Domestic Abuse…?

For your consideration:  a cautionary, personal tale about something that you shouldn’t hear about every day but possibly do, something that shouldn’t happen regularly but does, and something that that has a sad relationship to parents and adults in general. 

Earlier this week, I had the distinct pleasure (?) of being called for jury duty – something that I had put off in August thinking, “Maybe they won’t call me again.”  Of course that wasn’t true.  So you can imagine my shock when, after I was finally assigned to a courtroom, I was actually the first person selected to sit on the jury.  I believe that I actually had a public Homer Simpson moment and audibly said, “D’oh!” after my selection.

The case was a complicated one where the accused (a husband and father of one, soon to be two,) was being tried for assault on his pregnant wife.  Without boring you with an enormous amount of detail, the assault could have occurred, but there was little proof – no eyewitness testimony, no police report, no hospital reports, and no photographic or medical evidence whatsoever. 

There were other anomalies as well.  For instance, no one in the house full of people seemed to hear or see the assault take place.  The first officer on the scene of the alleged assault took place didn’t even appear in court.  Finally – and this seemed to be the kicker – the alleged assailant couldn’t even move his left hand, and this didn’t jibe with the vicious beating that the victim said she received.  In our 4 woman, 2 male jury panel, one of the women surmised in chambers, “You know, I think that she could take him in a fight.”

As the foreman, I ended up handing the judge our verdict of Not Guilty.  Justice seemed to be done.

But the down-shots?

– The husband, as a result of the accusation and subsequent police activity had lost any custody to both his unborn and two year old children,

– The marriage was almost certainly irrevocably shattered, and

– Immense amounts of money were spend and valuable time and freedoms were lost.

I’m sure that you can think of more.

Perhaps you are a single parent now who has problems with your ex, or perhaps you are a married or domestic couple who is presently having problems of some kind.  Think for a moment.  Do you really want to get to the point that I saw so painfully played out for me in court on Monday and Tuesday of this week?

Thus, I learned a couple of valuable lessons.  First, remember that post that I did a while back where one of the key learnings that I mentioned was trying to get along with your ex?  Turns out that I was completely correct.  Second, you do NOT want to ever go the legal route with family disputes – if you can avoid them.  Lives do get ruined.  Unless your case is concrete and reasonable people could not disagree with you – try to stop the problems before they get out of hand.

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