Yesterday I was at Two Bridges Regional Jail serving as lawyer of the day for in-custody arraignments. My role as lawyer of the day is, in part, to try to get people bailed after they get arrested.

One guy was there because he got arrested for DV Assault and was released with bail conditions not to contact the alleged victim. When the police looked into the situation properly, they realized the guy was not the aggressor, but he was the victim. His wife had stabbed him with a knife (actually, stabbed and broke the knife while stabbing him) but the police arrested the wrong person. Because it seems they often arrest the guy regardless of what the facts may be.

Anyway, when the police finally went to arrest the wife, they found the two of them together. So they arrested her and they arrested him for violating his bail conditions by having contact with the wife.

The conditions of his bail were intended to protect the alleged victim from him. But when the State found out that he was the victim and she was the attacker, the prosecutor still wanted him in jail for violating bail conditions. The fact that he was wrongly arrested in the first place made no difference to the prosecutor. He was charged with FELONY violation of conditions of release. The police did a lazy job and an innocent guy ends up with a felony charge.

The argument I made to the judge, successfully, was that holding him in jail was literarily adding insult to injury. The prosecutor didn't buy my argument, but fortunately the prosecutor is not the judge.


AuthorJonathan Handelman