Judge holds a late defendant accountable

Monitors were surprised to see what played out in DV criminal court last week.  A defendant, due at 8:30 am, arrived at court just before noon.  The judge vigorously assessed the veracity of the defendant’s claim that he was late because his car had broken down. What the judge did is an excellent best practice! […]

DV prosecutor stands up for victims

A prosecutor handling criminal domestic violence cases implemented a terrific “best practice” this week. She didn’t just assume that bailiffs would hold defendants at least 10 minutes so victims could safely leave the building. (In fact, bailiffs rarely ensure safe exits in criminal court).  Instead, the prosecutor informed the judge that she had a victim present who needed […]

Particularly unsafe day in criminal domestic violence court

criminal domestic violence

Some criminal domestic violence dockets go more smoothly than others. It was infuriating last week to see what happened to a victim who took the brave step to come to court to testify against her former partner, who was charged with violating her protective order six times. The defendant’s criminal record included numerous assault charges, carrying a concealed […]

Where are the victims in dv criminal court?

Last week during District Court’s criminal dv docket the State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutors did their level best to present evidence showing grounds for conviction in each case they pursued. On this particular day, however, there was not a single victim present in the courtroom to testify. Going to court to face an abuser is an emotional […]

Judges fail to discuss gun restrictions with convicted abusers

convicted abusers

Court Watch’s new study shows judges told only 1 out of 126 convicted abusers they were banned from possessing or purchasing guns. When a domestic violence abuser has access to a gun the chances of a victim being killed rise 500%. Judges need to be actively applying Maryland law by informing relevant convicted offenders verbally and in […]