According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a teenager from Framingham allegedly assaulted his girlfriend this past week. The article states that the alleged victim accused the defendant of cheating on her at approximately 4am. After the accusation was made, the defendant reportedly began hitting and kicking the alleged victim, who claimed that she did not recall the number of punches and/or kicks because there were “too many” to count. The couple reportedly went back to bed after the defendant apologized. When they woke up again, the conversation resumed and the defendant allegedly dragged the alleged victim by the hair and spat in her face. The defendant also allegedly put his hands around the alleged victim’s neck and applied “slight pressure.” At some point after this second alleged assault, the alleged victim called the police and made a report. She claims that she was too afraid to call the police immediately. The defendant was charged with two domestic violence offenses: one count of assault and battery on a household or family member and one count of strangulation.
To convict the defendant of assault and battery on a household or family member under G. L. c. 265, § 13M, the Commonwealth would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendant touched the alleged victim, without having any right or excuse for doing so; (2) that the defendant intended to touch the alleged victim; (3) that the touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the alleged victim, or was done without her consent; and (4) that the defendant and the alleged victim are “household members.” Under the law, people are household members if they are or were married, they have a child in common, and/or they have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.
To convict the defendant of strangulation under G. L. c. 265, § 15D, the Commonwealth would have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the defendant applied substantial pressure on the throat or neck of the alleged victim; (2) that he interfered with the alleged victim’s normal breathing and/or circulation without having any right or excuse for doing so; and (3) that he did so intentionally.
Although the charges are unquestionably serious, the defendant may have an argument that the alleged victim is lying about what happened. First, the alleged victim’s claim that the defendant assaulted her after she accused him of cheating on her does not make much sense – to the contrary, if she believed that he was cheating on her, it would give her a motive to assault him, not vice versa. Alternatively, her belief that he was cheating on her certainly gives her a motive to fabricate a criminal charge against him. Moreover, the fact that she made a delayed report also calls her story into question; one would expect the alleged victim to call the police immediately if she had actually been assaulted, not simply accept an apology and go back to sleep. Any claim that she did not call the police right away because she was scared is seriously undermined by the fact that, according to her, the defendant went back to sleep after the assault, leaving her with no reason for being hesitant to contact the police. Last but certainly not least, the article makes no mention of any visible injuries on the alleged victim. Given the seriousness of the assault that she describes, one would expect significant bruising or markings as a result of the alleged assault. The article makes no reference to bruising or markings, and if in fact none were present it would significantly call into question whether or not the assault happened.
Regardless of the potential issues with the alleged victim’s credibility, the defendant is undeniably facing serious charges and will need an experienced attorney to fully investigate his case and develop this potential defense so that it may be presented to a jury. If you or a loved one is facing a similar circumstance where a romantic partner has accused you of a crime that you did not commit, you will likewise need a skilled attorney who will thoroughly investigate your case and persuasively present a defense in court. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is a defense attorney with many years of experience. He investigates each of his clients’ cases to the fullest extent and zealously defends them in court. Put his expertise to work for you and call him for a free consultation today.