A recent civil suit involving false criminal accusations against a spouse underscored the often intertwined nature of family law and criminal defense. It also highlighted the sad fact that often times law enforcement agencies are too over-worked and under-funded to adequately investigate all the complaints they receive.
John and Alice married in 1995. By 2005 Alice was reading books on the subject of divorce and money. One of the books included information about using false criminal accusations against a spouse in criminal proceedings. Alice and co-conspirator, Toothman, conspired to bring false claims against John. In August 2005 Alice and Toothman reported to law enforcement that John had threatened to kill Alice and the couple’s children.
A criminal case alleging a felony violation of Penal Code section 422, criminal threats, was filed against John. The case went to trial. John was acquitted.
At the time of reading the verdict, and in somewhat dramatic fashion, the jury foreperson read a statement that said: “We, the jury, believe that the absence of any real investigation by law enforcement is shocking and we agree that this appears to follow a rule of guilty until proven innocent. There was no credible evidence supporting the indictment. We believe prosecuting this crime was not only a waste of time, money and energy, for all involved, but is an affront to our justice system. The jury recommends restitution to the defendant for the costs and fees for defending himself against these charges. This jury requests that our collective statement be made available in any [future] legal action relating to these parties…”
John filed a civil suit against Alice and Toothman for malicious prosecution, false arrest and imprisonment, negligent statements without justification, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and for damages for violation of his civil rights. The full opinion is available at Lefebrve v. Lefebrve, 196 Cal.App.4th 696.
The fact that a criminal trial even occurred is a travesty of justice. The unfortunate truth is law enforcement, particularly state and local law enforcement, does not have the man power or the budgets to investigate every claim. Deputy District Attorneys often have enormous case-loads, sometimes more than 100 files. In particularly overwhelmed jurisdictions the unfortunate reality is that they read their files the night before they start a trial, or even while on their way to the trial department.
Sophisticated clients can invent criminal allegations against other people that can fool even the best trained law enforcement. That is why a working relationship, a partnership, between family law lawyers and experienced criminal defense attorneys like Kresta Daly,are so important. Sometimes, these are the only people with the time and the ability to defend and protect not only clients but the integrity of the legal system.
Kresta Daly has a proven track record of working with family law attorneys and defending people falsely accused of a crime. John, the defendant in this case, ultimately received a finding of factual innocence which removes the accusations from his records. Kresta Daly is one of only a few Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorneys who has successfully litigated a finding of factual innocence.
If you have a case that would benefit from the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney please contact Kresta Daly.