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In Denver Domestic Violence Cases, Judges are Turning to a “One-Size-Fits-All”

| Sep 10, 2015 | Domestic Violence |

In the last week, I have been hired in two new Domestic Violence cases in Jefferson County. I watched two other DV cases while in court. In each case, the judges acted uniformly when I or another lawyer requested they modify the no-contact provisions of the protection order. The new rule? Don’t even think about a modification to allow full contact with your alleged victim, unless thirty days have passed. Apparently, one-size-fits-all. Read Six Things to Know Before Pleading in a Domestic Violence Case.

The Problem with One Size Fits All Thought

We have had a one-size-fits-all sex offender treatment designed by the Sex Offender Management Board for many years. It stinks. Men are not allowed to call, write or have a picture of their own kids – even when their victim is not a child. Mild offenders are thrown in with serious offenders. Colorado has a one-size-fits-all DUI / DWAI treatment program and a one-size-fits-all Domestic Violence Treatment program. Neither of them work so well either. At one end, we have people getting too much treatment and at another end, needy people not getting enough.

The Problem With Judges Having a One-Size-Fits-All Mentality

Domestic Violence cases in Adams and Douglas County are unique and every person charged is unique. Victims are unique and their children are unique. Circumstances of employment and child care are unique. Treating everyone the same does not allow for consideration of special needs – which vary from person to person. Protection orders and restraining orders in Domestic Violence Harassment and Assault cases force men and women to stay apart, have no contact, and put the burden of child care on the victim at home. In a state where we have mandatory DV arrests, there is a huge burden placed on families. Why are judges turning to such uniformity? Career safety.

What Do Judges Fear the Most in Domestic Violence Cases in Arapahoe County?

The news media terrifies judges. I have seen judges change course from what they normally do in a case when they see the media inside their courtroom. They never want to have a newspaper headline or TV news story criticizing them. One way to play it safe is to reach a consensus with other judges and establish a policy in their judicial district. District Attorneys have done this for decades. With any potentially problematic case, DAs “staff” a case concerning a potential plea offer. Staffing involves several DAs getting together and reaching a consensus on their case plea offers. If something later goes bad and the office is criticized for the offer, no one gets fired. It is much tougher to fire five deputy district attorneys compared to one. When it comes to Protection Orders and Restraining Orders, judges are apparently finding safety in numbers as well.

The Problem With CYA Type Uniformity?

When judges set up a policy in advance of a court case, they are forced to ignore special circumstances. Commonly, a man goes to jail, leaving his wife and their children at home alone. When the man gets out of jail, he is the subject of a one-size-fits-all Protection Order which says no contact with the alleged victim, his wife. Under the one-size-fits-all judicial policy, he is not allowed to go home for thirty days no matter what. The wife cannot talk to her husband over the phone, and yet she needs help from him to care for their kids when she goes to work then next day. Without an opportunity to talk with her husband, she has no child care and loses her job. The policy supposedly there to protect that woman has made her the “victim” once again. She is punished so the judge can have job security. That is wrong.

In many cases our judicial system is flawed. The one-size-fits-all Protection Orders are only the tip of the iceberg. When you are in trouble with the police, never speak to police, but exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. Then, call the best Domestic Violence Criminal Defense lawyers in the Denver area at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.