September 19, 2012
Judicial systems fall 2012
One of the primary reasons why victims do not testify is in court is embarrassment. Many victims are embarrassed to reveal any details from their cases. In domestic disturbance cases, victims often refuse to testify because they are still living with the defendant, or for whatever reason, they do not want the defendant imprisoned. In this paper, I will focus on domestic violence and why the victims choose not to testify.
Domestic violence cases tend to be sensitive issues because of the intimate nature of the confrontation. Typically in domestic violence cases, a husband is abusing a wife or a child, or a mother is abusing her children. In ...view middle of the document...
These practices are not uncommon and they usually work best in situations when the victims refuse to respond to their subpoenas or the victims are not present in court. However, without actual witnesses, these cases are much weaker in court (“In Hot Pursuit…”).
Another common problem in domestic violence cases is when defendants and victims try to see each other even though the defendants are going through criminal proceedings. Judges will sometimes issue no contact orders. No contact orders prevent defendants from communicating with victims, and if the orders are broken, the defendants can go back to jail. Many people do not abide by their no contact orders, which causes stress to their attorneys and the court systems because it increases the likelihood of reconciliation. In a situation where the two parties reconcile, it is much harder to get the victim to testify in court (“Domestic Violence in…”).
It is important for victims to understand that when they file charges against their abusers and the states take charge of their cases, the victims no longer have any right to drop their cases. The decision to drop cases falls on the prosecutors, and they may refuse to drop a case even if a victim and defendant have reconciled. Victims should realize that if the state has taken charge of their case, refusing to testify will not protect defendants from going to jail or receiving any other form of punishment by the court. Victims should also consider that by refusing to cooperate with court proceedings, they could be held in contempt of court or charged with other criminal acts, depending on the state in which the trial is held. In some cases, the prosecutors threaten Child Protective Services if the victims fail to testify because the abusers could be causing stress to the children in their households. These practices that are used to get unwilling victims to testify may make the courts seem even more...