Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Introducing Simply the Best : "Document the Abuse"

Today, we announce our new site www.documenttheabuse.com.  A place for prosecutors, law enforcement, social service agencies, human resource managers, workplace violence security experts, insurance carrier's, health care providers, faith based organizations and those directly in the process of divorce, affected by domestic violence and stalking by someone with whom they are in a relationship.

If you are in law enforcement the information and training provided on the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit is a supportive component in addition to what you already are doing on the job as it is valuable tool that is saving lives.  For the first time when a potential victim prepares the "EAA" you will know and have at your fingertips information that includes the offender.  As are aware this is very important when a person in your district is reported missing or becomes a fatality.  You will have the victims words in a notarized, witnessed and taped statement already in your hand ready to meet with the prosecutor or district attorney for a solid case.

For those who enter the courthouses assigned to work the domestic violence and trial calenders the "EAA" has a number of benefits for a successful prosecution.  This includes cases where you have no body, but you do have enough evidence. Or in cases where the alleged defendant at pretrial claims crime of passion, unhinged, accident or self-defense, if the victim prepared the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit prior to their death, its game on as a prosecutor for a winning victory and game over for the defense in court.

Case concerning the right to confront and prove intent to prevent the witness from testifying
Giles v. California, 554 U.S. 353 (2008)
Facts of the Case
When Dwayne Giles was tried in state court for the murder of his ex- girlfriend, he claimed self-defense. Giles stated that he had heard her vow to hurt him and a friend, and that she had previously shot a man and threatened people with knives. The prosecution then introduced evidence of a conversation between Giles' ex-girlfriend and police in which she claimed that he had assaulted her and threatened to kill her. The district court eventually convicted Giles of murder.
On appeal, Giles argued that use of the police conversation violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him, namely, his deceased ex- girlfriend.
The California Supreme Court held that Giles had waived this right because he was the cause of his ex-girlfriend's absence. Although this exclusion was justified under common law rules of "forfeiture by wrongdoing", the Supreme Court had greatly constrained the admissibility of such evidence in its 2004 holding in Crawford v. Washington. Crawford essentially wiped out the admissibility of such out-of-court statements unless the testimony could be subject to cross-examination at trial, an option that would be impossible under these circumstances. This case gives the Court an opportunity to expand on its decision in Crawford and to apply it to a situation where the wrongdoing that kept the witness from appearing in court was not motivated by a desire to prevent the witness' testimony.
Are a criminal defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment violated when the common law "forfeiture by wrongdoing" doctrine is applied to allow out-of-court statements made by a witness, absent due to the defendant's own conduct, into evidence without giving defendant an opportunity to cross-examine the absent witness?
Yes. In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception only applies to situations where the defendant causes the witness' absence with the intention of preventing that witness from testifying at trial. Without this intention, any act by the defendant making the witness unavailable does not waive that defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine the witness, and therefore any out-of-court statements made by the witness are inadmissible as evidence. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion stressing his belief that statements such as those made by the witness in this case should not implicate the Confrontation Clause at all because the police questioning was not a "formalized dialogue." Justice Samuel Alito also wrote a concurring opinion suggesting that the witness' statements, in his view, did not fall within the Confrontation Clause but noting that neither party had made this argument before the Court. Justice David Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurred in all parts of the majority opinion except one section denouncing the dissenting argument. Justice Souter stated that he did not find the dissent as wrongheaded as the majority suggested.
The dissentwritten by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Justices John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy, argued that a defendant loses his right to confrontation when he makes a witness unavailable due to his own wrongdoing, even if he did not act with the specific intention of preventing her from testifying at trial.
We hope you take the time and visit our new site.  If you have questions or would like to set up a training, have us attend your conference - email us at documenttheabuse@gmail.com

1 comment:

Donna R. Gore said...

Congrats Susan! You've found yet another way to reach the masses with your message which is so critical... One would think that there is nothing easier than reading a book. However, this cuts to the chase, with the core material and is easily accessible. I'm passing the message to service providers etc and sincerely hope everyone who reads this will do so. Another example of selflessness - the message, not the money!

Donna "Ladyjustice"

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