In March, Michael Lohan (father of actress Lindsay Lohan) was arrested for Corporal Injury to Cohabitant, False Imprisonment and Preventing the Report of Victimization following a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend Kate Major. Lohan was subsequently charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Corporal Injury to a Cohabitant, a misdemeanor. Earlier this week, prosecutors announced that they are dismissing the charges because they were unable to locate the alleged victim for trial.
Prior to 2004, prosecutors in Las Vegas routinely prosecuted Battery Domestic Violence cases based exclusively on the testimony of police officers. Police were allowed to testify not only to their own observations, but also to statements made to them by the accuser, if the statements were made while the accuser still in an excited state following the altercation.
However, in 2004, the United States Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. (2004). In
Crawford, the Supreme Court observed that the United States Constitution affords criminal defendants the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against them. The Supreme Court stated that allowing a police officer to testify regarding statements that the alleged victim made to him, without also requiring the alleged victim to testify, deprived the defendant of the opportunity to confront and cross-examine their accuser.
Since Crawford, prosecutors must produce the alleged victim in order to prevail on the vast majority of Battery Domestic Violence cases. The only exceptions would be where the offense can be established by other evidence, such pictures of an attack, a video or an eyewitness. Because many alleged victims do not cooperate with the prosecution or appear in court, the
Crawford decision makes Domestic Violence cases much harder for the prosecutor to prove.
If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged with Battery Domestic Violence, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Domestic Violence Defense Attorney right away. A Las Vegas Domestic Violence Lawyer can assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, identifying appropriate defenses and providing you with the most aggressive defense litigation strategy possible to protect your legal rights.