Articles Tagged with accused

I was recently given the honor of being appointed to serve a second three-year term as CJA Panel Representative from the Middle District of Alabama. The CJA Panel is the group of private practice lawyers who are accepted by the Federal District Court to receive appointments to represent clients in that court. As CJA Panel Representative, my first task of the year was to attend the national conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Criminal Justice Act, the landmark legislation that set up the system of appointed counsel in place today, allowing even those among us who are unable to afford legal representation will receive the competent, skilled assistance of a lawyer.

After attending the conference, I have a couple of thoughts that I would like to share.

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For the past twenty years or so, Alabama laws have been changing in order to address the problem of violence among those in family relationships. These Domestic Violence laws supplement existing laws such as assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, or harassment if the alleged victim “is a current or former spouse, parent, child, any person with whom the defendant has a child in common, a present or former household member, or a person who has or had a dating or engagement relationship with the defendant” (Code of Alabama, § 13A-6-132)

 

In many cases, the “Domestic Violence” designation can result in an increased penalty upon a conviction, and even in the deprivation of civil rights such as the right to possess a firearm.  In nearly every case, however, it results in differences in the way cases are handled.

 

It is the practice in most courts that a person arrested for an offense involving domestic violence is immediately served with a protective order that seeks to prevent further incidents, and sometimes forbids any contact at all between the accused and the alleged victim. Violations of these orders can lead to additional charges being brought against the accused. Because of this. it is important to carefully read these protective orders and strictly comply with their contents.

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