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Domestic Violence Fairytales Threaten Constitutional Protections
pajamasmedia.com ^ | 2 September, 2010 | Carey Roberts

Posted on 09/04/2010 9:01:32 AM PDT by marktwain

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 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; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: aclu; banglist; cdc; coastguard; constitution; divorce; domestic; domesticviolence; gun; spouseabuse; vawa; violenceagainstwomen
White Men are the new "underclass".
1 posted on 09/04/2010 9:01:39 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain
States picked up on the loophole, and now most states include within their definitions of abuse, actions like making your partner “annoyed” or “distressed.”

I don't think you can get rid of a crime by making everyone in the world guilty of it by definition.

2 posted on 09/04/2010 9:05:57 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: marktwain
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.

Well, not really. He just stole his class notes from other profs.

3 posted on 09/04/2010 9:09:11 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: marktwain

That’s OK if the ‘Loony Libs’ get their way Sharia law will take care of this problem! And women will become as ‘live stock’.


4 posted on 09/04/2010 9:10:00 AM PDT by Kartographer (".. we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.")
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To: Still Thinking

I can’t remember when my wife was not annoyed with me.


5 posted on 09/04/2010 9:10:44 AM PDT by ExtremeUnction
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To: ExtremeUnction
To be "not guilty" you'd have to have some drug-induced-haze marriage where everyone is just-so-happy all the time. I don't think very many people qualify, but it's not domestic violence.

In fact there isn't even such as thing as "domestic violence", or shouldn't be, in a legal sense, unless one's just using the term referring to something that would be illegal anyway when it occurs in a domestic setting. Whacking your husband or wife over the head with a skillet is already illegal under the general category of assault. There's no need to create a new legal classification for this, and in fact it's harmful because it creates the temptation for definition creep like with this "annoyed" crap. It's just like that "hate crime" BS.

6 posted on 09/04/2010 9:16:21 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: ExtremeUnction
I can’t remember when my wife was not annoyed with me.

Wife beater! ;-)

7 posted on 09/04/2010 9:17:53 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: marktwain

The whole schtik was/is to criminalize maleness; and was it not GHW Bush ‘41 that re-authorized the misbegotten VAWA as one of many expressions of his Be Nice to Democrats mindset?


8 posted on 09/04/2010 9:22:06 AM PDT by Elsiejay (.)
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To: ExtremeUnction

My wife is still sleeping, so I’m life is good right now.


9 posted on 09/04/2010 9:50:33 AM PDT by enraged
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To: marktwain

You’re absolutely right; be it family issues, jobs/promotions, education, they’re losing in all categories. Stories like this don’t happen with our unassimilated underclass because there is rarely a father pursuing any kind of child custody. On a positive note, you can watch this formerly great country go to hell in a handbasket and know that you’re not losing anything that hadn’t already been taken from you. When people use the phrase “America’s enemies”, I know we’re supposed to think of these foreign people thousands of miles away, but I can’t see past the ones around me here; they are much more dangerous, and have a very real impact on myself and my family. Oh, and they’re stupid enough to think we have to support them in the stripping of our rights...


10 posted on 09/04/2010 10:00:43 AM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: marktwain

Whites are the new n****rs.


11 posted on 09/04/2010 10:04:36 AM PDT by Jack Black ( Whatever is left of American patriotism is now identical with counter-revolution.)
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To: marktwain
Joe Biden...is a former professor of constitutional law.

As to what's wrong with our legal system, that says it all...

12 posted on 09/04/2010 11:08:04 AM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Still Thinking
Whacking your husband or wife over the head with a skillet is already illegal ...

You've hit on the subtle lie that these "domestic violence" laws were founded on. Many who have thought about this critically come to the conclusion that a feminist cabal were merely targeting men as a group. They were, but it was a subsidiary goal.

The real target, IMHO, is the family, at least as traditionally understood. The left had a huge problem in trying to explain that various alternative familial arrangements were better than the stultifying, stifling, and oppressive married with children model.

Their problem, in a nutshell, was that these alternate family models are all downright dangerous for women and children: lesbian families, single-moms, moms with a parade of adult males unrelated to her children living in the same home, an array of baby-daddies, all experience astonishing rates of "domestic" violence. Their solution (which was brilliant from a PR standpoint), was to redefine "family" to lump in all of the dysfunctional variants with the historically normative ideal. Presto! High rates of "family violence" requiring draconian legislation.

They get two birds with this one stone: the traditional nuclear family receives the added stress-or of allowing one partner to employ the power of the state for transgressions, real or imagined, with consequences far out of proportion to the alleged offense.

At the same time, the state is directed to intervene to assist with the very real and often horrific violence of their preferred alternative models. The agenda is indistinguishable from other efforts to destroy marriage and the family, and often carried out by the same people and organizations.

13 posted on 09/04/2010 4:02:45 PM PDT by absalom01 (You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.)
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