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A Criminal Defense Attorney's View
Who on the above list benefits if no arrest and charge are made?
Ultimately, this begs the big question:
Is the government interested in the quality or the quantity of domestic abuse cases?
Silverstorn, "The Truth About Child Protective Services":
A critic of the Family Violence Industry, John Flaherty, co-chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition states:
'This industry is an octopus. It's got its tentacles in more and more parts of everyday life. It's a political movement . . . This industry doesn't answer to anybody. They're in it mainly for the money . . . The industry's problems may be about to increase, because it is becoming clear through scientific research that the whole premise of the movement and the industry it spawned - - that "domestic violence" means bad men hitting helpless, innocent women -- is just plain wrong.'
John Maguire, Massachusetts News,
" The Booming Domestic Violence Industry"
The Family Advocacy Centers will operate with the group mindset of most bureaucracies. " The agencies' main objective is self preservation: to perpetuate the bureaucracy and to expand the bureaucracy." (Silverstorn, "The Truth About Child Protective Services,").
The method for doing this is by seeking and making cases.
How will the advocacy centers get the number of cases they need? A philosophical change at the most basic level was needed. In order to make the numbers work, the definition of family violence had to be expanded to extend beyond battering spouses and include normal family arguments. In essence, the system adapted by accepting each family violence "911" call as a potential customer.
'A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. It doesn't matter that you're innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you've confessed your sins - even if you've none to confess. And you're not cured until they say you're cured - even if you were never sick to begin with.'
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., quoting Glenn Sacks,
"What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado Law"
"Zero Tolerance" and "No-Drop" policies create a constant stream of what the advocacy centers need most: bodies. More arrests result in more persons charged. The assembly line then takes over, and the unwitting family becomes passed on from one self-interested protector to another. Post arrest the victim is "assisted" by the police detective, "forensic interviewer," and the prosecutor. Incriminatory statements secured, the prosecution team will temporarily lose interest until trial.
At this point, the victim support groups take over, advocates are appointed, and shelters are called, counselors engaged. The list goes on until the family is emotionally, psychologically, and financially drained. And if it all goes perfectly for the team: conviction.
In essence, a great food chain is created, in which many professionals, counselors, physicians, and vendors, are feeding off persons arrested and charged under "Zero Tolerance" programs. Family advocacy salesmen freely admit the concept is a direct springboard from the child advocacy centers.
An Allen Texas Police Investigator states: "The children's advocacy center works very well in Collin County . . . crime victims groups in Collin County work well together. So having a family justice center would encourage that more."
Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition,
March 14, 2004, "Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence").
The financial rewards for Family Advocacy Centers will not be dependent upon criminal convictions. The funding will be given to the centers regardless of the outcome of the case, or truth of the allegations. With absolute immunity from liability, the Family Advocacy Center team members have no fear of any repercussions for their actions.
The majority of District Attorney's Offices in North Texas follow the national model of having specialized family violence units, where assigned prosecutors and investigators handle only domestic violence cases. Many North Texas law enforcement agencies have specialty family violence teams. All of the law enforcement agencies affiliated with an advocacy center assign officers to the center as part of a domestic violence task force.
The creation of specialized domestic violence prosecution teams has but one goal: conviction of a suspected perpetrator. The advocacy team collaboration of prosecutors, police, social workers, medical professionals, counselors and others are a team in every sense of the word. They share more than a central location. They share belief systems, ideologies, strategies, and a game plan. That game plan is to convict any person charged with domestic violence. The belief system is one that every person charged with domestic violence is a batterer. The belief system also finds every victim of domestic violence to be a battered spouse.
The belief system incorporates extreme arrogance. The family violence team knows better than anyone, particularly the family itself, of what is best for them. The team works together in secret, planning and mapping out strategy to forge the future of the family, whether it is in their best interests or not.
'Unfortunately, it won't really matter what happened that night or how capable she (alleged victim) is of deciding for herself whether or not she needs protection the court and the prosecutors can still say no. They can stand by and tell that victim that she doesn't really know what's best for her and her family. She is a victim - how can she possibly know what's best after what she's been through?
Many of these people know exactly what is best for them and their families, and yet are revictimized by the powerlessness imposed upon them by a system of people who know better.'
Janeice T. Martin, Attorney at Law, Naples (Florida)
Daily News, November 3, 2002,
"Domestic Violence - The Other Side of Zero Tolerance"
The above statement is not an aberration. It is common to find family service plans forced upon alleged victims by advocacy center social workers to include conditions, which require:
Assisting in prosecution means the victim must testify against the defendant. It also often means the victim must pursue divorce proceedings against the defendant. If the victim does not want to divorce or testify, advocates for failing to protect her children will eventually threaten her. Then the protectors will threaten removal of the children unless the victim pledges allegiance to the team and assists in convicting the defendant.
'Women are coerced into accepting their cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation, and the fear of losing their children . . . Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children, or DSS will charge the women with neglect.'
Family Advocacy Centers are a relatively new innovation in the "War on Domestic Violence." They are quickly following in the footsteps of Child Advocacy Centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the "Family Advocacy Center" in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers, "Build It - They Will Come." Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center show:
Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence "contacts" in which 59% have received "services." Translated, this figure means roughly 9700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.
How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.
The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving "Family Advocacy Center" describes its goal to "bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault." To no one's surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a "Zero Tolerance" stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department website does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.
According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President's Family Justice Center Initiative;
Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney's office indicated the county "would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer."
Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition,
March 14, 2004, "Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence".
North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are primarily the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a family violence court. The court's very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: "family violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable rate."
The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence "contacts" or "services provided" rather than domestic violence convictions. By using "contacts" as the statistical benchmark, family violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a "case." These "cases" then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant money.
Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.
The legislature responded with open arms.
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