“Victimless Prosecution” Debated In Florida


Katherine Drummond of Tavares, Fl., is trying to drop domestic violence charges against her husband, Randy, but prosecutors want to take him to court anyway, says the Orlando Sentinel. The State Attorney’s Office intends to pursue the case with or without Katherine Drummond’s help, using as evidence tape recordings of what the prosecutor says are threatening phone calls Randy Drummond made to his wife from jail. “Our policy is if we can pursue without the victim, we almost always do,” said prosecutor Ric Ridgway. Advocates applaud “victimless prosecution” as a way of overcoming the fear and intimidation that often cause victims to back down after initiating an emergency call for help.

Critics call it too much government intervention. “What the state is doing works against the marital union,” lawyer Michael Hatfield said. “They are placing their interest in prosecution above the family. What they’re doing now in these cases is horrible.” Hatfield is among several Lake County lawyers who offer their services to domestic-violence victims, representing their interests in court — especially when the state chooses to prosecute against the victim’s wishes. “It’s not always black or white; there are plenty of gray cases,” said Jeffery Pfister, a lawyer representing Katherine Drummond. “Victims have rights too. We can make sure their rights are upheld.”

Link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/orl-locdomestic26112604nov26,1,5445349.story?coll

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