On July 14, 2014, JC, a 46 year old housewife from Tewksbury got drunk. When her husband got home from work she attacked him ripping his shirt off and throwing things at him. He called 911. The police responded. Photographs were taken by the police of the husband and of his torn shirt. JC was arrested. This was her second arrest for assaulting her husband. In 2013 she had been arrested and charged with domestic assault & battery by means of a dangerous weapon. In the 2013 case JC retained Attorney Robert Lewin and Attorney Lewin was successful in getting that case dismissed. Following her arrest she was brought to the Tewksbury Police Station; she was booked and held for court. JC again retained Attorney Robert Lewin. JC was arraigned and released and her case continued for a pre-trial hearing. Attorney Lewin met with JC’s husband and he agreed to exercise his marital privilege. In Massachusetts a spouse (husband or wife) may refuse to testify against their spouse at a criminal trial. The marital privilege only applies to testifying at a criminal trial. JC and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lowell District Court for the pre-trial hearing. JC’s husband was present at the pre-trial hearing and was prepared to exercise his marital privilege at the pre-trial hearing. The Judge ruled that the privilege could only be exercised at the trial and the case was continued to October 3, 2014 for trial.
On October 3, 2014 JC and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lowell District Court; the case was called and Attorney Lewin answered ready for trial. JC’s husband was present and was called forward. He exercised his marital privilege and the privilege was accepted by the trial judge (who happened to be the same judge who had refused to accept the privilege at the pre-trial hearing). The Assistant District Attorney stated that without the husband’s testimony the Commonwealth did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute the case and the case was dismissed. In this case there was a recording of the 911 call made by JC’s husband to the Tewksbury Police Department. In that recording the husband tells the police that he had been attacked by his wife, that she had ripped his shirt off, and that this had happened before. Normally speaking, 911 recordings are not admissible; they are hearsay evidence. One of the exceptions to the hearsay rule is that if the 911 call contains an excited utterance or if the statements made to the police are made for the purpose of quelling an ongoing emergency situation or for the purpose of determining if a person is in need of medical care then the contents of the 911 call are admissible at trial and can be used as evidence against the accused. Attorney Lewin prepared a lengthy and detailed Motion to Exclude the contents of the 911 Recording. The District Attorney agreed with Attorney Lewin’s analysis of the law and thus the Commonwealth did not go forward with the trial. JC was very fortunate that her husband did not want to go forward and she was fortunate that Attorney Lewin was able to convince the DA that the contents of the 911 call would not be admitted at trial; for the second time she walked out of the Lowell District Courthouse a free woman.

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