Category Archives: Domestic Abuse

Minnesota Supreme Court

Minnesota Supreme Court Rejects DWI Necessity Defense

A while back, we wrote about the case of Jennifer Axelberg, the Minnesota woman who was arrested for driving under the influence while attempting to flee from her abusive husband. Axelberg later pleaded guilty to a lessor charge of careless driving , but she appealed the loss of her driver’s license under the Necessity Defense. In order to prove the Necessity Defense, a defendant must prove three things:

  • The defendant acted in such a manner to avoid a significant risk of harm; and
  • No reasonable lawful means could have been used to escape the harm; and
  • The harm avoided was greater than that caused by breaking the law.

Unfortunately for Axelberg, the appellate court rejected her appeal in a 2-1 decision. In the majority opinion, the judge wrote that Axelberg created a substantial risk to the general public by choosing to drive drunk.

Taking it to the Minnesota Supreme Court

Jennifer didn’t stop there, though. Knowing that the appellate court was divided on their ruling, Axelberg decided to appeal her case to the Minnesota Supreme Court, saying that she was “fighting for others who might get into this situation.” But for Axelberg, it was deja vu all over again, as a sharply divided group of justices ruled against her appeal in a 4-3 decision.

Justices on both sides issued strong opinions and spoke about the harmful precedence that would be set by the opposing opinion. Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea wrote in her 14-page majority opinion that Minnesota’s Implied Consent law doesn’t allow a person to use the Necessity Defense as an argument when it comes to challenging a license revocation.

Justice Alan Page, who disagreed with the majority opinion, said that the ruling is a slap in the face to individuals who have no other options when faced with physical or sexual assault.

“The decision implies that the necessity defense is unavailable not only in cases of domestic abuse, but also in cases in which a victim’s seeking refuge from a violent physical or sexual assault or kidnapping, and the court’s decision thus discourages those individuals from seeking shelter in a motor vehicle as well,” Page wrote.

Attorney Avery Appelman agreed with Justice Page.

“I think the majority opinion actually empathized with Jennifer, but they feared that applying the Necessity Defense would open up a theoretical ‘out’ for drunk drivers to claim they were fleeing an abuser,” said Appelman. “In actuality, Jennifer’s situation was so unique and the evidence against her abuser was so strong that very few future cases would meet the same circumstances. Jennifer should have had her license reinstated.”

Related source: Star-Tribune

Ray Rice Summoned To Court On Assault Charges

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been summoned to appear before a judge after he was charged with assault during an incident at an Atlantic City casino.

According to the police report, Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer got in a physical argument at the Revel Casino. Rice’s attorneys claim a “very minor physical altercation” occurred, but video obtained by TMZ shows that the situation was anything but minor.

You can see the TMZ video below. Some of the images may be disturbing.

 

 

The video shows Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the casino elevator and laying her on the ground. He later tries to prop her up, at which point it appears she regains consciousness. The court summons alleges that Rice struck his fiancée with his hand, which rendered her unconscious.

Rice’s attorneys have admitted that the video is authentic, but they say it is taken out of context.

“The video that has been put up by TMZ shows the very end of what transpired between Ray and his fiancée,” said Rice’s attorney Michael Diamondstein.

Both Rice and Parker were arrested for simple assault for their role in the incident, so it appears police believe that both parties got physical at some point during the night. Although Parker’s role in the altercation is still being investigated, her attorneys have referred the domestic violence incident to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for further review.

Ray Rice

Rice will make his initial appearance on March 11.

Further Punishment?

As prosecutors noted, the case has already been referred to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for review, but Rice could also face additional penalties by the National Football League.

Players in the NFL are required to adhere to the league’s personal conduct policy, which was initially instituted to control off-field behavior and preserve the league’s public image. Six notable players have received game suspensions as a result of off field conduct, and as the list shows, a player doesn’t necessarily need to be charged with a crime to feel the wrath of Roger Goodell.

  • Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season, and eventually served another 6-game suspension for repeated arrests and his involvement in a shooting at a strip club in Las Vegas.
  • Chris Henry was suspended for the first eight games in 2007 after he was arrested for the fifth time in three different states.
  • Tank Johnson was suspended for the first eight games in 2007 after he pled guilty to an illegal weapons charge.
  • Donte Stallworth was suspended for the entire 2009 season after he killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. He accepted a plea agreement in lieu of taking the case to trial.
  • Michael Vick was suspended for two regular season games in 2009 after serving a 21-month sentence in prison for his role in an illegal dog-fighting ring.
  • Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for four games in 2010 after allegations of sexual assault arose for the second time in less than a year. Roethlisberger was never charged with a crime, but he still received a suspension.

The league will likely wait to see how the case plays out, but if the judge rules that Rice knocked his fiancée unconscious, don’t expect the commissioner to take the case lightly. Even if he avoids jail time, he may be forced to watch some Ravens games from the sideline.

Related source: TMZ, Forward Times Online

Minnesota Domestic Violence Deaths Increase in 2013

Domestic Violence StatsComing off a year where domestic violence deaths fell to a 20–year low, Minnesota saw a disturbing increase in the number of domestic violence-related deaths in 2013.

The 2012 Femicide Report showed that the state was moving in the right direction in preventing domestic assault deaths, as the 19 reported incidents marked a 20-year low. Unfortunately, the number of deaths from domestic violence nearly doubled in 2013, as there were 37 reported cases.

This year’s Femicide Report said the state can’t let those who died be forgotten.

“Our challenge to the community is not to let these deaths go unnoticed but rather to use these brutal murders as a springboard for action,” the report said.

Disturbing Trends

The 2013 Femicide Report documented numerous domestic assault statistics. Some of the findings can be found below:

  • 24 women and seven men were killed by current or former partners. Six friends or family members were also killed as a result of domestic violence.
  • 15 of the 24 women were killed after the women left or as they were trying to leave a relationship. The report said the most dangerous time for battered women is when they try to end the relationship.
  • The perpetrator committed suicide after killing the victim in about 50 percent of cases, much higher than the national murder-suicide average.
  • 17 of the 37 murders were committed with firearms.

The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, the group who creates the annual Femicide Report, said the last point was one area where they’d like to see the government intervene.

“When there is a history of domestic violence, we should be looking at the question of access to firearms,” the report said.

Minnesota lawmakers will soon vote on two new pieces of legislation aimed at keeping domestic violence victims safe. The first proposed law would give victims the right to be notified of an offender’s location after they are released from prison, and the second bill would increase the ability of police to arrest suspected abusers after they have fled the scene of an alleged crime.

Rebeckah Moses, program manager for the WCBW, said the proposed legistlation is a step in the right direction, but more changes are needed.

“Safety must be a priority and recognized as a core issue at the Legislature and beyond,” said Moses. “We are all impacted: in our workplaces, schools, homes, courts and community.”

Related source: PostBulletin.com

Officials Aim To Crack Down on Sex Trafficking at Super Bowl

Sex Trafficking Super BowlThe up’s and down’s of a football game can cause people to act irrationally. We’ve already heard stories of how domestic violence increases after a loss, and we’ve seen some people get a little carried away when rooting for their favorite team. While law enforcement officials are trained to deal with some of the more common occurrences during a football game, police in New Jersey are attempting to tackle a different problem that often follows mega sporting events: sex trafficking. 

With more than a hundred thousand people expected to make their way to New Jersey for the Super Bowl on February 2, it’s not hard to believe that those looking to make an illegal buck are trying to benefit from the excessive, not-from-around-here crowd. According to U.S. Representative Chris Smith, officials will try to crack down on the sex-trafficking problem which has followed the nation’s biggest event for the last few years.

“New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem,” said Smith. “One Super Bowl after another after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks.”

To combat the sex-trafficking trade, and to cut down on illegal prostitution on its streets, New Jersey has taken steps to prevent the practice. Over the last few years, the state has passed numerous laws aimed at combating what they call “forced prostitution.” As an influx of men are set to descend on the state in less than a month, sex trafficking prevention advocate Danielle Douglas said the state needs to continue their efforts to stop this terrible trend.

“The Super Bowl is a huge, huge arena for sex trafficking,” Douglas said. Some visitors “are coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football — they are coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women, and/or men or children.”

Sex Trafficking or Prostitution?

Prostitution and sex trafficking may seem like the same crime, but it’s the addition of a third party that makes sex trafficking a more heinous act. Some individuals who participate in prostitution do so voluntarily because it’s a quick way to make money, while sex trafficking victims are forced into the practice by a trafficker or pimp. Making matters worse, sex trafficking victims are often minors.

Minnesota re-worked its sex trafficking laws in 2005 to cast a wider net to catch traffickers. According to the law, if a person participates in either of the below points, he or she could be found guilty of sex trafficking.

  • Receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of an individual; or
  • Receiving profit or anything of value and knowing or having reason to know it is derived from sex trafficking.

Minnesota sex trafficking crimes are punishable by a maximum of 15 years for an adult victim, 20 years and/or up to a $50,000 fine if the victim is under 18 years of age, and 25 years and up to a $60,000 fine if aggravating factors are present.

Although the penalties for sex trafficking are extreme, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said traffickers are still willing to take the risk to cash in on magnitude of the event.

“When you’re about ready to have 400,000 men come to this area of the country,” Molinelli said, “you’re invariably going to have more people try to take advantage of that by providing prostitutes and prostitution.”

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said his men aren’t taking the issue lightly, and he’s asking for anyone who sees anything suspicious to report their concerns to the police.

“We’ve enlisted, basically, every service provider that people coming to the Super Bowl are going to run into,” Hoffman said. “There are a lot of eyes that are going to be on their activities and going to be on spotting potential victims of this crime.”

Related source: Pioneer Press

Minnesota Supreme Court to Rule in Abusive DWI Case

Supreme CourtBack in August, we shared the story of Jennifer Marie Axelberg, the 39-year-old woman who was convicted of a DWI as a result of an incident near her family cabin in Mora, Minnesota. What made Jennifer’s case unique was that she claimed she only got behind the wheel on the night in question because she feared for her life. You can read to full story here, but he’s a summation of what happened that night.

On May 30, 2011, Jennifer and her husband Jason drove to their family cabin in Mora. After drinking at a nearby resort, the couple returned to their cabin. An argument ensued, and Jennifer claimed her husband pushed her, hit her, and took her cell phone.

Fearing for her safety, Jennifer left the cabin and got into her car. Her husband came outside shortly afterwards and punched the car’s windshield, causing it to crack. Not knowing what would happen if her husband got inside the car, Jennifer started the engine and drove back to the resort with her husband in pursuit on foot. A witness called police, and although Jason was booked on charges of domestic assault and disorderly conduct, Jennifer was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired.

Jennifer was later convicted of a DWI after chemical tests showed that he had a blood-alcohol content of .18. Like anyone in her position, she appealed the conviction on the grounds of the necessity defense, but an appellate court ruled 2-1 against her. In their majority opinion, the judges stated that Jennifer created an additional risk of injury to the general public by driving while impaired.

Judge Margaret H. Chutich issued a dissenting opinion in the appellate case, saying that the “defense is available in cases where extraordinary circumstances exist.” Citing that Jason had already pleaded guilty to his charges, Chutich said it was clear that a physical altercation had taken place, and she would have reversed the conviction.

Supreme Ruling

The Minnesota Supreme Court has the power to overturn the DWI conviction when they hear the case on Thursday, but some believe reversing the decision will open the door for other DWI offenders to claim they were fleeing from an abusive situation. This could put innocent spouses or drivers at a greater risk of false accusations or injury.

Jennifer has clearly provided enough evidence to prove that her husband had physically assaulted her on the night in question, but there are many other factors that weigh into the decision. For example, Jennifer claimed she only drove because she was rather unfamiliar with the area and sought the safety of the resort. On the other side of the coin, prosecutors can argue that her decision to consume alcohol contributed, at least partially, to the escalating ordeal. Had she stayed under the legal limit, there wouldn’t have been any problem.

We hope Jennifer gets the justice she deserves. Abusive relationships are terrible, and nobody knows how they would react in a similar situation. Thankfully nobody was hurt by Jennifer’s decision to drive, but the outcome could have been a lot worse if she had stayed at the cabin that night. We’ll update the story once the Minnesota Supreme Court issues its ruling.

Vikings Cut Jefferson After Domestic Assault Arrest

AJ JeffersonThe Minnesota Vikings severed ties with cornerback A.J. Jefferson hours after the four-year pro was arrested on charges of domestic assault.

Jefferson was booked at the Hennepin County jail around 7 a.m. on Monday following an early morning incident at his home in Eden Prairie. According to the criminal complaint, a 23-year-old female called authorities around 4:30 a.m. to report that she had been the victim of a domestic assault. The victim, who said she was in a relationship with Jefferson, said he put his hands around her neck and choked her during an argument. No other details about the incident were reported. Police took Jefferson into custody at his residence without incident.

Jefferson Released

The Vikings, who have had no shortage of player-related incidents with the law in recent months, acted swiftly upon hearing about Jefferson’s arrest. Even though they are working with a depleted secondary, the Vikings decided to cut Jefferson less than five hours after his arrest.

Head coach Leslie Frazier wouldn’t comment on Jefferson’s release when he spoke to the media on Monday. Frazier is likely fed up with the off-field actions of some of his players, as Jefferson was the second Vikings player to be arrested in November. Earlier this month, wide receiver Jerome Simpson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The wide receiver remains on the team, but his future status is in doubt. The soon-to-be free agent faces jail time as his most recent arrest violates conditions set forth in a previous probation agreement.

Jefferson is the fifth Vikings player to be arrested in the last three years.

Possible Charges

Looking at the law, Jefferson could face charges of assault charge ranging from third degree to fifth degree. A domestic assault charge in the fifth degree is considered the least severe form of assault in Minnesota, and it is usually considered a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense. A fifth degree assault charge is considered when a person:

  • Commits an act with intent to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death; or
  • Purposely inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another person.

A person found guilty of assault in the fifth degree can face up to 90 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.

If he were to be found guilty of Third Degree Assault, which can occur when choking or strangulation occurs, Jefferson could face up to five years in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both. We’ll provide an update if and when formal charges are announced.

Related source: TMZ, Pioneer Press

Trevino Sentenced to 27.5 Years In Prison

Jeffery TrevinoJeffery Trevino has been sentenced to 27.5 years in prison stemming from a second-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Kira Steger.

According to sentencing guidelines, Trevino faced a maximum of 15 years in prison, but prosecutors said the case called for a stiffer punishment. They asked the judge to sentence Trevino to 30 years in prison because of the hardships he inflicted upon the Steger family. Prosecutors said he could have helped authorities find Steger’s body during the months-long search, but he refused to cooperate. The judge eventually settled on a 330-month sentence.

During the sentencing hearing, Steger’s family shared victim impact statements with the court to express how they have been affected by Kira’s death. Kira’s father, mother, and sister shared heartfelt messages with the judge. Trevino was allowed to respond to the victim impact statements, but he declined to address the court.

Getting Closure

Trevino’s sentencing helped bring closure to the Steger family whose ordeal began last February when they received word that Kira had gone missing. Authorities wasted little time in arresting Jeffery for the crime, and although evidence was stacked against Trevino, Kira’s body still remained missing three months after her disappearance. In May, divers recovered a body from the Mississippi River that was later confirmed to be Steger.

The case went to trial in September, and Trevino was found guilty of Unintentional Murder in the second degree in early October. Jurors settled on Unintentional Murder because they didn’t believe there was enough evidence to prove that Trevino intended to kill his wife.

“Did he intend to do it, or was it an accident?” said Brandon Wilson, who sat on the jury. “I just feel like the state didn’t show enough evidence that he did.”

Criminal Defense Attorney Avery Appelman said he wasn’t surprised by the harsh sentence.

“This was a high-profile case,” said Appelman. “When you look at all the aggravating factors, it’s reasonable to surmise that the judge wanted to send a message with the extended sentence.”

Related source: Fox 9 Twin Cities

How We Win Assault Cases

Assault casesBelow is a piece by Avery Appelman, founder of Appelman Law Firm. Each Friday, we will be posting a blog crafted by one of our attorneys so they can share their stories, tips, and insights into the legal world. Today, Avery talks about his methods for fighting an assault charge, citing two dismissals he recently obtained. For more information about Avery, check out his biography page or give him at call at (952) 224-2277.

I have represented people charged with various levels of assaults for my entire 20-year career. Assaults are a crime of violence, a personal crime. Assaults are enhanced based upon the nature of the injury inflicted on the victim. For instance, a broken bone is more serious than a bruise. I have had a recent run of successful assault cases that have ended with the state dismissing the charges against my clients. I want to discuss the approach to those cases.

The Cases in Question

The first case involved two young 20-somethings. My client was a student and a server at a local restaurant. The alleged victim was a new mother, who traveled to Minnesota from another state and showed up on my client’s doorstep at midnight one night. Unbeknownst to my client, the alleged victim brought her 12-day-old infant daughter with her. My client shared a boarding house with 5 or 6 other students; there was no extra room for a new mother, so the alleged victim and her newborn slept on the sofa in a common room for two nights. After her second night, my client told the alleged victim that she had to leave, because his roommates no longer wanted her and her infant to stay in the house. The alleged victim agreed to leave. My client left his home and did not return until late that night. In the meantime, the alleged victim appears at Hennepin County Medical Center with an injured infant and claims that my client assaulted her and the baby.

The police took the alleged victim at her word and immediately sought out and arrested my client for assault.

The second case involves an older distinguished business owner and the 20-something mother of his 2-year-old daughter. Needless to say, the dynamics are such that my client is a successful entrepreneur who runs a very brisk business. He and the alleged victim are not married. My client makes a variety of support payments to the alleged victim: he bought her a car, he pays for her rent, he gives her money for clothes, food, medical bills, cell phone, the list goes on and on.

On the Saturday morning that my client was scheduled to have his daughter, the transfer did not go as planned. The alleged victim was upset and demanded that my client leave without his daughter. She obstructed his path and refused to get out of his personal space. My client used force to push her out of his way as he moved down the apartment building hallway to exit the building. The alleged victim escalated her behavior, screaming and ranting at my client to “give me my daughter” while my client purposefully walked to his truck and secured his daughter into her car seat. My client reached the driver’s side door, got into the driver’s seat, and as he attempted to close the door, the alleged victim jammed her hand inside the truck, where it got caught as my client tried to close his door. The victim cried for help and one of the building managers, who witnessed the scene in the parking lot, called the police. The police ultimately arrested my client for assault.

There is a process to handling an assault case, and these cases illustrate how the process, when followed, leads to favorable outcomes, even when there is significant evidence of an assault.

The Next Step

In both cases I met with the clients, talked to them, and listened for every detail. I asked questions about their relationship and obtained a thorough background on when they met and how the relationship currently stands. In the first case, my client and the alleged victim had met seven months prior. The alleged victim moved to another state and the pair had only sporadically maintained contact. Then, almost out of the blue, she showed up in Minnesota and asked if she could stay at his place.

In the second case, my client met the alleged victim through his work and they began a romance that ultimately led to a daughter being born. They never married, and the relationship soured. The alleged victim is perpetually jealous of any woman my client might date. What’s more, I learned that the alleged victim routinely uses their daughter as a vehicle to try to control my client; denying him access to his daughter from time to time.

I like to speak with the alleged victims, so they know that my client takes this matter exceptionally serious. I place calls to the victim’s known phone numbers. If the alleged victim answers, I always identify my client and myself and I ask if they will speak with me about the case. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. The mere fact that the call has been made applies subtle pressure on the alleged victims. They become aware that a professional is assisting their significant other while they are left adrift, isolated, and alone. They may call the prosecutor, who is notorious for not returning calls, and if they do, he or she tells them they are not their attorney. Added pressure leads to a willingness to resolve cases.

Developing a Plan

I take the information I learn in the initial meeting and I sit down with our in-house investigator to outline a strategy, which includes drafting a list of witnesses that we need to contact. In the first case, the victim had made a claim as to date and time the assault occurred. My client told me he was not there at the date and time of the alleged assault, and we sought to prove that by talking with witnesses who would testify to that. What’s more, we arranged for the witnesses to sign statements attesting to our client’s whereabouts at the time the alleged victim claimed the assault occurred.

In the second case, we were fortunate to have two independent witnesses who observed the escalating scene in the parking lot. Needless to say, we never rely on the police reports for detailed information; it takes a thorough investigation to obtain the details that will help. We spoke with these witnesses, and while their factual rendition of events did not alter, their perception of the alleged victim’s behavior was described as “out of control” “crazy” and “insane.”

I review the statements we obtain with my investigator, and have him follow up with the witnesses if I need additional details. Armed with signed statements, I make contact with the prosecutors at the pre-trial conferences. These hearings are designed to provide back and forth communication in hopes of resolving cases prior to trial.

In each case, I showed the prosecutors some but not all of the statements. I carefully selected the statements I wanted to use. First, it demonstrates to the prosecution that we take these matters seriously, and it shows we know more about this case then they do. In Minnesota, we have victim’s rights laws associated with assault cases that require victim input prior to resolving cases. At the pre-trial conferences, both prosecutors said they would review the provided information with the victim.

After The Pre-Trial Conference

In case one, I began to email the prosecutor with my theory of the case, that the alleged victim had lied, that she has no credibility, and that she fabricated the assault claim to conceal her involvement in the injury of her infant child (recall she appeared at HCMC with an injured infant, knowing that serious questions will be asked of her). I applied pressure as to why, when confronted with a reasonable alibi, the prosecutor refused to look at this case objectively. Ultimately after three emails, the prosecutor dismissed the case.

In case two, after the pre-trial conference I spoke with the prosecutor and we agreed to a resolution that is called a “continuance for dismissal.” This is an agreement with the prosecution wherein if my client satisfies certain conditions – in this case, pay a few hundred dollars in prosecution costs – the case would be dismissed.

The most important step in any case is listening to your clients. When I hear their side of the story, I can begin to formulate ideas on what evidence exists that will help prove their innocence. These are just a few of the successful cases. All of our clients receive the same compassionate and professional care. We have helped thousands of clients; allow our experience to help you through your case.

Bears Fan Facing Charges After Tasering Packer Fan

Bears PackersA Chicago Bears fan was charged with felony possession of an electronic weapon after he tasered a female Green Bay Packers fan after the two teams squared off on Monday Night Football.

Before you’re quick to chastise the man for tasering a woman, consider this – The woman in question was his wife, and the pair had reportedly placed an electric wager on the outcome of the football game, from which the Bears emerged victorious.

According to the Chicago Tribune, John Grant and his wife placed a bet on the outcome of the Monday Night Football matchup. If the heavily favored Packers won the game, Mrs. Grant would get to taser her husband. On the flip side, if the Bears won, the missus would have to take the charge.

After knocking quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the game with a broken collarbone, the Bears held on for a 27-20 victory over their long-time rival. When the couple went outside to smoke a cigarette after the game, Grant decided it would be a perfect time to cash in on his big win.

According to the criminal complaint, Grant discharged the Taser “two times on her buttocks,” and after the second zap, her husband decided to call the police.

When asked if the electric charge was painful, Ms. Grant said “Hell yeah it hurt,” and she added that she never consented her husband could use the device on her. Officers weren’t too quick to buy her story, as they noted in the criminal complaint that a cell phone video of the incident showed Ms. Grant was “laughing and it seemed apparent that Ms. Grant had consented.”

Mayville Police Chief Christopher MacNeill said it isn’t the first time the Packers-Bears rivalry has caused disturbances between households.

“As a police officer, you always expect there to be some kind of disturbances when rival teams are playing,” Chief MacNeill. “But with something like this, it was completely unexpected and I think a lot of people were in disbelief this actually took place.”

Despite the evidence, officers still decided to ticket Grant for possession of an electronic weapon, a felony charge that carries with it the possibility of jail time.

Christopher Neu, owner of the bar where the couple was watching the game, voiced his displeasure with the need to ticket Grant.

“They had a running bet that the loser would get Tasered by the winner,” Neu said. “Obviously she lost. “

Related source: Chicago Tribune

St. Paul Police Conduct Domestic Assault Sweep to Round Up Wanted Fugitives

Domestic ViolencePolice officers in St. Paul conducted their annual “Family Violence Apprehension Detail” on Wednesday in hopes of getting some wanted fugitives off the street, and the program netted at least 12 arrests.

Since 2007, St. Paul police have conducted the annual sweep to help bring domestic violence offenders to justice. The one-day sweep is held each October to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“Today is one of those days where we get a chance to send a message to the worst of the worst,” said Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom.

The St. Paul department is just one of over 200 law enforcement agencies that conducts an annual sweep each October. Unlike other types of crimes, many domestic assaults go unreported. Bostrom said the sweep gives the police another chance to intervene and prevent further violence.

“There are very few times when we get a chance to interrupt that. Today is one of those days,” he said.

Concerning Statistics

According to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, 35 Minnesotans have already lost their lives this year due to domestic violence. If that number is correct, it’s a big jump from 2012, when 19 domestic violence-related deaths occurred in the state. If the deaths continue at the current rate, 44 individuals will lose their lives to domestic violence, the most in a calendar year since 2001.

The numbers are even more concerning when you consider how well the state had been doing in reducing the number of domestic violence deaths in recent years. 2012 marked the fewest number of domestic violence-related deaths in over twenty years.

The sweep targeted 92 suspects, many of whom were considered “heavy hitters,” or individuals with multiple offenses, said St. Paul police Cmdr. Mary Nash.

“This is about making a big impression that we know who you are, you’ve done some bad things, and we’re after you,” she added.

Sweep Success

Acting on little more than the suspect’s last known address, St. Paul police officers were able to track down and arrest 12 domestic assault suspects, and the Ramsey County sheriff’s office believe more arrests could come in the following days as other suspects learn they are wanted by the police.

In one instance, officers stopped at a suspect’s work after they were unable to locate him at his house.

“I’m losing money,” the suspect said as he was being led away in handcuffs.

Although the specific sweep is conducted once a year in October, this isn’t the first time law enforcement officers in Minnesota have attempted to round up domestic violence offenders. Back in July, the Hennepin County sheriff’s office conducted a similar domestic violence sweep with the help of more than a dozen surrounding agencies.

If you would like to report the whereabouts of an individual with an outstanding domestic violence warrant, you can leave an anonymous tip by calling 888-988-TIPS.

Related source: Pioneer Press