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Domestic Violence Fairytales Threaten Constitutional Protections
Pajamas Media ^ | September 2, 2010 | Carey Roberts

Posted on 09/02/2010 5:21:40 AM PDT by FreeManDC

Kristin Ruggiero of New Hampshire figured it would be a slam dunk. The gambit worked like a charm during the divorce hearing; now she would bring the case to criminal court.

Her husband Jeffrey, an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was an incorrigible batterer, at least that’s what she led to the judge to believe. That got him convicted of criminal threatening, and she won custody of their 7-year-old daughter.

But Kristin Ruggiero wasn’t finished.

One day, the woman bragged to her startled ex, “I took all your money, I took your daughter, and now I’m going to take your career.” She went out and purchased a disposable cell phone and registered it in Jeffrey’s name. Then she sent herself a passel of threatening text messages.

Apparently Kristin didn’t realize that in criminal court, allegations are subjected to a higher standard of proof. And all of a sudden the nefarious scheme to frame her ex-husband came crashing down.

Last week Kristin Ruggiero was convicted on 12 counts of falsifying physical evidence and sentenced to 7-14 years in prison.

This tale is not so much about a distraught woman sorely in need of psychological help. Rather, it’s a story of a police department, a prosecutor, and a judge that allowed themselves to be duped by a conniving perjurer. And it’s about a criminal justice system that has all but abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb domestic violence.

Like everything in the law, the problem begins with definitions. The Violence Against Women Act, passed during the first term of the Clinton administration, includes a definition of domestic violence that is so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it.

States picked up on the loophole, and now most states include within their definitions of abuse, actions like making your partner “annoyed” or “distressed.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) likewise followed suit. The CDC’s Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements declares that partner violence includes “getting annoyed if the victim disagrees,” “withholding information from the victim,” and even “disregarding what the victim wants.”

Note the CDC’s repeated use of the word “victim.” In VAWA-speak, a victim does not need to be a prostrate body lying in a pool of blood. Rather, a mere accusation elevates you to the status of victim. No proof of violence is necessary. Recall the Queen of Hearts’ disdainful remark, “Sentence first, verdict afterwards.”

Fanciful definitions are just the beginning.

Favored with $1 billion in federal largess each year, our nation’s domestic violence industry has created an alternate-reality legal system that would confound even the likes of Alice.

Our Looking Glass criminal justice system features judges who have been educated to always “err on the side of caution”; victim advocates who coach putative victims how to embellish their claims; and free legal help to accusers (but not defendants).

And for readers with a well-honed sense of fairy-tale humor, mandatory prosecution policies epitomize a legal system run amok. Often the “victim” decides she has taught her boyfriend enough of a lesson and recants her story. But zealous prosecutors have taken to jailing these women until they agree to cooperate. That draconian practice allowed a California woman to secure a $125,000 false arrest award a few years ago.

Such strong-arm practices have not escaped the attention of civil rights groups. The Washington Civil Rights Council has described our current domestic violence system as creating the “biggest civil rights roll-back since the Jim Crow era.”

Last year the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU took on the case of Fernando A., a man who had been falsely accused of throwing his wife down a flight of stairs. When a judge then deprived him of the right to a hearing to decide whether to remove his children, the ACLU took the case to the state’s Supreme Court. Fernando A. won on a 5-2 decision.

Earlier this year, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, a Washington, D.C.-based victim advocacy organization, released a report [1] titled “How Domestic Violence Laws Curtail our Fundamental Freedoms.” The report concludes that each year, over two million Americans have their fundamental civil liberties overruled by the Violence Against Women Act.

Consider the constitutional guarantees of due process, probable cause for arrest, right to a fair trial, and equal treatment under the law — all are cast aside by get-tough-on-crime domestic violence laws.

The tall irony is that Vice President Joe Biden, who proudly championed VAWA when he was a senator in the early 1990s, is a former professor of constitutional law.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aclu; coastguard; criminaljustice; divorce; domesticviolence; spouseabuse; vawa; violenceagainstwomen

1 posted on 09/02/2010 5:21:43 AM PDT by FreeManDC
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To: FreeManDC

Uh. Better take a little trip to Miami or Naples first.


2 posted on 09/02/2010 5:25:40 AM PDT by screaminsunshine (m)
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To: FreeManDC

Well, there are certainly some classes of crimes where due process should not apply. We’ve learned that much in the last 10 years.


3 posted on 09/02/2010 5:25:50 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: FreeManDC

I am on the fence about this one. I just read an article about a woman who was murdered by her husband while she had a restraining order. On the other hand there are those who use the system against their spouse like this woman. I just don’t see an answer that is fair to both situations.


4 posted on 09/02/2010 5:30:48 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: FreeManDC

I knew of a couple where the wife did this to her husband.


5 posted on 09/02/2010 5:31:03 AM PDT by television is just wrong
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To: television is just wrong

sharia law will put an end to a lot of this.


6 posted on 09/02/2010 5:32:24 AM PDT by television is just wrong
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To: FreeManDC
States picked up on the loophole, and now most states include within their definitions of abuse, actions like making your partner “annoyed” or “distressed.”

Squeezing the toothpaste in the middle of the tube will likely qualify...and people wonder why guys aren't interested in getting married nowadays.

7 posted on 09/02/2010 5:33:48 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: FreeManDC

“...so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it”

Also know as a “beurocratic employment and career advancement provision”


8 posted on 09/02/2010 5:36:53 AM PDT by mo
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To: FreeManDC

“...so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it”

Also known as a “beurocratic employment and career advancement provision”


9 posted on 09/02/2010 5:37:01 AM PDT by mo
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To: FreeManDC

‘And it’s about a criminal justice system that has all but abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb domestic violence.’

This sums it up well.


10 posted on 09/02/2010 5:38:18 AM PDT by 556x45
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To: FreeManDC
Last week Kristin Ruggiero was convicted on 12 counts of falsifying physical evidence and sentenced to 7-14 years in prison.

Good. In return, he took her entire life away from her. Now he and his daughter can live a normal life.

11 posted on 09/02/2010 5:41:21 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: concerned about politics

The weakest part of Domestic Violence investigation is the investigation. I took over a small department where officers never arrested. I changed that but it was not easy.

These investigations require solid investigative steps. When the laws first past, we arrested only for visible injuries. The law has since changed. To my knowledge, there is nothing in there about irritating the spouse. What may be misinterpreted is the dominant agressor theory.

Dominant aggressor creates an environment of fear or threatening environment. If properly investigated and documented, an arrest can be made without an assault occurring.

Things like: destroying your spouses property. This is especially true if the property was either a gift from a former lover OR a gift of great importance to the victim such as a mementor from a deceased parent.

Must run but the above is only ONE example. I arrested a guy who trapped his wife on the couch, screamed in her ear and smashed a lammp next to her head. Never touched her but she was in fear and not free to leave.


12 posted on 09/02/2010 5:52:00 AM PDT by midcop402
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To: FreeManDC

Sadly, far too many lawyers seek temporary restraining orders just as a matter of course, which immediately causes the man to lose is RKBA.


13 posted on 09/02/2010 5:52:16 AM PDT by umgud (Obama is a failed experiment.)
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To: marstegreg
I am on the fence about this one. I just read an article about a woman who was murdered by her husband while she had a restraining order. On the other hand there are those who use the system against their spouse like this woman. I just don’t see an answer that is fair to both situations.

The problem there is that even though laws were in place to protect her, they weren't enforced, for whatever reason. (E.g. police responding to a violation of a restraining order is probably lower priority than responding to a break-in.) The laws need to be based in common sense. They need to be enforced. Seems to me those two measures would greatly increase the "fairness" of the system.

14 posted on 09/02/2010 5:53:23 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: FreeManDC

The Violence Against Women Act, passed during the first term of the Clinton administration, includes a definition of domestic violence that is so wide you could drive a Mack truck through it.

States picked up on the loophole, and now most states include within their definitions of abuse, actions like making your partner “annoyed” or “distressed.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) likewise followed suit. The CDC’s Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements declares that partner violence includes “getting annoyed if the victim disagrees,” “withholding information from the victim,” and even “disregarding what the victim wants.”

Note the CDC’s repeated use of the word “victim.”


15 posted on 09/02/2010 5:59:36 AM PDT by DontTreadOnMe2009 (So stop treading on me already!)
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To: FreeManDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) likewise followed suit. The CDC’s Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements declares that partner violence includes “getting annoyed if the victim disagrees,” “withholding information from the victim,” and even “disregarding what the victim wants.

what a load of stupid crap !!

getting annoyed if the victim disagrees
WTF?

16 posted on 09/02/2010 6:05:43 AM PDT by Charlespg
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To: 556x45

I have a feminist friend who shocked me when I observed how brutal it was that a Muslim could beat and disfigure his wife (Time cover) then abandon her to die.

She said: It’s no worse than an American woman who is married to some redneck ape who beats her.

I was aghast!!

I reminded her that:

• ANY married women in the US, CHOSE her husband
• ANY married woman in the US, made her ‘selection’ freely and at the AGE OF CONSENT
• Any woman in THIS country who wants out of her marriage/relationship can accomplish it SO easily that no comparison is possible with Muslim women who have NO support system, encouragement or sympathy (even from their own families) when trying to divorce
• Even assuming a Muslim woman successfully breaks with her husband, he likely keeps her children, dowry, etc. She goes away dishonored, with NOTHING and worse, with NO PROSPECT for the rest of her life, of ever being accepted or employed

My Liberal friend has just this same imbecile and flawed understanding of ALL issues. THAT level of reasoning is pretty typical of Feminists and ALL Liberals!


17 posted on 09/02/2010 6:07:37 AM PDT by SMARTY ("What luck for rulers that men do not think." Adolph Hitler)
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To: Smokin' Joe

“Squeezing the toothpaste in the middle of the tube will likely qualify...and people wonder why guys aren’t interested in getting married nowadays. “

Thanks for the laugh. Its a horrible truth however.


18 posted on 09/02/2010 6:07:53 AM PDT by ChinaThreat (3)
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To: exDemMom

The problem there is that even though laws were in place to protect her, they weren’t enforced, for whatever reason. (E.g. police responding to a violation of a restraining order is probably lower priority than responding to a break-in.) The laws need to be based in common sense. They need to be enforced. Seems to me those two measures would greatly increase the “fairness” of the system.

You think that maybe they should have lie detector tests for both people or a psychological evaluation so they can decide exactly who is the victim?


19 posted on 09/02/2010 6:08:08 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: marstegreg

All of this stuff changes with gay marriage. Domestic violence laws will have to be tossed out to accommodate it.


20 posted on 09/02/2010 6:13:10 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: AppyPappy

From what I have read Gay couples are not immune to domestic violence. The last thing they should do is weaken the law. I have a feeling they will, though.


21 posted on 09/02/2010 6:17:40 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: marstegreg

Immune???? They beat each other all the time. Take passion and add testosterone. That’s a recipe for violence.

Domestic violence laws do not just apply to married couples but the law is more focused on married couples.


22 posted on 09/02/2010 6:20:47 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: FreeManDC
The CDC’s Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements declares that partner violence includes... “disregarding what the victim wants.”

I must be a victim of domestic violence then.

23 posted on 09/02/2010 6:25:07 AM PDT by HapaxLegamenon
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To: concerned about politics

I disagree with that. SHE took her own life away by her own actions. He didn’t have anything to do with it.


24 posted on 09/02/2010 6:28:36 AM PDT by wbarmy (I chose to be a sheepdog once I saw what happens to the sheep.)
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To: AppyPappy

This article tells it like it is. We had a nephew that had nearly the same thing done to him and it took two years of court battle to finally win custody of his kids after the bitch was convicted of several crimes. It all started with a false claim of “pushing” during a otherwise civil divorce.
She made the claim a day after..had him arrested and told the police he was suicidal..so he was stripped and held naked in a cell. A restraining order was issued and wasn’t dropped even though she didn’t show up in court on the domestic violence charge. (She was too drunk or high to bother).
Finally..her drugs led her to a life of other crimes and she ended up in jail. Otherwise she may have won.


25 posted on 09/02/2010 6:29:02 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: FreeManDC

My ex-wife tried that crap. Said I hit her many times. My son, before I could say anything, looks at his mother and says, “you’re a damn liar, mom!”....

He is 11, 10 at the time. I just sat there, stunned.


26 posted on 09/02/2010 6:29:26 AM PDT by PAMadMax (Islam is a disease....)
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To: FreeManDC
sadly, some people do deserve a good beating.

stopped reading at “biden” for some reason.

lucky for him it was not in massachusetts.

he would still be pickin and stickin in blaze orange along the masspike.

27 posted on 09/02/2010 6:29:51 AM PDT by mmercier
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To: AppyPappy

A lot of the domestic violence ( I have read ) occurs between Lesbian couples and generally ends with some one being killed.


28 posted on 09/02/2010 6:33:20 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: Wolfie
Well, there are certainly some classes of crimes where due process should not apply. We’ve learned that much in the last 10 years.

Such as...?

29 posted on 09/02/2010 6:35:13 AM PDT by papertyger
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To: SMARTY

Going back to the judicial system is very broken idea: The courts, unless faced w/ undeniable, in your face evidence, always side w/ the woman. Seems pretty sexist to me. Theres nothing inherently perfect or pure about females. I think the idea behind it is they’re supposedly the nurturers. However, todays feminists seem to look down on that role. LOL, seems a tangled web of lies to me. Anyway, to say women possess an exclusive ability to nurture is false. Dad’s do that too just in a different way. To be successful both are necessary.
LOL, its for the children you know. :) In this case thats no lie or hubris.

Once easy divorce hit the scene it was down hill from there. Now you can invent any lame excuse and be released. Only thing is when you invite the govt into your life expect nothing but trouble.


30 posted on 09/02/2010 6:38:55 AM PDT by 556x45
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To: marstegreg

People who are actual victims usually display some kind of evidence. Bruises, behavior problems, etc. No doubt, the woman you mentioned had plenty of evidence, or she wouldn’t have gotten a restraining order.

It comes down to investigating and determining the truth, which is always the case with law enforcement. People undergoing divorce are known to be vindictive; a good investigation should reveal if that is the case, or if there is actually something going on.


31 posted on 09/02/2010 6:45:50 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Exactly. I won’t marry a woman in America until the laws are fixed, so that means probably never. The only problem is, eschewing marriage alone doesn’t protect you from this, since the VAWA can be applied to you if you are dating a woman, or even if you have no relationship at all with the woman but she claims you do. Not to mention, palimony and other things are still applied by judges outside of marital situations as well.


32 posted on 09/02/2010 7:06:00 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: marstegreg

They won’t weaken the laws to shield gay couples, they simply won’t apply them. Just like they don’t apply them when men are abused by women.


33 posted on 09/02/2010 7:08:33 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: FreeManDC
This tale is not so much about a distraught woman sorely in need of psychological help.

I would never have mistaken it for that. It looks more like the tale of a malicious, evil woman sorely in need of a prison term.

34 posted on 09/02/2010 7:08:42 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: papertyger

Terrorist activities.


35 posted on 09/02/2010 7:21:59 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: FreeManDC
abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb domestic violence.

It is not about reducing "domestic violence. It is about eliminating the family unit and smothering the masculinity that is a roadblock to total control by the functionaries of the nanny state.

36 posted on 09/02/2010 8:16:39 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's "Economics In One Lesson.")
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To: marstegreg
I just don’t see an answer that is fair to both situations.

Life isn't fair, and it isn't government's job to try to make life "fair".

If the choice is between government punishing innocent people, and the government sometimes not catching criminals until after they commit crimes, the answer is the latter.

If we put every person in jail, nobody could commit a crime. But our goal is not to pre-judge future criminal acts, it is to stop criminals once they are acting, and prosecute criminals if they do act.

That means people do get robbed, and people do get harmed, and people do die. It's one of the many prices we pay for a free society -- until a person commits their first crime (which could be PLANNING for an action, the best case we can hope for in criminal prevention) we can't go all "Minority Report" and imprison them for what we think they might do.

So, a woman is murdered by someone when they have a restraining order. A Restraining Order is a legal order, and won't always stop people who are bent on illegal behavior "Well, I was going to murder my ex-wife, but I didn't want to violate the restraining order".

Doesn't mean we can just throw everybody under a restraining order in jail, or even follow them around and violate their privacy rights, without proof that they are guilty of a crime.

Better to let 100 guilty go free, than to imprison one innocent man. Well, that used to be some principle, but when it comes to domestic violence, and also child abuse, way too many people think it should be "better to imprison 100 innocent men, than let one guilty person go free".

37 posted on 09/02/2010 9:32:29 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: marstegreg

Here’s a solution. Follow the Constitution. To prosecute and jail the male, there must be proof. No “he said, she said” crap.

Then women can buy guns and protect themselves since the law doesn’t do it anyway.

We had a good system, not perfect but good, till idiots of the SC and Congress messed it up.


38 posted on 09/02/2010 9:36:17 AM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man.)
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To: chesley

We had a good system, not perfect but good, till idiots of the SC and Congress messed it up.

Add it to the list!


39 posted on 09/02/2010 9:40:55 AM PDT by marstegreg
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To: marstegreg

This is just another example of liberalism on display.

“Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Whether it is Affirmative Action, Title IX, VAWA, etc...
liberals always discriminate against someone.


40 posted on 09/02/2010 10:07:37 AM PDT by CoastWatcher
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To: marstegreg

the list of what they haven’t messed up is much shorter thatn the list of what they have messed up.


41 posted on 09/02/2010 10:24:02 AM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man.)
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To: FreeManDC; bmwcyle; paltz

My aunt’s brother was killed by two people executing a hit put out on him by his wife. However, this animal first got an order of protection sworn out against her husband, so that he couldn’t keep his firearms under Maryland’s freak firearms laws. She made him a sitting duck, then she had him killed.

It’s amazing that men who aren’t rich or good-looking even bother to get married these days. With these domestic violence laws, orders of proection, and other crap, the return on the investment, so to speak, is amazingly lousy.


42 posted on 09/22/2010 1:28:45 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Muslims are not the problem, the rest of the world is! /s)
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