No one should ever downplay the seriousness of domestic violence. However, a wrongful conviction for domestic violence can lead to irreversible damage to a person’s reputation that will likely have lasting consequences in all areas of that person’s life.
An out-of-state politician had been charged with domestic violence, but he has just recently been acquitted of all charges. Though it is disputed, the charges of domestic violence may ultimately have led to a number of ethics complaints that forced this politician to resign from office.
Obviously, we will never know all that occurred that resulted in the filing of such charges. A former girlfriend of the politician that originally filed the charges later recanted her story. It appears that the accuser went so far as to post her allegations on twitter as well before claiming to have made the story up.
It is perfectly possible that the accuser was pressured to change her story. However, with what little information we have, this is impossible to know for certain. What is for certain is that prosecution cannot base charges of domestic violence upon a story that is continually changing. Evidence presented against those criminally charged must be accurate and reliable.
Whatever motivates an individual to file a false report, this particular incident verifies that false reports of domestic violence do happen. Individuals arrested in Colorado because of such charges brought against them have every right to be represented by an attorney in a criminal matter, and to critique every piece of evidence that is brought against them. This would include the cross-examination of the individual charging that such an assault has occurred.
Legitimate claims of domestic violence do occur. However, false accusations harm not just the person accused, it also will bring into question legitimate claims of domestic violence as well.
Source: Phoenix New Times, “Daniel Patterson Free From Domestic-Violence Charges, Which Were Part of Ethics Complaint,” by Matthew Hendley, August 23, 2012