Today, I went to District Court in Radnor, PA, Delaware County for a preliminary hearing to defend a domestic assault case at the preliminary hearing that occurred between husband and wife at the Radnor Hotel. My client had been accussed of assaulting his wife, spitting on her and pulling her hair.
This was our second court appearance. At the first listing of this case back in June, I noticed the Commonwealth did not subpeona the victim or the 3rd party witness to the alleged assault. I found this out by going to the front desk at the Radnor courthouse and speaking to court staff. Though no subpeonas were sent out, the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office requested a continuance on the basis that the witness didn’t show. I strongly objected to this continuance request. I argued to the Radnor judge that the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure state that continuances should only be granted for “good cause.” I didn’t feel that the Radnor Police forgetting to subpeona its witnesses constituted “good cause.” I explained my position ot the judge. Nonetheless, the District Judge granted the Commonwealth’s continuance request. I expected this. It is normal for judges to grant a continuance at the first listing of the case, especially in domestic cases. Typically, the judge’s will play it safe in these situations and give the victim an opportunity to appear at court. Judges take domestic violence seriously and want to protect victims and give them the opportunity to testify against defendants.
Many times female victims can be bullied or “sweet talked” into not testifying against their male counterparts. As a former prosecutor I know how frustrating this can be: on Friday night he would be beating the crap out of her and on Monday she would be nibbling his ear on the courhouse steps. No joke, I used to see this all the time.
However, today at the second listing of the case, once again, the Commonwealth failed to subpeona its witnesses. I thought this was unusual. I can’t explain why the witnesses weren’t subpeoned. Maybe, it was just forgetfulness on the part of police. Nonetheless, the District Attorney’s Office insisted that my client go through an anger management course. I told them they could take that deal and eat it, that my client isn’t taking any courses. The representative from the DA’s office threatened that the Commonwealth would get the case continued and subpeona the witnesses to testify against my client.
Before the Judge, the Commonwealth adamantly requested that my client attend anger management courses and requested another continuance. I objected and asked the judge to dismiss all of the charges. The judge ended up DISMISSING ALL CHARGES and tossing the case.
Contact my PA Criminal Defense Practice if you or someone you know is accused of domestic violence.