Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

green beer.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I am well versed in the issues of Domestic Violence and its effects on Jacksonville families. Domestic Violence seems to pop up in nearly 50% of my cases; whether the case be one of divorce, paternity, termination of parental rights or modification. The possibility of domestic violence being an issue is always on my mind.

I can’t help but wonder with St. Patrick’s Day coming up and the large amount of beer flowing, would Jacksonville domestic violence and or alcohol related crime rates experience an increase. With this question on my mind I decided to look into the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence.I stumbled upon the Stop Violence Against Women website and read a page titled, “Myths About Alcohol and Domestic Violence.”

The page read, “The relationship between alcohol or other substance abuse and domestic violence is complicated. A prevailing myth about domestic violence is that alcohol and drugs are the major causes of domestic abuse. In reality, some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent. Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser’s use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent “because” drinking causes him to lose control of his temper.”

woman gun.jpgJacksonville has long been regarded as the most violent city in Florida, even beating out Miami. In 2010, Duval County had a total of 7,798 domestic violence offenses. Thus, it is not surprising that New4Jax.com is reporting that more women are choosing to arm them selves for self defense purposes.

News4Jax’s January 4th article titled, “More Women Packing Heat,” states that, “there are between 15 and 20 million ladies packing heat these days and target shooting is one of the fastest-growing female sports.” Also, gun expert Bill Martin has had such a large demand from women he has had to create all-female concealed weapon permit classes.

It looks as though more and more women are taking precautions to defend themselves from a potential attack.

WILKES, DEVIN JUAN.jpgYou think you have heard it all and then you read an article titled, “Jacksonville Police: Mom Used Baby As Shield When Boyfriend Attacked Her.” How could this be? Well, allegedly, on December 9, 2011, Devin Juan Wilkes and his girlfriend and mother of his child, Sheena Hunter, got into an argument over their relationship. The argument quickly became violent.

Reportedly, to protect herself from being beaten and stabbed Hunter grabbed their son and held him between herself and Wilkes. Wilkes then grabbed their son and threw him face first on the ground. The violence ensued with Wilkes choking Hunter and then fleeing with her car.

On January 2, 2012, authorities went to the residence, Hunter answered the door and informed the authorities she had not seen Wilkes since the alleged incident. However, after allowing the authorities in to search her residence, Wilkes was quickly located hiding in a closet. Wilkes was arrested and has been charged with numerous crimes including; aggravated assault, domestic battery and child abuse.

Virginia-Ann-Thunberg.jpgOn January 3rd News4Jax.com reported that an Orange Park woman shot her husband and mother-in-law during what authorities believe was a domestic argument regarding a possible divorce.

Virginia Ann Thunberg is now facing criminal charges in the shootings of her husband, Wayne Thunberg, and her mother-in-law, Virginia Petri. Allegedly, Thunberg shot her husband and mother-in-law once each. Luckily, both victims were able to walk out of the home and receive immediate medical attention. Both victims are expected to be ok.

Sadly, five children between the ages of 3 and 15, all of whom belong to Thunberg, are believed to have been in the home during the shooting.

gun ban.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I have worked on numerous domestic violence injunction cases. Through my work on these cases I have come to understand there are many ramifications stemming from injunctions for domestic violence that people are simply and completely unaware of.

Specifically, not even one of my past clients was aware of the effect domestic violence injunctions had on their gun rights. None of these clients had ever heard of the Lautenberg Amendment. Well, I’m going to take this opportunity to give a very brief rundown on this very topic.

The Lautenberg Amendment, which is often referred to as the Domestic Violence Amendment to the Gun Control Act, is codified at 18 U.S. Code §922(g)(9). In summary this act bans the ownership and use of firearms or ammunition by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor where the underlying charge is that of domestic violence, or who are under an injunction for domestic abuse. This act also makes in unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons.

dv ribbon.jpgIt is pretty well known that the recession hurts people in their wallets, but what about their relationships? In an article titled, “Marriage Economy, I Couldn’t Afford To Get Divorced,” on www.npr.org, the author discusses unemployment and it’s effects on domestic violence.

Specifically, the article states, “Philip Cohen, as sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that multiple studies have found that the marital distress that comes from money problems and feeling trapped is strongly associated with an increased risk of domestic violence.” “One study, for example, looked at women who showed up in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that were both intentional and non-intentional.” “When you compare the women who were injured intentionally and women who were treated for other conditions in the emergency departments, they found that those who were injured intentionally were more likely to have experienced recent unemployment in their families.”

As a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer I often see the correlation between money troubles and domestic violence. If you find yourself or someone you know in the unfortunate position of being a victim of domestic violence contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.

gun ammo.jpgIn 1996 the 104th United States Congress enacted an act commonly referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment. The Lautenberg Amendment bans shipment, transport, ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or who are under a restraining order (injunction) for domestic abuse.

As a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I see, all too often, individuals going into injunction court unrepresented because they feel as though an injunction is not a “big deal.” These individuals usually consent to having an injunction placed against them or unsuccessfully argue to a Judge why placement of an injunction would be improper. These individuals do not consider the potentially serious ramifications.

Because of the Lautenberg Amendment if an individual is under a current injunction and is found to possess a firearm or ammunition they can be charged with a federal offense. Further, because of the Lautenberg Amendment, any individual who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge can no longer own a firearm or ammunition. Certain exceptions may apply, such as; if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, pardoned or the individual has had their gun rights restored.

gun ban.jpgDomestic violence is a serious issue, and you should speak with the proper authorities if you have been a victim. But you may need to go a step further and have the court grant a protective order or an injunction preventing the other person from contacting you. This allows the police to arrest the person if he or she violates certain provisions of the court order.

These court orders have more implications than many people realize, and they can be very costly for those who need to use a firearm in their work. In fact, current federal law prevents the ownership of guns or ammunition by individuals who are under a restraining order for domestic abuse.

Further, the act makes it illegal to knowingly sell or give a gun or ammunition to people under a restraining order for domestic violence. So, if you own a gun or ammunition but have a protective order filed against you, you are likely in possession of that gun illegally.

Thumbnail image for Judge Adams.jpgA few days ago I wrote about the Texas Family Law Judge, William Adams, being caught on video beating his daughter. The video showed Judge Adams beating his then 16 year-old daughter, Hilary Adams with a belt. The video has caught the attention of news agencies across the country and has outrage the public at large.

Since the video has been released Judge Adams has been served with a restraining order that temporarily terminates his visitation with his younger daughter. Judge Adam’s, ex-wife, Hallie Adams is reported to fear that her daughter is not safe spending time with Judge Adams right now.

A hearing has been scheduled for November 21st to determine whether Judge Adam’s visitation with his younger daughter should continue to be denied or should be supervised by a third party.

News stations out of San Diego, California are reporting on an interesting case that caught my attention. Crystal Harris, a Carlsbad, California resident was raped by Shawn Harris, her now ex-husband, yet the Judge in their divorce case awarded Shawn $1,000 a month in spousal support (Alimony). So when Shawn gets out of prison for the felony he committed against Crystal, Crystal will have to pay him $1,000 a month!

How could this have happened? Well, under California law, “there is only one way Crystal Harris could have avoided paying her ex-husband: if he had tried to kill her”. After presiding over the parties’ divorce, Family Law Court Judge Gregory Pollock stated, “I can’t look at a 12-year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making over $11,000 and say no spousal support, that would be an abuse of discretion.”

San Diego County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis is currently petitioning California lawmakers to address and change this loophole so something like this doesn’t happen again.

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