ABA Journal


Court Security

Video captures courtroom attack of woman seeking protection order

Jan 29, 2013, 11:30 pm CST


Sortcut to the end of the hearing. I'll bet she got that order, and the judge didn't have to read all those papers.

By B. McLeod on 2013 01 30, 1:36 am CST

1) Why was there no bailiff in there?

2) Why is a "domestic violence courtroom" smaller than most conference rooms, placing both parties within a few feet of each other?

By NoleLaw on 2013 01 30, 1:22 pm CST

Misleading story. Sounds like the bailiff WAS present during the hearing.

By UncleJed on 2013 01 30, 3:32 pm CST

There are two sides to every story. I wonder what this girl did, that he became so enraged?

By anonymous on 2013 01 30, 3:44 pm CST

WOW. It was her fault for getting beat up #4? In a court room? NEVER justified.

By Name removed by moderator on 2013 01 30, 4:03 pm CST

@4: Given the substance of your comment, I can understand by your username is "anonymous".

By EsqinAustin on 2013 01 30, 4:03 pm CST

@4 has a point: if she had just always done exactly what he wanted her to do when he wanted her to do it, this wouldn't have happened. I don't know why she is blaming him for her lack of total obedience. Though the Court is to blame a little, along with her friends, and other who have no business doing it, for encouraging her to get uppity.

By Simple answer on 2013 01 30, 4:22 pm CST

Please tell me the second bailiff didn't enter the room and put his service piece or taser on the table, unprotected?

As for "Anonymous" and "Simple Answer" clearly you are one in the same, simpleton. Hopefully no one feeds this troll.

By Take a Second Look on 2013 01 30, 5:15 pm CST

There were 2 people posting as "anon" - I was #4, and it was my only post. You shouldn't make assumptions. Further, I interpreted "simple answer"'s post as sarcasm and irony. He/she was not agreeing with me at all. I guess that went over your head.

By anonymous on 2013 01 30, 5:56 pm CST

"There are two sides to every story. I wonder what this girl did, that he became so enraged?"

Dude shoved his own granny. You sure this is the DV suspect you want to defend?

By Violette on 2013 01 30, 10:03 pm CST

Where I practice the bailiff is _always_in the (family) court room if the judge leaves and most days there will be a sherif's deputy there for the duration as well.

By Fred on 2013 01 31, 2:42 am CST

When is the legal system going to being screening for psychopathy? It is well known to be the most violent and controlling of all the personality disorders and also known for fooling Judges and even psychological experts.

By Madmacks on 2013 01 31, 6:47 am CST

There is screening now. Where do you think Managing Partners come from?

By B. McLeod on 2013 01 31, 7:02 am CST

@4: Seriously? That's your take on the story? I can answer that for you without knowing anything else about this case except what I read above. She didn't do anything to warrant being assaulted. Good grief.

By John E. on 2013 01 31, 7:44 pm CST

@3: If you watch the video you'll see that that both the judge and the bailiff left and that was when the assault occurred. That should NEVER happen in a hearing like this. Really inexcusable. I'm appalled at both the conduct of that man and of how the court handled the hearing.

By John E. on 2013 01 31, 7:51 pm CST

First, let's be clear: im not defending this gut. He will be prosecuted for the assault and that's fine. But I get the feeling that no one on this board has a clue about how relationships work in Family Court/DV. Newsflash: the women aren't saints. Often times they purposely inflame the men to get them to lash out. They threaten never to let them see their kids again. They taunt them by talking about other guys they're seeing, etc. In short, they're oftentimes extremely manipulative because they know that the Ivory Tower/PC crowd (aka all of you) will automatically side with the woman.

That's not me trolling, that's called reality. So my question was simply: I wonder what she did to push his buttons?

By anonymous on 2013 01 31, 8:03 pm CST

@16 As someone who has done divorce and has done hearing exactly like this I have a pretty good idea how relationships work in Family Court. You're right: woman can be just as big as jerks as men. I've had client that I've personally disliked, that I've identified as being extremely manipulative, and I've recognize that a lot of the problems that exist in the relationship is related to how screwed up both parties are. But that's irrelevant, right? I think we can all agree that NO ONE deserves to be assault in Court, and it sounds like to me you basically agree with that.

She's not responsible for how he chooses to respond to things she says in court. Her job isn't to ensure she won't say something to make him angry in court. Her job is to answer the courts questions truthfully and if what she says make the respondent angry, that's just too bad. He doesn't get to jump up and smack her. I think that's kind of the point folks are making. Your call to reality really comes of as more "what did she say to make him do this" and the response to that she didn't MAKE him do anything.

By John E. on 2013 01 31, 8:18 pm CST

I wonder if he was still arguing, from the floor, that she didn't need the protection order.

By B. McLeod on 2013 02 01, 12:22 am CST

Susan Tucker's comment "it would have happened anyway if the judge was present " highlights the pathetic attitude toward DV victims - so clear that the Judge & Baliff should never leave a DV victim alone in that small court room - shame on Tucker and the Judge - simple common sense dictates some level of security here

By Ellen on 2013 02 01, 11:23 am CST

The judge and the bailiff were not in the room at the time. How is it possible that someone who is seeking an order of protection against another person, is sitting in the room with the agressor and there is no bailiff in the room?

By HR Manager on 2013 02 01, 12:44 pm CST

Motion granted.

By Zach on 2013 02 01, 1:39 pm CST

@8 (Second Look) - I was under the distinct impression that #7 (Simple Answer) was being sarcastic.

@4/9/16 (anonymous) - I think the problem is that -- at least among this crowd -- there's no provocation that justifies an actual assault in court; first (this is an assumption) the majority of people reading this are pretty good at "using their words," and have been very strongly socialized in that direction, and second there's the problem of doing it in court during a DV hearing that smacks of a total lack of self-control (and a nice soupcon of stupidity) on the part of the assailant.

Your comment seemed to imply that there could have been some provocation that would have justified the behavior, and people are responding to that -- or at least, that's what piqued my ire when I read your comment at 4. Your comment at 16 made it a little better, but I still think you're missing the point.

That said...

@17(John E) - I recognize that "her job is to answer questions truthfully," etc... but that's clearly not what happened here. There was no question placed to her by any judge or lawyer. Grandma or Assailant said something... and the young lady said something back, and that something was (apparently) full-on nuclear.

The very nature of the relationships that bring people to family court is such that each party is well armed with incredibly powerful and deeply hurtful information about the other. For whatever reason, she decided to push that button.

Now, yes, it's clearly his responsibility to act like a grown-up and deal with that word-bomb without running around the table and getting all bitch-slappy up in the place.... but at the same time there are certainly situations where acting like a grown-up can be a challenge of heroic proportions, and this assailant wasn't up to the challenge.

By Text has no intonation on 2013 02 01, 2:12 pm CST

Comment removed by moderator.

By DirkJohanson on 2013 02 01, 2:31 pm CST

Most American families breakup. Once the courts and the government are invited into the family and the bedroom, it is all over. Once the TRO is filed, child support is demanded, and criminalization process of the father or mother begins, it is all over.

There really is nothing to save. Eventually, one parent will never see the kid(s) again. The children grow up to repeat the cycle. So, she did nothing wrong in the courtroom. He had no right to attack her and the motion was granted. The judge had no business doing computer research of her own "to see if the respondent had any pending arrest warrants" -- Ahhhh .. let's think about that! It is all a mess. What is a judge doing performing the executive branch's role? If we had our judges and lawyers wear wigs, perhaps we would have no fights inside the courtrooms.

Over 50% of all men incarcerated get there via the US family courts (child support, etc.). Then they start revisiting through the proper criminal courts. What are we going to do with dead beat dads? They are good business. Philadelphia recovers $750 per night per person per incarceration, most of it from the Feds. This represents the real cost of the entire process per day. We spend money on courts and guns and prisons. In Europe, there is no such intimacy between family courts, child support and prisons. They spend their money on education, health and welfare. They call us savages. They are not too far off. Oh, I know, this is the greatest country, let's not talk. In Philadelphia's Family Court there is a popular male black judge (very popular with single moms as he is quick handed to imprison other black men). Great for an elected judiciary as these moms keep voting for him. As he says black women are organized where as black men are deadbeats who belong in jail for contempt, for failure to pay child support. Imprisonment is a monthly affair or bi-monthly affair. They have no right to counsel in his courtroom. The judge and the prosecutor share the same room. The courtroom is their joint office. They are best buddies. They share the same computer terminal to check for arrest warrants and parking tickets. None of the courtrooms are open to the public on any matter because the building is termed "family court". When you come into the building you feel as though you are entering a prison. At entry you are asked to waive your right to leave the building. You actually must sign to this effect in order to get to your courtroom. It is a zoo.

By Philadelphia Courts on 2013 02 01, 2:58 pm CST

BFD. Yes, this guaranteed she rec'd the protection order, but it will mean nothing. He will be out on bail in 24 hours and/or will serve little or no time. A man willing to attack her in a courtroom will not be bothered by a protection order. I fear we will be reading about a fatality involving these two.

By notime on 2013 02 01, 3:05 pm CST

@22 "and the young lady said something back, and that something was (apparently) full-on nuclear."

How is it apparent that what she said was full-in nuclear? Sounds like you have a deluded perspective about the mind of a domestic abuser who is being rejected.

The most dangerous time for an abused woman is when she leaves her abuser. She is at an increased risk to be beaten badly or killed after she leaves than if she had stayed. So, no, it's not apparent at all that what she said was "full-on nuclear".

People who resort to this kind of behavior are reacting to things in their own head moreso than they are to the object of their violent outburst. Nothing she could have said warranted his behavior. PERIOD.

By Really? on 2013 02 01, 3:49 pm CST

As the recipient of domestic violence I can tell you that the law PROTECTS the accused and has little disregard for the fear of the victim. For those anonymous people responding, the abuser fills the head of the victim with nothing short of intimidation and brainwashing. When attempting protection from the court, the FEAR of the victim, either stated or implied is not recognized as cause by a judge. It was suggested that I appear by video conference, or allowed to be in a separate room in the court house. All was denied and I was made to be in the same room with the abuser.

By Julie Tobey on 2013 02 01, 4:05 pm CST

Too bad the victim didn't have Chuck Norris present as her attorney.

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2013 02 01, 6:56 pm CST

Typical stupid bully and a coward on top of that. I'd beat the crap out of him if I were his girlfriend. Girls, choose wisely whom you pick. Some guys are like wet toilet paper - they tend to stick to you and not let go.

By Anna Gray on 2013 02 01, 7:33 pm CST

Obviously the ex-boyfriend is in the wrong for jumping up and trying to punch his ex-girlfriend, but I'm appalled at how many commenters here are completely blind to what anonymous is trying to say. What the ex-boyfriend did was inexcusable, but there's a pretty good chance that what the ex-girlfriend did was also inexcusable. Just because a male loses his temper and physically abuses a female is no reason to excuse the verbal/emotional abuse that she may have been dishing out. Obviously, no one deserves physical abuse, but no on deserves verbal/emotional abuse either. I experienced a lot of both of those when I was growing up, and I'm still undecided as to which is more damaging to a human being -- but the answer to the question isn't really all that important, because both of them are extremely destructive.

From the many domestic violence cases I've seen firsthand, the female has often been guilty of horrible verbal/emotional abuse, but once she elicits physical abuse in response, everyone treats her as a completely innocent victim and the male as a terrible monster. Very few people can see past their emotional bias against males physically abusing females to see a clear picture of what is really going on, and in many cases what's really going on is two people with terrible relationship skills are very effectively abusing each other in the most vicious ways they know how. We're not doing either of them a favor by jumping on the gender-bias bandwagon and telling the woman that she's a completely innocent victim and that the man is 100% in the wrong. In some very extreme cases that may be accurate, but in the vast majority of cases the woman needs serious help with learning how to create and nurture healthy relationships, and telling her that she's a completely innocent victim only reinforces her flaws/faults instead of helping her recognize them and get help to overcome them.

I realize that many of you are inclined to pooh-pooh what I'm saying about gender-bias blindness, but how many of you can seriously argue that if the ex-girlfriend had been the one to jump up and start chasing and beating on the ex-boyfriend, this board wouldn't be chalk full of people excusing her actions because the guy obviously must have said or done something to deserve it?

By A dose of reality on 2013 02 01, 10:27 pm CST

Anonymous @16: Your 'simple' question "I wonder what she did to push his buttons?" and your earlier comment @4 saying "I wonder what this girl did, that he became so enraged?" completely belie your claim to not be "defend[ing] this gu[y]". If not defending this guy, your question would have been "I wonder IF she did anything to push his buttons" and your comment would have been "I wonder IF this girl did" something to enrage him. Face it, you're not being neutral. You've already decided who's to blame.

By fnlawyer on 2013 02 01, 10:51 pm CST

Words, no matter how ugly, are never justification for a physical attack. End of story.

By Laura on 2013 02 04, 5:59 pm CST

nd do we really believe that words never justify an attack?

What about, 'I just raped your 5 year old daughter but no one will ever bellieve you or her because you're both complete trash?"

I think i might be able to beat that case and have a jury find that attack was justified...

By defensive lawyer on 2013 02 04, 6:56 pm CST

Maybe not justification.

but what about mitigation?

should his sentence be the same if she said "Please stop following me to work every day" or if she said, "tiny penis boy, I had sex with your brother and felt something for the first time in'll never see your daughter again when I tell the judge my pack of lies..."

By defensive lawyer on 2013 02 04, 6:59 pm CST

Nobody knows more than I do how it feels to be blamed for something by people who were not even there to witness what happened. On a serious note, though, the bottom line is that nobody knows what happened in that courtroom, and the fact that everyone has commented on this occurrence as though they have even an inkling shows that you are biased one way or the other.

By Mrs. O'Leary's Cow on 2013 02 06, 12:29 am CST

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