Intimate Partner Violence

In domestic violence cases, the prosecution will often request a special jury instruction known as CALCRIM No. 850 which explains the purpose of expert testimony about intimate partner violence. The jury instruction on expert witness testimony in intimate partner violence cases provides:

You have heard testimony from [the expert] regarding the effect of battered women’s syndrome and cycle of violence. [The expert’s] testimony about battered women’s syndrome and cycle of violence is not evidence that the defendant committed any of the crimes charged against him.

You may consider this evidence only in deciding whether or not [the victim’s] conduct was not inconsistent with the conduct of someone who has been abused, and in evaluating the believability of her testimony.

Attorney for Intimate Partner Violence in Ventura, CA

If you were charged with intimate partner or domestic violence in Ventura County, CA, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Jay Leiderman Law.

With offices conveniently located in Ventura, CA, Jay Leiderman can help you understand the charges pending against you, ways to avoid the typical punishments, and the best way to fight for an outright dismissal of the charges.

Call (805) 654-0200.

Overview of Intimate Partner Violence in California

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Recantation in Domestic Violence Cases

Prosecutors complain that they have a difficult time prosecuting domestic violence cases because battered women are:

  • hostile to the prosecution of the batterer;
  • deny the statements that they have made to the police (the recantation); or
  • attempt to minimize the violence.

To counteract these problems, the prosecution might try to use an expert to explain why battered women recanted her testimony. The expert might explain that battered women are not honest and accurate about abuse soon after an abusive event because there has not been time for denial, repressing, or minimization.

The prosecution might call an expert to explain why women commonly recant their allegations of abuse or attempt to minimize the violence. The expert often testifies that the recantation occurs because of the following pattern:

  • the parties are really mad at each other;
  • the batterer portrays himself as a victim and asks for sympathy;
  • the batterer offers an alternative narrative in which the victim is to blame;
  • the parties have nostalgia for the good parts of their relationship; and
  • the batterer asks the victim to recant.

The prosecution will often seek to elicit testimony about intimate partner violence from an expert. The term “intimate partner violence” replaces the previously used phrase known as “Battered Women’s Syndrome.”

Expert Testimony on the Effects of Partner Battering

Evid. Code, § 1107, subd. (a). provides:

“In a criminal action, expert testimony is admissible by either the prosecution or the defense regarding intimate partner battering and its effects, including the nature and effect of physical, emotional, or mental abuse on the beliefs, perceptions, or behavior of victims of domestic violence, except when offered against a criminal defendant to prove the occurrence of the act or acts of abuse which form the basis of the criminal charge.”

Experts on intimate partner violence will often describe the “three-stage cycle” of violence including:

  • the first stage of tension building;
  • the second stage of acute violence; and
  • the third state of contrition or remorse.

According to this theory, during the tension stage, a victim might do something to provoke a fight because the tension is “unbearable” and the victim wants to “get it over with.” After the violence occurs, the victim stays in these relationships because the victim feels at fault as the abuser begins to express contrition and remorse for the violence.

Every time the cycle repeats itself, the violence increases in frequency and severity as the third stage of contrition and remorse becomes shorter and shorter. Because of the cycle of domestic violence, the victim is fearful and takes the blame for causing the abuse. The victim might stay with the abuser because the victim feels dependent on the abuser or fears that the violence will increase if she attempts to leave.

For example, in People v. Adams, C085290, 2019 WL 2721640, at *3 (Cal. Ct. App. July 1, 2019), the prosecution called David Cropp, who testified to his background working with families and children exposed to domestic violence. In that case, the expert was permitted to testify that:

  • he had been qualified 18 times as an expert in the area of domestic violence and victim and witness participation;
  • it was very common in the criminal justice system for victims of domestic violence to refuse to cooperate with the prosecution or to change or recant their previous statements;
  • the reasons for this behavior included reluctance to be adverse to a person who may be a co-parent or “somebody they may love”
  • a victim also may fear retaliation, stalking, threats, being alone, being unable to support the children, and family or social judgments
  • he had seen in the literature estimates that up to 80 percent of domestic abuse victims refuse to cooperate with law enforcement
  • he knew nothing about this case, had not read any police reports on it and did not know the defendant

In order to counteract this kind of testimony, the defense should call their own expert witness to explain why the alleged victim of domestic violence might lie or exaggerate the accusation out of spite or in order to gain an advantage in an anticipated divorce or child custody case.

The defense expert can also testify about why a law enforcement officer might misconstrue the alleged victim’s statements in an attempt to build a stronger case.

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Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Conviction

Being accused or convicted of intimate partner, domestic violence, or abuse is a severe manner. It can negatively impact your personal and professional life. Domestic violence laws are used to protect a wide range of groups, and there is a multitude of penal codes. Having to face such accusations or convictions can seem overwhelming, and regardless of the situation, once a report has been made, attorneys are persistent in prosecuting the abuser. Even though it could have been a misunderstanding or the wrong person was arrested, this is a severe crime that can lead to a traumatic experience.

It is dire to have an experienced lawyer to assist, clarify, and represent you through this situation. Jay Leiderman Law has experience in criminal cases dealing with abuse (domestic, corporal injury, cohabitant, etc.). In the State of California, the term “intimate partner” does not only pertain to your spouse or someone you live with, but it can also include an ex-spouse, children, ex-partner, parents, grandparents, and siblings.

The accusation or conviction can cause the following, and in some instances, worse outcomes:

  • Restraining orders – There are different types of restraining orders which can restrict your freedom by not being able to have contact with individuals or not being able to possess a weapon (e.g., a gun)
  • Arrest – Once a report has been made and the police officer believes that intimate partner or domestic violence has taken place and arrest is mandatory regardless of recantation
  • Fines
  • Having to serve time in state prison or county jail
  • Loss of employment or professional license
  • Having a criminal record that could affect future employment opportunities
  • Children custody proceedings – Depending on the case a person can lose custody of their children or visitation rights
  • Deportation – If you are an immigrant, in some cases intimate partner or domestic violence can be seen as an “aggravated felony” or “crime of violence”

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Protection Against Intimate Partner Violence Conviction

Although prosecutors might find it challenging to help domestic violence victims regardless if they recant their statements, chose not to press charges, or state that they have changed their minds, they will continue to follow this case through. In many situations,’ prosecutors are prepared to face the challenges of representing the person who made the statement and chooses to recant. As stated in “Recantation in Domestic Violence Cases,” prosecutors will use the following to convict the defendant:

  • Experts
  • Police reports
  • audio or video recording (e.g., calls to 911)
  • Medical records
  • Photographs of the injury
  • Past criminal records

It is imperative to consult a lawyer if you have been convicted of domestic or intimate partner violence. Do not wait; this criminal charge can negatively impact your professional and personal life. The aftermath that can be encountered due to being convicted of abuse is relentless and traumatizing. It is crucial to have representation and consult with an experienced attorney. call Jay Leiderman Law at (805) 654-0200

There are many penal codes in California Law to protect a range of individuals against domestic violence, consult an attorney at Jay Leiderman Law to help explain the process. To improve the outcome of your case, retaining a lawyer at the earliest stages can either minimize the charges or prepare you.

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Additional Resources

Overview of Intimate Partner Violence – Follow the link to the website of The National Institute of Justice, which explains the multiple forms intimate partner violence can take such as sexual, physical, threats, etc. There are many resources available to survivors and anyone who would like to learn more about intimate partner violence. The National Institute of Justice provides events to educate and inform.

Domestic Violence & Child Abuse Prevention – The Interface Children and Family Services provides a multitude of assistance for families and communities. The link to prevention has information on services and available 24/7 such as “Crisis Response”, it also gives details on emergency shelters. Whether you are a survivor, wanting to learn how to prevent violence, or need support Interface can assist with the tools or guidance necessary.

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Intimate Partner Violence Lawyer in Ventura County, CA

Simple battery against a spouse, cohabitant, or domestic partner is a commonly prosecuted crime related to intimate partner violence. There are long term consequences from charges of domestic or intimate partner violence that may include jail time, fines, orders refraining from contact, which ultimately might damage your freedom and personal relationships.

If you were charged with domestic, intimate partner violence, or abuse against a spouse or partner, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Jay Leiderman Law.

Call (805) 654-0200

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