Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bits and pieces

A brief update addressing a few things and then, out of the kindness of my heart, a little gift.

First, a reader asks about the market for ADAs in Texas. Interestingly enough (right?!) I talked a little about this once before, not long ago. Here's the post, entitled "Who gets to be an ADA."

Next, another reader ask about "Affidavits of Non-Prosecution." These are sworn statements filled out by, usually, the victims of domestic violence who do not wish to see the person charged with assaulting them prosecuted. (As the name of the affidavit suggests...)
The bigger question is what we do with them and the answer is, "It depends." It depends on the defendant's criminal history, the severity of the assault, and other incident-specific factors. Sometimes they lead to reduced charges or dismissal, and sometimes they don't. We do try to make sure that whoever filled one out did not do so under pressure of any sort, and we also try and make sure they get counseling, separate and apart from what we do with the prosecution.

Third, and relatedly, the question: "As a victim of domestic violence can you request the defendant get court ordered counseling?" Short answer: kind of. The way it would likely work is that counseling is ordered as part of a probation plea. And here, we always get input from victims and take into account their wishes. Now, if it's the defendant's 50th vicious attack and he's been through counseling etc, he might face a prison sentence, and any counseling would be up to the prison folks.

Finally, the gift, in this case a recommendation. Oh, I know it's Thursday which usually means a book rec. But this time it's music. They are called Band of Horses. Fabulous. You can hear their music on their website, and I challenge you: go there and listen to Factory, the first track. If that doesn't blow your socks off and have you listening to the rest, I'm a monkey's uncle.


  1. Does it matter to you (or to your office) whether an ANP is produced by the defendant's attorney, or whether an alleged victim shows up at your office and says he or she desires to execute one?

    In DV cases I'm always very reluctant even to meet with the alleged victim unless another disinterested person is present or I have the AV's permission to record the entire contact. And if I were a prosecutor I'm not sure I'd give much credence to an ANP that materializes out of thin air...if a person is capable of beating another member of their household, then almost by definition they're capable of brow-beating them into signing an ANP. Your thoughts?

  2. Don: I agree. In the end, I think, it doesn't matter who presents it because I, for one, double check them. In other words, if it comes from a defense attorney I make sure we contact the victim directly and verify it was not coerced.
    Of course, a defense lawyer of your stature comes in with some credibility but I think we'd be remiss if we didn't double-check for precisely the reasons you state.

  3. Band of Horses are fantastic. I've been listening to 'Dilly' on a daily basis.

  4. This topic is extraordinarily complex since it often involves an intimate physical and economic relationship between defendant and victim. It's worth noting that one of the positive features of the U.S. system--as opposed to most other systems in the world--is that the case is brought by the government and NOT by the victim. That, at least in theory, means that the victim doesn't get to control the prosecution. This, again theoretically, allows for less manipulation and control by the abuser.

  5. Diane: Yay! Glad you like them. If it was me that put you on to them, they owe me big time!

    Kent: Yes sir, you are correct in all that you say. We are ever observant for manipulation by the abuser, and of course such interference in a case can be a crime all by itself.


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