Why is the district attorney attempting to get medical records

  • When a district attorney has an uncooperative victim of domestic violence, the prosecutor might still make the case with testimony from a medical professional who treated the victim for his or her injuries arising from the dispute. Declarations made to a medical professional who offered treatment are an established exception to the hearsay guideline. The prosecutor may obtain the appropriate medical records by a signed release from the victim or by investigative subpoena. The defense can aim to keep the declarations to medical workers from proof by convincing the high court that the information of the attack were irrelevant to the treatment of the injuries.

    Why is the district attorney asking the victim for a sworn declaration?

    Prior statement under oath is acceptable when an alleged victim later on ends up being unavailable due to an assertion of a testimonial benefit. A district attorney who is concerned that a witness may become uncooperative might consider using a court reporter to make a record of any testament during the early stages of the prosecution, such as bond hearings or preliminary hearings. A district attorney can then refer back to the prior statement to keep the testimony consistent.

    Do specialists affirm in domestic assault cases?

    While a professional may not "vouch' for the truthfulness of a specific witness, the modern trend permits domestic violence experts to mention that certain behavior is not unusual for domestic abuse victims. Some of these habits include failure to leave a violent relationship, a hold-up in reporting an attack, or a recantation or rejection to testify that might appear strange and peculiar to a jury absent specialist statement. Although Missouri is not totally devoted to permitting expert testimony on battered ladies during the prosecution of domestic attack cases, the use of specialist testimony has broadened in child abuse prosecutions and regarding accuseds claiming self-defense in battered spouse syndrome cases.

    Are my prior criminal activities permissible?

    Proof of previous or other criminal offenses is frequently used in domestic violence cases. Proof that the accused has physically abused this particular victim in the past is usually acceptable to prove the "animus" of the accused towards the victim. The test utilized is whether the probative value of the preceding abuse outweighs the judicial effect. In many cases, it has been held permissible, particularly when the defendant has claimed accident or self-defense. However, when the offender confesses to the criminal activity, the prejudicial impact of revealing instances of prior abuse can outweigh its probative worth.

    What impact will a conviction have on my ability to own a weapon?

    The 1996 Lautenberg Change to the Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor criminal activity of domestic violence to possess a firearm.

    A suspended imposition of sentence under Texas law would probably not count as a conviction and for that reason would not disallow subsequent weapons ownership. The Lautenberg Change likewise makes it a federal criminal offense for a person based on a domestic violence protective order to possess a firearm.