TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A single spank doesn’t qualify as domestic violence, an appellate court ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal unanimously reversed an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
It cited common law and a 2002 Florida Supreme Court ruling that says reasonable or non-excessive corporal punishment can be used as a defense against child abuse charges.
Circuit Judge Karen Gievers of Tallahassee had issued the injunction against a father identified in the ruling only as “G.C.”
He had been accused by his former wife of spanking their 14-year-old daughter once on the buttocks with his hand.
The father said the teen had been disrespectful and defiant. The girl said she was only being sarcastic.
“We hold that under established Florida law this single spank constituted reasonable and non-excessive parental corporal discipline and, as a matter of law, was not domestic violence,” the appeal judges wrote in an unsigned opinion.
That’s even though the domestic violence law doesn’t explicitly say so.
The judges, though, wrote “neither does it exclude the common law defense” that parents can administer reasonable and non-excessive corporal punishment.
Categories: Child Abuse Laws, Domestic Abuse Laws Tags: appellate court, child abuse, corporal punishment, court, dad, daughter, domestic violence, florida, judge, law 14 year old, mom, one, parents, spank, supreme court, tallahassee
Wisconsin District Attorney “Sexted” Abuse Victim
A prominent Wisconsin district attorney sent repeated text messages trying to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend, a police report shows.
The 26-year-old woman complained last year to police after receiving 30 texts from Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz in three days, according to the report obtained by The Associated Press.
“Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA … the riskier the better?” Kratz, 50, wrote in a message to Stephanie Van Groll in October 2009. In another, he wrote: “I would not expect you to be the other woman. I would want you to be so hot and treat me so well that you’d be THE woman! R U that good?”
Kratz was prosecuting Van Groll’s ex-boyfriend on charges he nearly choked her to death last year. He also was veteran chair of the Wisconsin Crime Victims‘ Rights Board, a quasi-judicial agency that can reprimand judges, prosecutors and police officers who mistreat crime victims.
In a combative interview in his office Wednesday, Kratz did not deny sending the messages and expressed concern their publication would unfairly embarrass him personally and professionally. He said the Office of Lawyer Regulation had found he did not violate any rules governing attorney misconduct. That office cannot comment on investigations.
“This is a non-news story,” Kratz shouted. But he added, “I’m worried about it because of my reputational interests. I’m worried about it because of my 25 years as a prosecutor.”
Van Groll told police in Kaukauna, Wis., where she lived, that she felt pressured to have a relationship with Kratz or he would drop the charges against her ex-boyfriend.
Kratz then removed himself from that prosecution and the state Department of Justice took over. He resigned from the crime victims board, which he helped create, after more than a decade as chair. He and his wife filed for divorce last December, although he said they were separated when the messages were sent.
Kratz has remained the top prosecutor based in Chilton, where he has served since 1992 and earns a $105,000 salary. Kratz, a Republican, said he intends to run for re-election in November 2012.
“Nothing really happened to him and I had three days of hell,” Van Groll said in a phone interview with the AP. “They gave him a slap on the wrist and told him not to do it again. If it was anybody else that did something like this, they’d lose their job.”
Domestic violence experts called Kratz’s text messages disturbing and unethical for several reasons, including the power differential between a prosecutor and a younger abuse victim.
“If what’s being alleged is true, it’s sad a prosecutor would use the same sort of power and control over a woman who has already experienced that in her personal life,” said Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Kratz may be best known for prosecuting Steven Avery in the 2005 killing of Teresa Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer. The case won national attention because Avery had spent 18 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit in a separate case before DNA evidence implicated someone else. Kratz received glowing media attention and flirted with a run for Congress in 2008.
Last year, around the time he was texting Van Groll, Kratz was back in the spotlight for prosecuting a woman who worked with others to lure a boyfriend to a hotel room and glued his penis to his stomach as revenge for his cheating.
In the interview, Kratz said he was proud he helped achieve legislation creating the first-of-its-kind crime victims’ board and that he had dedicated his career to their cause.
“I wrote the law on crime victims in Wisconsin,” he said, pointing to a picture of him with former Gov. Tommy Thompson signing that law. “That’s the irony here.”
A spokeswoman said the board has not received a complaint about Kratz and is not investigating his conduct toward Van Groll.
Kratz cited an undisclosed conflict of interest in stepping away from the abuse case after Van Groll reported the text messages, court records show. An assistant state attorney general acted as special prosecutor and won a conviction on one felony count of strangulation against the man, Shannon Konitzer.
Van Groll said Kratz sent the first text minutes after she left his office, where he had interviewed her about the case.
He said it was nice talking and “you have such potential,” signing the message “KEN (your favorite DA).” Twenty minutes later, he added, “I wish you weren’t one of this office’s clients. You’d be a cool person to know!” But he quickly tried to start a relationship and told her to keep quiet about the texts.
Van Groll at first was polite, saying Kratz was “a nice person” and thanking him for praise. By the second day, she responded with answers such as “dono” or “no.” Kratz questioned whether her “low self-esteem” was to blame for the lack of interest.
“I’m serious! I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!” he texted.
Kratz told her the relationship would unfold slow enough for “Shannon’s case to get done.” “Remember it would have to be special enough to risk all,” he wrote.
Van Groll said she went to police on the third day after the messages started becoming “kind of vulgar.” She provided copies of 30 messages and her responses, which the department released in response to an AP request.
“Stephanie feels afraid that if she doesn’t do what he wants Kratz will throw out her whole case,” an officer who interviewed Van Groll wrote.
The department referred the complaint to the state Division of Criminal Investigation because it works with Kratz’s office on prosecutions. Van Groll, a college student and part-time preschool teacher who has moved to Merrill, said she has been told Kratz won’t be charged because “they didn’t think he did anything criminally wrong.”
Kratz on Wednesday waved a copy of what he said was a report by legal regulators that cleared him. He would not give a copy to AP, and slammed the door to his office when the interview was over.
Wife of Evander Holyfield Files for an Order of Protection
Candi Holyfield, the wife of boxing great Evander Holyfield, has filed for a protective order against her husband.
According to documents filed last week in Fayette County Superior Court, Candi Holyfield accuses her husband of a violent act against her in the presence of the couple’s two children. The petition for a protective order was posted on www.radaronline.com. The file number for the court filing matches a filing found on Fayette court’s Web site.
Candi Holyfield accuses her husband of hitting her in the face, the back of her head, and on her back during the middle of the night, according to the petition for temporary protective order.
“He got up and turned the light on and started looking at my face and told me he was sorry, that he knew he shouldn’t have done that,” Candi Holyfield stated in the petition.
The incident allegedly began because the heat was cut off in the couple’s home, and Candi Holyfield attempted to discuss it with her husband.
“He told me that I was only thinking about myself,” Candi Holyfield stated. “He started telling me that I needed to start putting God first in my life.”
Evander Holyfield, 47, hung up on a reporter when reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon. Candi Holyfield could not be reached for comment.
Candi Holyfield claims her husband’s abuse against her began six months into the marriage, when she was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
The Holyfields were married July 1, 2003, in a Fayette County courtroom. It was Candi Holyfield’s 24th birthday. Candi, now 30, is the boxer’s third wife, and the couple has two children, ages 6 and 4.
“At first it was mainly emotional,” Candi Holyfield states in the petition. “There was incidents where he had pushed or grabbed me but it has escalated since 2008.”
In 2008, Evander Holyfield allegedly choked his wife in front of the couple’s daughter and housekeeper, Candi Holyfield stated in the petition. Last year, Candi Holyfield said, her husband hit her in front of the couple’s children.
Candi Holyfield asked that her husband not be allowed within 500 yards of her, and that he have no contact with the couple’s two children, according to the court documents. She also requests use of a Porsche Cayenne and a Mercedes Benz.
Ken Sanders, the boxer’s manager, said he is not aware of any problems between the couple. Sanders said the boxer is currently in Las Vegas.
Holyfield, a four-time undisputed heavyweight champion, has won more than $200 million in prize money. Fights in South Korea, Ethiopia and Uganda were cancelled due to a lack of funding. He also has an April 24 fight scheduled against Derric Rossy in Las Vegas.
UPDATE: The former heavyweight champion of the world and his wife have decided to work things out, after Candi Holyfield decided to drop her protective order request against her husband Evander for spousal abuse, the couple are moving forward to seek some marriage counseling from none other than Dr. Phil McGraw.
Cycle of Abuse
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:
* Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”
* Guilt – After abusing you, your partner feels guilt, but not over what he’s done. He’s more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for his abusive behavior.
* Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what he or she has done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for theabusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
* “Normal” behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
* Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about abusing you again. He spends a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how he’ll make you pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
* Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing you.
Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.
Domestic Assault – Understanding Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars.
Noticing and acknowledging the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out. There is help available.
Domestic abuse, also known spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Abuse Victim: Your Inner Thoughts And Feelings
* feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
* avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
* feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
* believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
* wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
* feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:
* humiliate or yell at you?
* criticize you and put you down?
* treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
* ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
* blame you for his own abusive behavior?
* see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence: An Example
A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, “I’m sorry for hurting you.” What he does not say is, “Because I might get caught.” He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her “If you weren’t such a worthless whore I wouldn’t have to hit you.” He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because “you’re having an affair with the store clerk.” He has just set her up.