And Justice for All
(The following is a true story, but the names have been changed to protect me.)
None of George’s friends have ever seen George angry. You could not ask for a more laid-back guy. George is also kind and generous and, therefore, easily taken advantage of.
And on the subject of taking advantage, there is Martha. Martha is violent and manipulative.
George and Martha lived together at George’s place. George wanted Martha to leave once they started having serious problems. But Martha had no place to go, and George allowed her to stay despite her violent tendencies.
George called the police many times because of violent arguments with Martha. The police offered to remove Martha from George’s place, but George felt sorry for her because she had no place to go. He allowed her to stay. Sometimes she would leave for a period of time, but she would always return.
During a time Martha was living elsewhere, someone spray-painted George’s car and flattened the tires. George knew it was Martha, but he could not prove it. He called the police.
While the police investigated the damage to George’s car, Martha claimed George had assaulted her months before while they were still living together. The police had attended at the time of the alleged assault, but Martha said that she was too afraid to say anything. Now that the police asked her questions about the damage to George’s car, she said that he assaulted her. She also reported two other assaults by George that occurred in the past
Police have no discretion with domestic assault and arrested George. He co-operated with the police and gave police a statement. When asked, George told police that he had punched her leg in one of the assaults, but denied the other two. In hs nervousness, George did not explain why he had punched Martha in the leg. The police did not ask why. They only asked, “Did you do it?” George answered, “Yes.” When police asked about the other two assaults, George said that she was making them up. Police charged George with 3 counts of assault. He spent the night in jail before being released on bail.
One of the conditions of George’s bail was that he stay away from Martha. Martha had to leave George’s apartment and live somewhere else. So George was finally rid of Martha
Someone damaged George’s car several times while George was out on bail. No one was ever charged.
Here is why George punched Martha’s leg:
George and Martha were in bed and started arguing. George did not want to argue and turned his back to Martha. Martha started kicking George’s back. George got up out of bed to go sleep on the couch. Martha pulled him back on the bed and grabbed his testicles. George punched Martha’s leg, and she let go of his testicles.
George called 911. He had to barricade himself in the bathroom to keep Martha from assaulting him. The 911 operator could hear Martha screaming and pounding on the door.
After being charged, George requested a copy of the 911 call. Police sent George the wrong incident. George told his lawyer and his lawyer requested the information. For unknown reasons George’s lawyer never received the information, or received the information and never used it. George’s lawyer suggested that George plead guilty and not risk being convicted of all three counts of assault after a trial.
On May 31, George pled guilty to one count of assault. It was the one where he had punched Martha’s leg. George’s lawyer tried to get the Crown (prosecuting attorney) to agree to withdraw the charge, and have George enter into a Peace Bond. Even Martha was agreeable to have George enter a Peace Bond. But the Crown was a crusader and was not about to allow a violent man, who had assaulted a defenseless woman, get off so easily. The Crown had to protect society from this abusive man to make sure that he never abused anyone again. The Crown would not agree to an Absolute Discharge, but did agree to a Conditional Discharge with the following conditions:
- Probation for 1 year
- Stay away from Martha and not communicate with her in any way.
- Not to own or possess any weapons
- Complete an anger management course
Oh, the irony! George taking an anger management course? That’s like having Martin Luther King take a course on race relations! One of George’s friends said, upon hearing how he had to take an anger management course, “What? Is George going to teach the course?”
Plea bargains save time and money by avoiding trials. George just wanted to get it all over and save time and money. He agreed to plead guilty. Once again the judicial system worked, and there was justice for all.
I was with George in court for moral support. After court, we went back to George’s place and watched … And Justice for All, the 1979 film starring Al Pacino. George agreed that this movie accurately portrays the judicial system.