DOMESTIC ASSAULT DISMISSED IN LAWRENCE DISTRICT COURT

NF and her domestic partner of 23 years live together in Andover, MA. On September 21, 2011 the two women got into an argument; the argument turned physical; punches were thrown and a glass bowl got tossed and smashed. The partner called the police to get NF removed from the house. The police repsonded and saw the partner with a black eye and NF got arrested and charged with Domestic Assault and Battery and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (a glass bowl). The police photographed the partner’s black eye. NF appeared in Court for an arraignment on the next morning and her case was continued for a pre-trial hearing to November 4, 2011. On Saturday morning September 24, 2011 NF and her partner met with Attorney Robert Lewin in Andover for a free initial consultation. During that initial meeting Attorney Lewin learned that NF herself had received several bruises in the fight and Attorney Lewin had photographs taken that day of NF’s bruises. Attorney Lewin prepared an Accord and Satisfaction and a Fifth Amendment Affidavit for the partner to sign. The partner did not want NF to be prosecuted and wanted the case dismissed. Massachusetts Law permits the accused and the “victim” in an assault and battery case to work out a financial settlement of the case. That financial settlemnt is called an Accord and Satisfaction. Upon the filing of an Accord and Satisfaction a judge has the discretion to order an assault and battery charge dismissed. The judge is not required to dismiss the assault and battery but the judge may order the assault and battery charge dismissed. Technically an Accord and Satisfaction does not apply in the case of a felony. Assault and Battery is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts. Assault with a Dangerous Weapon is a felony and technically an Accord and Satisfaction is not available for the felony charge. In addition to the Accord and Satisfaction Attorney Lewin also prepared a Fifth Amendment Affidavit for NF’s partner to sign. Because the partner had exposure herself to being prosecuted for Assault and Battery against NF, the partner had an absolute right not to incriminate herself and therefor an absolute right not to testify in the case against NF. On September 28, 2011 Attorney Lewin met with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case for a pre-trial conference. Although the DA’s Office recognized that the partner had a right not to testify the DA’s Office was unwilling to dismiss the case at the pre-trial hearing. As they always do, the DA’s office was insisting that the parties appear for a pre-trial hearing and that the case then be set down for trial on a date thereafter. On Thursday, September 29, 2011(8 days after the fight) Attorney Lewin had the case brought forward and Attorney Lewin, NF and her partner (the named victim in the case) all appeared in Court. Attorney Lewin presented the written Accord and Satisfaction and the written Fifth Amendment Affidavit to the Judge. The Judge asked if the partner was present in Court and Attorney Lewin had her come forward. The Judge then determined that the partner had a valid Fifth Amendment claim. The Commonwealth conceded that they could not go forward without her testimony. Attorney Lewin moved for dismissal of the charges; the Assistant District Attorney objected and asked that the case be set down for trial. Over the objection of the Assistant District Attorney the Judge ordered the case dismissed. It took just eight days from the date of arrest (September 21, 2011) to dismissal of all the charges (September 29, 2011). Both NF and her partner were thrilled that the case got disposed of so favorably and so quickly. The results in this case are common at Lewin & Lewin. We don’t sit back and wait for things to happen; we make things happen and we do it quickly.