On October 24, 2019, IW, a 47 year old disabled married man from the Dominican Republic, was living in Lawrence with his wife and their 1 1/2 year old daughter. Previously his wife had taken out an abuse prevention order against him. The order was in effect on October 24, 2019 and the order ordered IW not to abuse his wife. The night before October 24, 2019 IW drank a great deal. On the morning of the 24th IW’s wife went to work leaving IW at home with their 1 1/2 year old baby. When IW awoke he was still drunk and he called his wife and told her she better come home from work to take care of the baby. In addition IW told his wife that he was going to throw all her clothes out in the street and that he wanted her out of the house. IW’s wife returned home from work and IW and his wife got into a heated argument. His wife then told IW that she was going to call the police and she did. She told the police that when she told IW she was going to call the police he told her “call the cops and you will see what happens”. After she called the police IW left the apartment. As he was leaving the building the police arrived and detained IW. The police talked to IW and he admitted that he was drunk. The police spoke with his wife and then the police arrested IW and charged him with violating the no abuse order and with witness intimidation (threatening her if she called the police).
On October 24, 2019 IW was brought to Lawrence District Court. He was appointed a lawyer and given a date to return to court. When IW could not reach his court appointed lawyer and when the court appointed lawyer did not return IW’s calls, IW contacted Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin and IW met and IW subsequently retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin reviewed the police reports with IW and told IW that the Commonwealth would have a very difficult time proving either one of the charges against IW. Attorney Lewin told IW that the evidence was not there to prove either of the charges and that he absolutely should take the case to trial. Attorney Lewin explained to IW that the Commonwealth would not dismiss the case prior to the trial date. Clients have a difficult time accepting the fact that the District Attorney’s Office will NOT dismiss a domestic abuse case prior to the trial date.
On December 12, 2019 IW and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court for IW’s pre-trial hearing. Attorney Lewin approached the Assistant District Attorney about dismissing the case but the Assistant DA said they will not dismiss a domestic abuse case prior to trial. The case was continued for a jury trial to February 3, 2020.
In the weeks leading up to February 3, 2020 Attorney Lewin met with IW to prepare him for the trial. On February 3, 2020 Attorney Lewin and IW appeared in Lawrence District Court. The case was called and Attorney Lewin answered that the defense was ready for trial. The Assistant District Attorney answered that the Commonwealth was not ready. Attorney Lewin immediately asked the Judge to dismiss the case. The Judge then ordered the case dismissed for lack of prosecution.
Attorney Lewin and IW left the Courthouse and IW thanked Attorney Lewin for sticking with him.
The typical course of a criminal case is arraignment, pre-trial hearing, and trial. It is a very very rare domestic abuse case where the DA’s office will dismiss the case at all. In particular, the DA’s Office will virtually always refuse to dismiss a domestic abuse case at the pre-trial – even if the “victim” comes in and says she/he will not testify and she/he wants the case to be dismissed. You simply have to wait for the trial date.