Saturday, March 11, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Too late for rethinking
Woman is jailed by prosecutors until she agrees to testify in court against ex who she said threatened her


March 11, 2006

It was for Delaine Williams' own good that Suffolk prosecutors said they had her spend a night in jail for not cooperating in a domestic abuse case, in which authorities said she was the victim.

"They treat me like a dog!" an enraged and handcuffed Williams, 41, of North Amityville, said to her attorney as he interviewed her in the courtroom Friday. Her ex-boyfriend, Earle Foster, 36, was on trial, charged with violating an order of protection by threatening her in August. "They threw me in jail then took me away from my 2-year-old."

After testifying that she didn't remember many details of the night she had Foster arrested for threatening her, a jury acquitted him. Foster had six prior convictions for violating past orders of protection filed by Williams.

Prosecutors said Williams had been uncooperative since filing charges against Foster, the father of her son, and testifying before a grand jury. Williams admitted in court Friday that Foster's family lived nearby and had threatened to come to her house and "jump" her.

Suffolk Chief Trial Prosecutor John Collins said putting her in jail was a last resort and noted that, while rare in domestic violence cases, arresting material witnesses was a common prosecutorial tactic. She was not criminally charged.
Don't they arrest material witnesses because there's a danger he or she might flee, or worse, get killed?

Isn't it her choice whether she decides to testify against the creep or not? Now, I can see the arguments of the other side: he's a known offender, he's got six strikes against him, she filed the complaint which costs the county money and the DA really wants to put him away, and he'll likely violate the OP again until he's put away.

Fair enough. But is it really necessary to spank the victim one more time to do it? Embarass her in front of her children, scare the living hell out of them in order to effectively extort her testimony? How likely is it she's ever going to file another charge against this or any other offender, knowing this has happened to her?

I'm fairly sure the last thing we want in this country is people to be afraid of the law.