Comments for: Maine domestic violence experts criticize delayed sentencing for offenders

Posted June 03, 2012, at 3:55 p.m.
Last modified June 03, 2012, at 4:43 p.m.

ROCKLAND | The lack of consistency in the handling of domestic violence cases statewide is a concern to advocates for those who are subject to abuse. “There are a lot of places where things are falling through the cracks,” said Natasha Chase, who has worked seven years at New …

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  • Anonymous

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so they used to say. If a batterer can get off with little punishment for his actions, I wonder why the victims just don’t take matters into their own hands. After all, what is the worst thing that will happen to them? They might just get a medal for bravery.

  • Anonymous

    What about the children, or spouses, who are abused and assaulted by women?  Is this not domestic violence too?  Men don’t completely own this issue.  Why aren’t these state and federally funded advocacy groups championing for the consistent prosecution and sentencing of ALL domestic violence perpetrators, not just the men?   There is no excuse for domestic violence…  but what is any more offensive than the abuse of a child?    These advocates should be doing more to help the kids caught in these situations.

  • Anonymous

    Marriage isn’t only between a man & a woman, it’s constitutional for the govt to force you to buy insurance, illegal aliens can vote & domestic violence isn’t really a punishable crime. Thanks liberals, keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah, because the Left has always worked so hard to fight *against* DV laws. I’m glad you’re here to remind us all of the version of history where the GOP has historically been the party that champions legislation to fight violence against women.

      Seriously… what world do you live in? Just because Paul LePage agrees with most liberals on domestic violence issues DOES NOT mean that somehow the Republicans have been the ones fighting for protection against abuse over the years. Quite the opposite is true.

    • Anonymous

      The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act has historically received bi-partisan support until this year.  Not one member of the GOP has signed on to support this law.  Look at all the laws being enacted around this country that are directly aimed at curtailing women’s reproductive rights.  These laws are being passed in laws that have GOP governors, and GOP controlled legislatures. 

  • Anonymous

    Violence against women is a huge problem, and most men seem way behind on recognizing it.  Aggressive police policies against batterers is an excellent step, though one problem is that the police themselves can be batterers. 

  • Guest

    Experts aren’t always right, If you ask a Turkey what he should be stuffed with, he’ll say grasshoppers, grubs and worms.

    •  Court required therapy has a very low success rate. It is a good idea to get abusers, addicts, etc help, but unless they want it, it does no good. Showing up to therapy cause the court said so is not the same as admitting you have a problem. Then again, if it helps a few people then I guess it is worth it…

  • Anonymous

    Domestic Violence cases should not be plead down.  If you don’t want to be convicted for being a spouse beater, then don’t beat your spouse.

    • Anonymous

      What about the poor guy who has to spend his life savings defending himself against fictional domestic violence allegations, made by a manipulative woman to gain leverage in a custody dispute, or a divorce?  It’s getting to be an epidemic.  Who’s the criminal, or “spouse beater” then? 

      • Yawningattrolls

        Women engage in domestic violence too, so when a woman is charged for domestic assault she has to spend her life savings to defend herself against fictional domestic allegations, made by a manipulative man to gain leverage in a custody dispute, or a divorce. Goes both ways…….

        • Anonymous

          Name ONE case where a man received a benefit in family court based upon false abuse allegations against a women…. good luck finding one.  

          • Yawningattrolls

            Check for yourself, there are cases even here in Maine, and by the way, take your head out of the sand. Men can be manipulative through the court systems also; and women can be abusive also – it’s called “human nature”.

          • Anonymous

             My X accused me of abuse, child abuse, manipulated the pediatrician to calling DHHS – all false allegations and I was cleared., but after 9 years of constant family court actions, he was finally granted custody.  More than anything else, it was his manner of manipulation, constant litigation and creating chaos, that won him custody of our son.  The judge knew he would not stop the harassment until he had primary residency and moved out of state.  Unfortunately, she misjudged his character and he has now filed litigation papers yet again and would like future litigation to take place in his new home state.  There are just some people who maintain a relationship / conflict via the family court system.  I’m truly convinced those ‘frequent fliers’ have personality disorders.  So there, I’ve named one case where a man received a benefit in family court based upon false abuse allegations against a woman.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you for your example.  My condolences.  Indeed it does sound like your X has some “issues”.   How unfortunate that family court judges don’t seem to recognize these flashing signs of manipulation, and refuse to hear these constant, frivolous actions, filed just to harass the other parent emotionally, and financially. 

          • Anonymous

            Thanks, there is nothing more heart-wrenching than a good parent separated (by court order)  from their child.  It pains me to see unfit mothers who have custody (and don’t seem to value their children) while I work so hard just to save up for his plane tickets to visit me. 

      • Anonymous

        this is sadly true, I’ve seen it first hand. It has the unfortunate side effect of making people less concerned with the real cases, too many crying wolf. That said, abuse does actually happen far too often, from both men and women.

    •  All a man has to do is raise his voice and a woman can claim domestic violence.

  • Dan Troop

    Deferred disposition was rarely heard of four years ago.  It has only come to the forefront due to the shrinking economy. Federal and State budgets are in the red. Local and County budgets are shrinking. No one wants to raise taxes. The State has taken over the correctional facilities but can’t afford to pay to house the prisoners. So what do you do when you can’t afford to send people to jail? You find alternatives to sentencing like “Deferred Disposition”. Defense attorneys love it because their clients pay them to keep them out of jail. Prosecutors love it because it clears their already over-loaded docket and boosts their clearance rates at the end of the year. Judges love it because it makes them look good when they come up for reappointment every seven years. The State loves it because it saves them money by having to house fewer prisoners. Most of all, defendants love it because they know that State, County and Local law enforcement agencies are under staffed and over burdened which makes keeping track of defendants on deferred disposition a low priority, which means their chances of being found in violation of their conditions is extremely low.
     
    “The district attorney’s office reached a sentence agreement with the defendant in which he agreed to deferred disposition in turn for having the felony assault charge dropped and replaced with a misdemeanor assault charge. Rushlau said that in this case the victim became uncooperative and even hired an attorney to avoid having to testify.”
     
    Is Mr. Rushlau and any other district attorney surprised by this? Are they so naive that they think victims do not watch the news or read the local papers? The victims know that they are the losers under the current system. They have already been assaulted once by their offender who has assured them it will happen again if they notify law enforcement. They have already seen stories of other victims who have been re-victimized not only by their offenders but by the legal system that is supposed to protect them.
     
    So who are the winners in this system? There are none. There are only losers. The biggest losers are the victims, but society overall is the loser as well. We are losers because under the current system the cycle of domestic violence will never be broken and we will continue to be losers until we as a society recognize that ending the cycle of violence in our communities is more important that saving a few dollars.

    • The winners in the system are the counselors and therapists that deliver the “anger management” for 48 weeks!

      • Anonymous

        Given your use of the exclamation point, I guess it’s not working for you.  

    • Anonymous

      “They have already been assaulted once by their offender who has assured them it will happen again if they notify law enforcement.”
      *********************************************

      The victim lives with an abuser….. who can be compared to a rabid, foaming at the mouth, animal. He not only warns her that she will “be sorry” if she presses charges…he also terrifies her with what he will do to her family members if she “tries to leave.” These brutal and demented monsters will often go through with their threats. I needn’t list the murders that have occurred here in Maine in just the last 2 years.

      So, when people say, out of sheer ignorance, why doesn’t she leave?……or she must like it…..the last thing she stays for is to protect her family who he has threatened bodily harm to (or worse). From the multiple beatings she has endured, she believes him and knows what her family members are in for…….so, daring to die, she stays…… because, if nothing else, at least she knows where the beast is. 

  • When I think of domestic violence I want to scream stop the insanity!  I will not debate that there are far too many people, mostly women, who are on the receiving end of the fist.  I have seen it and it makes me sick.  Men who abuse their women should be prosecuted for sure.  However, I have also witnessed more women who abuse men and when men ward them off, the woman who drew first blood goes running to the police and the courts.  All the woman has to do is tell a good enough story, the judge signs a temporary order and presto whamo, the guy she accused can’t go home.   This little temporary order allows the woman who gets to return home time enough to clean out the house, empty bank accounts and/or destroy, sell or give away whatever she chooses.   Very often she doesn’t show back up in court but by then, why bother.  Even when evidence is presented and it is crystal clear that an alternative motive for filing the order was in play, the courts do nothing to the woman filing it.  What is the penalty for perjury?  Nothing in domestic violence cases that have absolutely no grounds.  The woman walks away with all and no consequence for filing on lies.   It is those women who destroy the faith in testimony of those who need and deserve protection.  Yet,  when I read about how much is needed to stop it, I never see this sorry side of it.   It seems to me that domestic violence needs to be stopped and it should not matter if you are male or female.  It also makes sense to me that if one is going to be accused of something that will never leave his/her record if found guilty, then due process afford other criminals should be the same in domestic violence cases.  I would personally give my time and money to support this.   

    • Men should do the same thing; file false reports.

      • Anonymous

        The allegations would actually get investigated, (unlike a vast majority of women’s claims), and he would then be charged with making false statements… and also for domestic violence due to the stress he caused the woman, (then ordered to repay her legal expenses, which he should).  If it only worked both ways…. the amount of domestic violence claims would plummet overnight, (but so would the funds allocated to these tax funded advocacy groups).  It’s in their financial best interests to make as many claims as possible… factual or not.

        • Anonymous

          In my experience, there are no repercussions for false claims – even when the false claims are made by a male.  My X used to call the police with bogus allegations aimed at my babysitters, just to undermine my ability to provide childcare for my son.  He also called police and made false claims that I was suicidal or threatened our child.  While the police could see that this was untrue,   there was never a mention of him getting in trouble for making false reports.  In essence, he used the police as a way of intimidation. 

  • Anonymous

    District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau Under Investigation for Misconduct, Criminal Acts…

    http://rushlau.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    I wont join in the arguments on this board about alleged abuse by someone who is mad at the other one.  To me those arguments will never get you anywhere, but i will go in another direction.  If an abuse claim is filed with the police and the police can see obvious signs of physical abuse, then the person who caused the abuse, man or woman, should be immediately arrested and no bail given until seen by a judge and a restraining order is put into place.  Secondly, any firearms owned by the abuser, should immediately be removed froom the residence and clear instructions that any weapon found on that person will mean an immediate prison sentence. Finally the person abused, should be sent to either a safe house or a family member and not let out of that person’s sight for a minimum of 48 hours.  What i am truly sick of seeing in this paper is someone beats the crap out of his girlfriend or wife, goes to jail, let out a couple of hours later and then beats her even worse because she called the cops.  We have to protect people abused including any children they have and not let another Dexter situation ever happen again.

    • Anonymous

      I whole-heartedly agree.

  • The Great Maine Domestic Violence Witch-hunt stirred-up by Governor LePage is about Governor LePage and these stinking prosecuting attorneys pandering to the Bleeding Hearts Club of Maine.

    Everyone has their nose in everyone else’s business.  But this is nasty.

    Everyone behind all the public press addressing this non-issue has political aspirations and sees this public stance as a popular vote-getter.

    BUT I AM NOT BUYING IT.  THESE PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK.

    These political-people make huge money.  And they are picking on young couples for their own political gain.

    Domestic violence issues do not require a spouse who is cooperating with prosecutors, and actively seeking prosecution.  No!  These prosecutors are breaking up families based on innuendo and hearsay.  These prosecutors come into court ready to stretch the truth, and do so quite regularly.

    This is one nasty witch-hunt no one, no -man or woman-, should be aligning themselves with. 

    This could happen to YOU!

    There but for the grace of God go I.

    • Anonymous

      This is the centuries old notion of ….Me Man..You Woman. You woman mine! The rest of the world….KEEP OUT.

      When brutal domestic violence cases go to court, prosecutors don’t have to go into court with hearsay, innuendo or truth stretching. They have PHOTOS of the beaten up, bloodied spouse.

      I can assure you, God’s grace has nothing to do with a gross and brutal wife beater getting off in the court system.

      •  There are adequate laws that address assault and battery.  There need not be special laws to drive a legal wedge between husband and wife.

  • The Domestic Violence Courts are redundant and superfluous.  The State already well pays Probation Officers whose job it is to advise the perpetrators that they are representing the orders of the Court in the community.  If the judges would simply listen to the Probation Officers and take firm action when a Probation Officer brings a violator back into Court for not following the orders of the Court, we could save hours of time and thousands of dollars.  Is the Domestic Violence Court designed to check up on the perpetrators or to check up on the Probation Officers?

  • Anonymous

    This comment thread makes me very sad for our state. How anyone could defend lighter sentences or protecting convicted abusers is beyond me. This article is about the lack of consistency applied and the ability of violent criminals to get off with delayed sentencing or a slap on the wrist. Please explain why you would be in favor of that?

    This is not an article about false accusations. Goodness, women and children and men are being violently abused, and in some cases killed due to inconsistencies of courts and police. Would you rather save a life by being vigilant and applying the same laws to everyone, or have a violent person kill their partner or children because you didn’t want to “offend” them or “burden” them? That anyone would suggest going easy on people who prey on the weaker members of society, people they are supposed to be protecting, makes me sick to my stomach.

  • Anonymous

    As the victim of a domestic situation and a participant in the batter’s intervention program, after being arrested for a crime I did not commit. I ended up spending over $40,000 dollars to defend myself, which included re-establishing my parental rights. After ten years and countless efforts too have a relationship with my son, even after court ordered visitation. The same mental abuse and manipulation that started this whole process, still goes on to date. Unfortunately, my son is the victim here and will suffer the ill-effects of his mother’s abusive nature for the rest of his life. As fate would have it, I learned from the experience of the batter’s intervention program and finally packed my things and left. However, the abuse has continued in my absence and has no end in sight. It’s not always the man who’s to blame in a domestic violence situation, as the majority of the public thinks. I agree in certain situations that is certainly the case. However, I believe it is more common for the woman to be the abuser than many would like to think. My abuse was a reaction to the prolonged abuse I was subject too, in which the system did nothing about. Despite my pleading with them that I myself was in fact the victim and not what was reported to the police. It is a no win situation and the children are the true victims, and it’s something they will carry with them for life. Please find a fix for the problem, so others won’t have to pass these traits along to future generations. The children of the future are facing a long enough road ahead to begin with, without having domestic issues to add to the mix.

    • Anonymous

      Here, Here!!   Unfortunately this happens A LOT… far too often, and shouldn’t in this day and age.   I pray for you and your children, and hope one day they can get out, put the misery of abuse and courts behind them, and enjoy long and happy lives without this pain.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for your kind words. I’d like to think my response would be viewed by the lawmakers who have the ability to change the system that is in place. A system that coddles the so-called female victim, who often are the ones that truly need the help.  

    • Anonymous

      The system caters to the aggressor, so it can be inviting to unscrupulous, manipulative, hateful co-parents. As a female, people assumed I would have an advantage in court – and this was false. Those involved in the system try to stay neutral, which only aides an abuser.  The real victims are the children and the reasonable parent.  I lost custody to an abuser, because I don’t fight dirty and tried to do the right thing for my son.  Now, I have a child on the other side of the country and have to de-program him during visitation.  It only takes a day or so and then he is free to be a child and not have to ‘take sides’.

  • Anonymous

    Delayed trials, delayed sentencing, and lack of execution of firearms relinquishment orders by law enforcement (not collecting the guns that the Court orders to be collected) are the 3biggest reasons why people die in DV cases after the time when a DV complaint is filed by the victim.  All 3 of those problems must now stop in Maine.  Weapons must be aggressively collected to a degree of 100%, felony DV trials must occur without exception within 1 to 4 months at the latest of the original charge, and sentencing must occur within 3 weeks of the end of the trial.  Such an approach is fully constitutional, rational and necessary to keep people alive and to help DV perpetrators understand the folly of their actions against their significant other.  The weakest link in the entire DVhomicide prevention system are the truly hapless souls who falsely believe that “if the guns had been collected, he/she would just find another one” and “if you have a quick trial and sentencing, the death(s) will just occur after that”.  Both insinuations are completely false over 80% of the time based upon actual data.

  • Anonymous

    Domestic violence industry is a FRAUD and a CRIME against men and children.  Has anyone really taken a good look at who and what these so called “advocates” and their lackeys are? The press will never print the truth about it.  Take a good long look at these corrupt man hating radicals who feed this monstrous DV industry and feed off the suffering THEY inflict on men and children. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzfEzXY-Erg

  • Guest

    I just cannot believe that Rushlau can speak to this, or any fairness.  First off, I must say that DV is one our most horrible crimes, need to be dealt with hard and fast, and yes, get the abusers off the street ASAP…No excuss, put them away and pretect the vic’s..HOWEVER Mr Rushlau…YOU have the WORST reputation for either giving NC’s, or pathetic plea’s to child molesters in the entire STATE !!!!!  All beacause you don’t want to lose cases, or “how will we look if we take this case and lose”..well,…you would LOOK..like you care, which you do not.  You Mr. Rushlau are a pathetic hypocrit !!!!  

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