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All Press Releases for January 11, 2014 »
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The importance of credibility in domestic violence cases

It has been in all the recent news--New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) has announced a bill that would create a publicly accessible registry containing all the names of individuals who have been found to have committed an act of domestic violence.
 
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It has been in all the recent news--New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) has announced a bill that would create a publicly accessible registry containing all the names of individuals who have been found to have committed an act of domestic violence. Gusciora believes that a public registry would reduce the number of instances of domestic violence by repeat offenders. The registry would be similar in nature to the sex offender registry established under Megan's Law.

Domestic violence is a serious issue around the country and New Jersey is no exception. According to statistics gathered by the New Jersey Sate Police, there were 73,709 reports of domestic violence to the police in 2009. In 2010, 74,244 incidents of domestic violence were reported and 40 deaths resulting from domestic violence were recorded. Police say that the number of reports is under representative of actual incidents of domestic violence, particularly where male victims are concerned.

But while not diminishing the seriousness of the issue, false accusations do happen. False accusations of domestic violence can be used as revenge, as a weapon in divorces, child custody, support and visitation battles. The consequences can be devastating, ruining a life, being evicted from one's home, losing custody, heavy fines, attorney's fees, and in some cases, jail. In many cases, the question of whether domestic violence has actually occurred comes down to he said/she said, and that frequently hinges on the credibility of the accused and the accuser. Credibility determinations rest with the judge, and can be gauged in a number of ways: Is the testimony conflicting with other statements made by the accuser--in the police report, in prior hearings, or in a complaint. Has the accuser made false or frivolous complaints in the past? Is there any documentation by way of photographs or medical reports? Is there a heated divorce or custody proceeding pending? Did the accuser report the incident to police (if the alleged offense was not reported to the police, this may be strong evidence that the incident never occurred or was under different circumstances)? How long did the accuser wait to report the alleged incident (this may also indicate that the accuser did not feel in any immediate danger)?

In challenging the credibility of any witness, thorough case preparation and effective cross-examination are essential. Anyone who finds themselves accused of any acts of domestic violence should immediately seek the assistance of a New Jersey attorney skilled in defending domestic violence cases.

Article provided by Maynard & Sumner, LLC
Visit us at www.njlawattorney.com



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