Category Archives: Crime

Divorce Court vs. Criminal Court

Sometimes divorcing parties act like criminals, but Divorce Court is NOT Criminal Court (typically).

Divorce court, a.k.a. Chancery Court, is a civil court. The Court’s function is to legally divorce parties that are entitled to be divorced and divide property. The Court has the authority to deal with and punish conduct that is violative of its Orders or disruptive conduct that occurs directly in its presence. Other than those instances it is not a punitive Court. You typically are not punished for marital fault…

Criminal court, which can be Circuit, County, Municipal, or Justice, among others, can punish. These Courts have prosecutors whose job is to prove the accused committed a crime/violated a law. The Judge or a jury determines if the matter was proven and a punishment, including; incarceration, fines, and other remedies.

However, sometimes these can relate or overlap. Conduct that could serve as grounds for divorce, such as domestic violence, is also a crime. The Court’s are independent of one another and you can be punished in Criminal Court and divorced in Chancery Court over the same facts.

Interestingly, your right to plead the fifth, invoking the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution can be done in both Courts. While it cannot be used against you in Criminal Court, it can be used to make an adverse inference in Chancery Court. So, if you are accused of adultery/habitual fornication in Criminal Court, which IS a crime in Mississippi, you may invoke the fifth and the prosecutor must prove a violation of the law by beyond a reasonable doubt, however in Divorce Court, while you may invoke the fifth, the Court can treat that as an adverse inference/admission and could find such to be enough to rise to clear and convincing evidence of adultery. Confused yet?

Divorce Court and Criminal Court are different animals, with different standards and different outcomes. However, all are serious and your rights may be infringed if the Court determines they should be.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Court lawyer and encourages those charged with a crime to confer with an experienced Criminal Defense attorney.

Man Robs Bank Hoping to Get Sent to Prison to Escape Wife, Sentenced to House Arrest.

Kansas City, Kansas. John Ripple walked into a bank and handed the teller a note demanding cash and stating he had a gun. The teller handed over $2,924.00. Ripple then sat in the lobby for police to arrive.

Ripple surrendered. Upon his arrest, he told investigators that he wrote the note in front of his wife, telling her he’d rather be in in jail than live with her.

Prior to sentencing, Ripple sought leniency as he was facing up to 37 months in prison. Ripple cited his recent heart surgery and depression, causing him to not “be himself.” Interestingly, the bank vice president and teller also supported a lesser sentence.

In a twist of fate, the Court sentenced Ripple to 6-months of home confinement. Sentencing him to the fate he was seeking to escape. There has been no update as to whether he was seeking post-conviction relief for cruel and unusual punishment, being forced to live with your spouse.

Matthew Thompson is a divorce attorney in Mississippi and reminds you there are easier ways than robbing a bank to get divorced.

http://www.BowTieLawyer.ms (601)850-8000

16 questions used to ID domestic abuse victims likely to be killed

Research has found that men who choked their partners were 10 times more likely to eventually kill them.

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A CBS News article reported that the Oklahoma City Police Department is among the forces using the 16-question checklist, which is designed to help officers identify victims who are likely to be killed.

By answering the below questions, the more times a victim answers “Yes” to the questions, the more likely domestic violence may lead to a victim’s death. The checklist will be used across the state of Oklahoma. Authorities in Maryland say fatalities have dropped 30 percent since they started using it.

 

Below are the 16 questions contained in the “Domestic Violence Risk Assessment” checklist:

1. Has he/she ever used a weapon against you/threatened you with a weapon?

2. Has he/she ever threatened to kill you or your children?

3. Do you think he/she might try to kill you?

4. Does he/she have a gun or can he/she get one easily?

5. Has he/she ever tried to choke you?

6. Is he/she violent or constantly jealous or does he/she control most of your daily activities?

7. Does he/she follow or spy on you or leave threatening messages?

8. Have you left him/her or separated after living together or being married?

9. Is he/she unemployed?

10. Has he/she ever tried to kill himself/herself?

11. Do you have a child/children together?

12. Do you have a child that he/she knows is not his/hers?

13. Has he/she been physical toward the child(ren) in a way that concerns you?

14. Does he/she have an alcohol/substance abuse problem?

15. Has he/she interfered with a 911 call?

16. Is there anything else that worries you about your safety?

 

If you are in Mississippi and need help please do one or all of the following by contacting the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence;

If you are in danger, call 911.

If you need immediate assistance after hours: Call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

Local to the metro area may call 601-981-9196

If you wish to be connected with someone in your area regarding domestic violence, volunteering or making a donation, call 1-800-898-3234.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and encourages victims of domestic violence to have an emergency plan and seek immediate help.