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Proposed Domestic Abuse Registry Poses Problems for Criminal Defendants

Posted by Debra White | Dec 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

California Legislator Reed Gusciora recently proposed a law that would create a domestic violence registry. He claimed that the purpose of the registry would be to protect women and keep them safe from men that might cause them harm. However, domestic violence is a bit more complicated than that. Many people may think that men are always the perpetrators and women are always the victims, but this is not always the case.

Domestic abuse against men is actually quite common. Additionally, men are often falsely accused of domestic violence by their spouses, significant others, or domestic partners. The motive for this is generally to get revenge or to gain the upper hand in an argument. Additionally, some domestic abuse laws require that both parties be arrested if each person is making accusations against the other. This means that a potentially innocent person may become a criminal defendant based on a totally false accusation.

Issues such as those make a domestic violence registry quite problematic. Without any way to verify what really happened or corroborate the allegations, there is a significant risk that an innocent person will have their name put on a registry and be branded an abuser, even when there is no evidence to support the accusation. Additionally, because of the double standard that exists regarding victims of domestic abuse against men, female abusers who are on the registry would likely not be judged as harshly.

In addition to the lack of a corroboration requirement for the registry, there is also the issue that many domestic violence victims will change their stories or reconcile with the alleged batterer before their case goes to trial or is otherwise resolved. There is no way of amending or removing a person's name from the registry if this happens, which presents a serious issue as well because the registry will not tell the full story of the accusations against a person.

About the Author

Debra White

Attorney Debra S. White is an aggressive and talented trial attorney based in Los-Angeles, California who has successfully represented clients accused of sex crimes in both state and federal courts since 1999. Ms. White is a fierce advocate who enjoys the many challenging aspects of sex crimes defense, including defending against false accusations, faulty memories, and prosecutorial misconduct.

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White Goldstein

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