhaps sometimes, at a level, facing to fully face the situation does enter into emotional survival – – because, I believe that there are indeed maximum levels of fear which a person can have, and still function calmly and practically in situations. . . . . .      The batterer’s use of promises and gifts is part of the routine, and is maybe INTENDED to increase our hope – – OR possibly to defray / deter reporting and possible consequences.  Maybe it’s to allay his own conscience — who knows?  So let’s cool it on the mind-reading.. and attributions!.}}

 

 

This Court also acknowledged, “Most abusive relationships begin with a struggle for power and control between the abuser and the victim that later escalates to physical abuse. … When the victim tries to leave or to assert control over the situation, the abuser may turn to violence as an attempt to maintain control.”  Brown, 33 Cal. 4th at 907 TA \s “People v. Brown, 33 Cal. 4th 892, 907 (2004)”  (citing expert witness testimony).  Each violent incident is therefore part of a larger pattern of power, control, and physical abuse rather than a discrete act removed from the dynamics and history of the relationship.  See Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 836-37 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)”  (“‘[A]busive behavior does not occur as a series of discrete events,’ but rather pervades the entire relationship.”) (quoting Dutton, supra, at 1208); Assem. Comm. Rep. at 3-4 TA \s “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, atpp 3-4 (June 25, 1996)”  (“[A]ny one battering episode is part of a larger scheme of dominance and control.”).  

 The California Legislature has determined that the reasons favoring the admission of uncharged criminal domestic violence incidents outweigh the reasons favoring the exclusion such evidence.  See Johnson, 77 Cal. App. 4th at 420 (discussing the legislative history of Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 and Assem. Com. Rep. p 5).  See also Assem. Com. Rep. p 5 (“Since criminal prosecution is one of the few factors that may interrupt the escalating pattern of domestic violence, we must be willing to look at that pattern during the criminal prosecution, or we will miss the opportunity to address this problem at all.”)

 

{{PROBLEM:  This brief accepts, and Cal. Law also does, that criminal prosecution is one of the “few factors” that “may” interrupt the escalating pattern, then answer this question:  And I believe that at a gut level, spouses/partners who have been battered DO “get” this, how come when pregnancy and birth has occurred — or common property — in family law arena, the whole dang court doesn’t “GET” it?  Are those experts dumber than the average person, or the criminal sector?  Or is there a reason family law as a speciality exists, with it separation from the civil & Evidence codes in general, and stricter standards?  And could PART of that purpose include to reframe the conversation around criminal behavior within the family unit, or separated family unit?}}

 

 

Prior domestic violence incidents show the defendant’s propensity to commit domestic violence crimes.  The legislative history of California Evidence Code Section 1109 recognizes, “The propensity inference is particularly appropriate in the area of domestic violence because on-going violence and abuse is the norm in domestic violence cases.”  Assem. Comm. Rep. at 3-4 TA \s “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, atpp 3-4 (June 25, 1996)” ; See also People v. Hoover, 77 Cal. App. 4th 1020, 1024 (2000) TA \l “People v. Hoover, 77 Cal. App. 4th 1020 (2000)” \s “People v. Hoover, 77 Cal. App. 4th 1020, 1024 (2000)” \c 1  (upholding the constitutionality of Cal. Evid. Code § 1109).  Further, the Legislature has recognized, “Without the propensity inference, the escalating nature of domestic violence is …masked.  If we fail to address the very essence of domestic violence, we will continue to see cases where perpetrators of this violence will beat their intimate partners, even kill them, and go on to beat or kill the next intimate partner.” Assem. Comm. Rep at 3-4 TA \s “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, atpp 3-4 (June 25, 1996)” .  In a recent murder prosecution, a California court admitted the testimony of several witnesses as evidence of prior, uncharged domestic violence offenses and concluded “with substantial assurance that defendant’s propensity to commit crimes of domestic violence [and to murder his wife was] more likely than not to flow from the proved prior acts of domestic violence.”  People v. Pescador, 119 Cal. App. 4th 252, 260 (2004) TA \l “People v. Pescador, 119 Cal. App. 4th 252 (2004)” \s “People v. Pescador, 119 Cal. App. 4th 252, 260 (2004)” \c 1  (internal citations omitted).

 

 

{{HIGHLIGHT, READ, COMMENT AS APPROPRIATE — I gave a few samples above}}

 

Additionally, this Court has held that trial courts may admit eyewitness testimony of domestic violence to establish the defendant’s motive and identity in a murder trial.  “[E]vidence tending to establish prior quarrels between a defendant and decedent and the making of threats by the former is properly admitted and is competent to show the motive and state of mind of the defendant.” People v. Cartier, 54 Cal. 2d 300, 311 (1960) TA \l “People v. Cartier, 54 Cal. 2d 300 (1960” \s “People v. Cartier, 54 Cal. 2d 300, 311 (Cal. 1960))” \c 1 .  Likewise, on the issue of identity the court held, “Evidence of motive may . . . solve a doubt . . . as to the identity of the slayer . . .[and] is admissible against a defendant, however discreditably it may reflect on him, and even where it may show him guilty of other crimes.”  People v. Weston, 169 Cal. 393, 396 (1915) TA \l “People v. Weston, 169 Cal. 393 (1915)” \s “People v. Weston, 169 Cal. 393, 396 (Cal. 1915)” \c 1 .  More recently, lower courts have followed this Court’s holdings.  Linkenauger, 32 Cal. App. 4th at 1611 TA \s “People v. Linkenauger, 32 Cal. App. 4th 1603,at 1606 (1995)”  (citing Weston, 169 Cal. at 396 TA \s “People v. Weston, 169 Cal. 393, 396 (Cal. 1915)” , the court held that evidence of eyewitness testimony of prior abuse and threats was properly admitted in order to establish the defendant’s motive and identity HYPERLINK “http://www.lexis.com/research/buttonTFLink?_m=9b5fdc8e6cf0f444d98b1cf7f925c742&_xfercite=%3ccite%20cc%3d%22USA%22%3e%3c%21%5bCDATA%5b32%20Cal.%20App.%204th%201603%5d%5d%3e%3c%2fcite%3e&_butType=3&_butStat=2&_butNum=24&_butInline=1&_butinfo=%3ccite%20cc%3d%22USA%22%3e%3c%21%5bCDATA%5b169%20Cal.%20393%2cat%20396%5d%5d%3e%3c%2fcite%3e&_fmtstr=FULL&docnum=1&_startdoc=1&wchp=dGLbVlb-zSkAA&_md5=4f5ee7cbf41130c250e7943c5ff18f6b” \t “_parent” );  see also Hoover, 77 Cal. App. 4th at 1026 TA \s “People v. Hoover, 77 Cal. App. 4th 1020, 1024 (2000)”   (“Where a defendant is charged with a violent crime and has or had a previous relationship with a victim, prior assaults upon the same victim, when offered on disputed issues, e.g., identity, intent, motive, etcetera, are admissible …”) (citing People v. Zack, 184 Cal. App. 3d 409, 415 (1986) TA \l “People v. Zack, 184 Cal. App. 3d 409 (1986)” \s “People v. Zack, 184 Cal. App. 3d 409, 415 (1986)” \c 1 ).  

These rulings are consistent with California Evidence Code Section 1109, permitting “evidence of a defendant’s other acts of domestic violence,” and Section 1101 TA \l “Cal. Evid. Code § 1101 (West 2005)” \s “§ 1101” \c 2 , emphasizing that “nothing…prohibits the admission of evidence that a person committed a crime, civil wrong, or other act when relevant to prove some fact (such as motive, . . . intent, . . . identity, . . .)”.  See Cal. Evid. Code §§ 1109, 1101 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Evid. Code § (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Evid. Code § 1109, § 1109, 1101 (West 2005)” \c 2 .    

However, despite California’s judicial and legislative stance that previous domestic violence acts are relevant and necessary in domestic violence murder cases, prosecutors often will be unable to prove prior acts if courts restrict this evidence to the defendant’s prior criminal record or eyewitness testimony from someone other than the victim.  Instead, a victim’s statements are often the only available evidence to establish prior domestic violence acts and are therefore essential to domestic violence murder cases.  

Most deceased victims file domestic violence reports before their batterers kill them, providing numerous statements to police regarding the batterer’s abusive behavior.  See Buzawa & Buzawa TA \s “Eve S. Buzawa & Carl G. Buzawa, Domestic Violence: The Criminal Justice Response 183 (3d ed. 2003)” , supra, at 88 (citing study in which eighty-five percent of domestic violence homicide victims had reported a separate domestic violence incident to police at least once before the incident leading to their deaths, and fifty percent of domestic violence homicide victims had called police five or more times).  However, as discussed supra, many victims later recant or fail to even appear at court due to fear of reprisals.    

Additionally, unlike many other crimes, there are often no eyewitnesses to the abuse because the batterer socially and physically isolates the victim from contact outside the home.  This Court has noted, “[M]any battered women remain in the relationship because of . . . social isolation.”  People v. Humphrey, 13 Cal. 4th 1073, 1078 (1996) TA \l “People v. Humphrey, 13 Cal. 4th 1073, 1078 (1996)” \s “People v. People v. Humphrey, 13 Cal. 4th 1073, 1073, 1078 (1996)” \c 1 .  The Ninth Circuit recently reviewed a case involving physical isolation, where a victim’s spouse locked her in the home and refused to allow medical treatment.  Hernandez, 345 F.3d at 830 TA \s “Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 837 (9th Cir. 2003)” .  Furthermore, domestic violence incidents usually take place in the privacy of the home. People v. Gutierrez, 171 Cal. App. 3d 944, 949 (1985) TA \l “People v. Gutierrez, 171 Cal. App. 3d 44 (1985)” \s “People v. Gutierrez, 171 Cal. App. 3d at 944, 949 (1985)” \c 1  (citing  HYPERLINK “http://www.lexis.com/research/buttonTFLink?_m=614717a118cadce688a9ecf2401cc1d7&_xfercite=%3ccite%20cc%3d%22USA%22%3e%3c%21%5bCDATA%5b171%20Cal.%20App.%203d%20944%5d%5d%3e%3c%2fcite%3e&_butType=3&_butStat=2&_butNum=28&_butInline=1&_butinfo=%3ccite%20cc%3d%22USA%22%3e%3c%21%5bCDATA%5b53%20Cal.%20App.%203d%20786%5d%5d%3e%3c%2fcite%3e&_fmtstr=FULL&docnum=1&_startdoc=1&wchp=dGLbVzz-zSkAB&_md5=4f5d57fe8d06a0095ed3dc11f0ad5a70” \t “_parent” People v. Cameron, 53 Cal.App.3d 786, 792 (1975) TA \l “People v. Cameron, 53 Cal.App.3d 786 (1975)” \s “People v. Cameron, 53 Cal.App.3d 786, 792 (1975)” \c 1 ).  Batterers often isolate their victims by controlling when they leave the house, where they go upon leaving, to whom they speak, and their daily activities.  Mary Ann Dutton & Catherine L. Waltz, Domestic Violence: Understanding Why It Happens and How to Recognize It, Domestic Violence Law 66, 68 (Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2001) TA \l “Mary Ann Dutton & Catherine L. Waltz, Domestic Violence: Understanding Why It Happens and How to Recognize It, in Domestic Violence Law 66,(Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2001)” \s “Mary Ann Dutton & Catherine L. Waltz, Domestic Violence:  Understanding Why It Happens and How to Recognize It, in Domestic Violence Law 66, 68 (Nancy K.D. Lemon ed., 2001)” \c 3

  This isolation impacts virtually every form of evidence a prosecutor would typically seek to introduce at trial.  Lisa Marie De Sanctis, Bridging the Gap Between the Rules of Evidence and Justice for Victims of Domestic Violence, 8 Yale J.L. & Feminism 359, 370-72 (1996) TA \l “Lisa Marie De Sanctis, Bridging the Gap Between the Rules of Evidence and Justice for Victims of Domestic Violence, 8 Yale J.L. & Feminism 359, 370(1996)” \s “Lisa Marie De Sanctis, Bridging the Gap Between the Rules of Evidence and Justice for Victims of Domestic Violence, 8 Yale J.L. & Feminism 359, 370-72 (1996)” \c 3 .  For example, because there are often no eyewitnesses to an incident of domestic violence, there will likely be no 911 calls from parties other than the victim.  Additionally, because many batterers isolate their victims from friends and family members, these individuals may be unaware of any domestic violence until the batterer is formally charged. See Janice A. Drye, The Silent Victims of Domestic Violence: Children Forgotten by the Judicial System, 34 Gonz. L. Rev. 229, 239 (1998/1999) TA \l “Janice A. Drye, The Silent Victims of Domestic Violence: Children Forgotten by the Judicial System, 34 Gonz. L. Rev. 229 (1998/1999)” \s “Janice A. Drye, The Silent Victims of Domestic Violence: Children Forgotten by the Judicial System, 34 Gonz. L. Rev. 229, 239 (1998/1999)” \c 3 ; Cris M. Sullivan, The Provision of Advocacy Services to Women Leaving Abusive Partners:  An Exploratory Study, 6 J. Interpersonal Violence 41, 43 (1991) TA \l “Cris M. Sullivan, The Provision of Advocacy Services to Women Leaving Abusive Partners:  An Exploratory Study, 6 J. Interpersonal Violence 41, (1991)” \s “Cris M. Sullivan, The Provision of Advocacy Services to Women Leaving Abusive Partners:  An Exploratory Study, 6 J. Interpersonal Violence 41, 43 (1991)” \c 3 .  As a result, friends and family members are often unable to testify to any history of domestic violence, leaving no evidence of the past abuse other than an unavailable victim’s statements.  

 An Intent-Based Application Of The Rule Will Significantly Diminish The Number Of Domestic Violence Prosecutions, Undermining Prosecution Efforts And Exacerbating The California Domestic Violence Crisis 

 

The California Legislature has established that prosecutions are necessary to reduce domestic violence incidents and has made great efforts to assist these prosecutions.  An Assembly Committee Report stated, “[C]riminal prosecution is one of the few factors that may interrupt the escalating pattern of domestic violence.”  See Assem. Comm. Rep. at 5 TA \s “Assem. Comm. Rep. on Public Safety S.B. 1876, atpp 3-4 (June 25, 1996)” .  Further, the Legislature has declared, “[Since] spousal abusers present a clear and present danger to the mental and physical well-being of the citizens of the State of California,…[we will] support increased efforts by district attorneys’ and city attorneys’ offices to prosecute spousal abusers through organizational and operational techniques.”  Cal. Pen. Code § 273.8 (West  2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.8 (West  2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.8 (West  2005)” \c 2 ; see also Cal. Pen. Code § 273.81 (West  2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.81 (West  2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.81 (West  2005)” \c 2  (establishing Spousal Abuser Prosecution Program within the Department of Justice that provides financial and technical assistance for district attorneys’ and city attorneys’ offices and promotes vertical prosecution in order to convict spousal abusers).

In order to address the domestic violence epidemic, the California Legislature has passed a host of laws intended to increase domestic violence arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.  See, e.g., Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West  2005) TA \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West 2005)”  TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West  2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 13700 (West  2005)” \c 1 .  For example, these laws require arrests of persons who violate restraining orders (Cal. Pen. Code § 836(c) (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 836(c) (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 836(c) (West 2005)” \c 2 ); encourage arrests where there is probable cause that a person committed a domestic violence offense (Cal. Pen. Code § 13701(b) (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 13701(b) (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 13701(b) (West 2005)” \c 2 ); require that suspects arrested for certain domestic violence offenses appear before a magistrate rather than be cited and released (Cal. Pen. Code § 853.6(a) (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 853.6(a) (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 853.6(a) (West 2005)” \c 2 ); and encourage prosecutors to seek the most severe authorized sentence for a person convicted of a domestic violence offense (Cal. Pen. Code § 273.84(b) (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.84(b) (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Pen. Code § 273.84(b) (West 2005)” \c 2 ).  See generally California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, California Laws Relating to Domestic Violence (2005) TA \l “California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, California Laws Relating to Domestic Violence (2005)” \s “California Alliance Against Domestic Violence, California Laws Relating to Domestic Violence (January 2005)” \c 3 ,  HYPERLINK “http://www.caadv.org/docs/dvlawsfinal.pdf” http://www.caadv.org/docs/dvlawsfinal.pdf (providing a comprehensive overview of hundreds of California code sections related to domestic violence).

Additionally, the Legislature has enacted several evidentiary rules specifically designed to facilitate domestic violence prosecutions, including laws allowing experts to testify when relevant, such as when a domestic violence victim recants or refuses to testify (Cal. Evid. Code § 1107 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Evid. Code § 1107 (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Evid. Code § 1107 (West 2005)” \c 2 ); permitting evidence of previous acts of abuse in a criminal action in which the defendant is accused of an offense involving domestic abuse of an elder or dependent person (Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 (West 2005) TA \s “Cal. Evid. Code § 1109 (West 2005)”  mentioned supra); and permitting introduction of some forms of hearsay evidence when the domestic violence victim is unavailable to testify (Cal. Evid. Code § 1370 (West 2005) TA \l “Cal. Evid. Code § 1370 (West 2005)” \s “Cal. Evid. Code § 1370 (West 2005)” \c 2 ).  

Despite the Legislature’s efforts to improve domestic violence prosecution efforts, however, there has been a substantial drop in domestic violence prosecutions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford.  In the first year after Crawford, California prosecutors reported that they were dismissing a higher number of domestic violence cases than in the preceding years. Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford TA \s “Tom Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford, 91 Va. L. Rev. 747, 769 (2005)” , supra, at 749-50.  Sixty-one percent of responding prosecutors reported that Crawford had significantly impeded domestic violence prosecutions.  Id., at 772, 820.    

Before Crawford, prosecutors often conducted “victimless prosecutions,” where they relied on hearsay statements made by victims to police, medical personnel, clergy, social workers, and others because the victim would not testify at trial.  Melissa Moody, A Blow to Domestic Violence Victims: Applying the “Testimonial Statements” Test in Crawford v. Washington, 11 Wm. & Mary J. of Women & L. 387, 387 (2005) TA \l “Melissa Moody, A Blow to Domestic Violence Victims: Applying the \“Testimonial Statements\” Test in Crawford v. Washington, 11 Wm. & Mary J. of Women & L. 3873(2005)” \s “Melissa Moody, A Blow to Domestic Violence Victims: Applying the \”Testimonial Statements\” Test in Crawford v. Washington, 11 Wm. & Mary J. of Women & L. 387, 387 (2005)” \c 3 ; Andrew King-Ries, Crawford v. Washington: The End of Victimless Prosecution?, 28 Seattle U. L. Rev. 301, 301 (2005) TA \l “Andrew King-Ries, Crawford v. Washington: The End of Victimless Prosecution? 28 Seattle U. L. Rev. 301, 301 (2005)” \s “Andrew King-Ries, Crawford v. Washington: The End of Victimless Prosecution? 28 Seattle Univ. L. Rev. 301, 301 (2005)” \c 3 .  Further, these prosecutions often proved successful in combating domestic violence.  See, e.g., Casey G. Gwinn & Anne O’Dell, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Stopping the Violence: The Role of the Police Officer and the Prosecutor, 20 W. St. U.L. Rev. 297, 303-04 (1993) TA \l “Casey G. Gwinn & Anne O’Dell, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Stopping the Violence: The Role of the Police Officer and the Prosecutor, 20 W. St. U.L. Rev. 297, 303-04 (1993)” \s “Casey G. Gwinn, J.D. & Sgt. Anne O’’Dell, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Stopping the Violence: The Role of the Police Officer and the Prosecutor, 20 W. St. U.L. Rev. 297, 303-04 (Spring 1993)” \c 3  (“Nearly 60% of our filed cases involve uncooperative or absent victims and yet we obtain convictions in 88% of our cases…Our strategies are working to reduce violence in intimate relationships in San Diego”); Linda A. McGuire, Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence TA \l “Linda A. McGuire, Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence” \s “Linda A. McGuire, , Esq., Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence” \c 3 , available at  http://www.bwjp.org/documents/prosecuteV.htm (reporting that San Diego prosecutors’ and law enforcement officials’ strategies , including conducting victimless prosecutions, decreased San Diego’s domestic violence homicide rate by 59% from 1991 to 1993) (last visited Dec. 7, 2005).   

  The post-Crawford drop in domestic violence prosecutions indicates that some prosecutors and judges have failed to recognize the Rule of Forfeiture as an applicable exception to the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation in many domestic violence cases.  See Robert P. Mosteller, Crawford v. Washington: Encouraging and Ensuring the Confrontation of Witnesses, 39 U. Rich. L. Rev. 511, 607 (2005) TA \l “Robert P. Mosteller, Crawford v. Washington: Encouraging and Ensuring the Confrontation of Witnesses, 39 U. Rich. L. Rev. 511, 60(2005)” \s “Robert P. Mosteller, Crawford v. Washington: Encouraging and Ensuring the Confrontation of Witnesses, 39 U. Rich. L. Rev. 511, 607 (2005)” \c 3  (stating that Crawford “has caused great disruption and massive uncertainty” in the prosecution of domestic violence cases).  Specifically, this trend indicates that prosecutors seek to admit an unavailable victim’s statements under the Rule only when a defendant intends to procure the victim’s unavailability at trial instead of when, as often occurs in domestic violence cases, the defendant causes the witness’s unavailability by killing the victim or by instilling fear of reprisals.  As a result, the legal system appears to reward batterers by dropping some charges, dismissing entire cases, or acquitting the batterer of domestic violence charges when the victim’s statements are the only evidence to establish a battering relationship.  

Furthermore, if batterers know that prosecutors will move to dismiss charges or lose domestic violence cases whenever batterers successfully terrorize and sequester their victims, they will intimidate and threaten their victims in order to derail prosecution.  See Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford TA \s “Tom Lininger, Prosecuting Batterers After Crawford, 91 Va. L. Rev. 747, 769 (2005)” , supra, at 808 (raising concern that if courts require a victim witness’s live testimony in order to admit any of the victim’s statements, it is more likely that an abuser will threaten the victim before trial in the hope of preventing prosecution).  Conversely, if the judicial system holds batterers accountable for causing a victim’s unavailability, batterers will have less incentive to intimidate their victims into silence.   

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, amici respectfully request that the Court affirm the decision of the Court of Appeal.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

_________________________

Nancy K. D. Lemon

Calif. State Bar No. 95627

Boalt Hall School of Law

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720

(510) 525-3164

Attorney for Amici Curiae 

 

 

Dated: December 11, 2005

 

On behalf of

 

California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV)

 

Asian Law Alliance of San Jose

 

California National Organization for Women (CA NOW)

 

California Women’s Law Center

 

City of Santa Cruz’s Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women

 

Glendale YWCA

 

Los Angeles County Bar Association Domestic Violence Project

 

Marjaree Mason Center

 

Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence

 

Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children

 

South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center

 

Walnut Avenue Women’s Center

 

Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE)

 

WomanHaven, Inc., d/b/a Center for Family Solutions

 

Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres

 

 

 

CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE

 

I certify that this brief complies with the type-volume limitation of the California Rules of Court Rule 14(c)(1).

Exclusive of the exempted portions in California Rules of Court Rule 14(c)(3), the brief contains 7638 words.

 

 

 

 

_________________________

 

Nancy K. D. Lemon

Boalt Hall School of Law 

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, California 94720

Telephone: 510-525-3164

Attorney for Amici Curiae 

 

 

Dated: December 11, 2005

 

 

 

PROOF OF SERVICE

(not relevant for purposes of this post) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This segment quoted by LetsGetHonest above — before entire Giles text)

 

 Defendant concedes the second issue on review.  The Rule applies even where the wrongdoing is the same as the offense for which the defendant is on trial.  A defendant will profit from his wrongdoing regardless of whether he procured the victim’s unavailability during trial or before the prosecutor filed charges against him.  As the Kansas Supreme Court observed, “[B]ootstrapping does not pose a genuine problem.”  State v. Meeks, 88 P.3d 789, 794 (Kan. 2004). TA \l “State v. Meeks, 88 P.3d 789 (Kan. 2004).” \s “State v. Meeks, 88 P.3d 789, 794 (Kan. 2004).” \c 1  

 Arguably, some victims may refuse to assist in their batterers’ prosecutions due to factors that the batterer does not cause, including love and the hope that the batterer will change.  Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving the Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997) TA \l “Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving the Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997)” \s “Linda Kelly, Domestic Violence Survivors: Surviving tThe Beatings Of 1996, 11 Geo. EOImmigr. L.J. 303, 308-309 (1997)” \c 3 .  However, even in these circumstances, trial courts may determine that the batterer caused the victim’s unavailability by preying on the victim’s emotions and promising to change.  

 Tom Lininger, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, conducted a survey of more than sixty prosecutors’ offices in California, Washington, and Oregon regarding Crawford’s impact on domestic violence prosecutions.  The survey included responses from 23 counties in California (which collectively included eighty-eight percent of California’s population).  Several courts have recently cited Lininger’s domestic violence research findings, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  See United States v. Hall, 419 F.3d 980 (9th Cir. 2005) TA \s “United States v. Hall, No. 04-50193, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 17148, at *21 n.6419 F.3d 980, 988 n.6 (9th Cir.  Aug. 15, 2005)” .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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