Court Security

Ex-Marine Gets 15 Years for Attacking Wife During Hearing in Judge's Chambers


A man who fractured his wife’s nose and broke her jaw during an attack last year in a Florida judge’s chambers was sentenced Friday to a maximum 15-year prison term after pleading no contest to an aggravated battery charge.

Paul Henry Gonzalez Jr., 29, apologized profusely and sought, with his attorney, to persuade Judge Jeffrey Cohen to sentence him to four years in the Broward County case. However, the judge was apparently unmoved by the apology and defense psychiatric testimony that the ex-Marine suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder as well as a personality disorder. He called the attack an outrage, according to CBS Miami, the New York Daily News and the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The judge also apologized to Gonzalez’s ex-wife. Cohen told Catherine Scott that he couldn’t understand why a restraining order had been denied to her by a family court judge prior to the hearing last year and why the hearing was conducted without an armed sheriff’s deputy, calling the lack of security, under the circumstances, inexcusable, CBS Miami reported.

Scott had testified that she remains on edge to this day, fearful that she is being watched, and said she will never feel safe from Gonzalez no matter how long he is behind bars. Immediately after the attack, she said, other parents at her daycare center complained that she was frightening their children by picking up her own children there, because of the condition of her face.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer Steps In to Help Woman Attacked During Divorce Hearing in Judge’s Chambers”

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