by Susan Murphy Milano
An expert in the area of intimate partner violence and the prevention of homicide, Susan has created specific tools and procedures which the abused need to safely leave a violent relationship.
See example of video affidavit
An “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" and video has the additional psychological benefit of being forced to face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be held accountable.
Domestic violence or intimate partner victims now are able to provide information, in their own words, about the fears, dangers, experiences they have had at the hands of their abuser. The" Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" or "EAA" records victim's stories, histories, and experiences which are preserved and stored on their behalf. These videos will provide answers to the many questions, allegations, and fears that arise when a person has disappeared, gone missing, or been found dead.
Recent cases, such as missing mother Susan Powell of Utah, Renee Pernice of Kansas, Kelly Rothwell of Florida, Jacque Waller of Missouri and women like Stacy Peterson, where the victim’s police officer husband is the person of interest, is the classic example of the benefits of this type of evidence. If Stacy Peterson, or any woman found murdered or is missing, had done an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, ON TAPE, from following the information in the “Time’s Up" book ,they would be able to describe:
- threats made against her life or wellbeing, including details of how the perpetrator would carry out the threat
- incidents of past abuse that the victim has endured
- admissions or comments made to her about other victims or people abused
- where evidence or weapons would or could be located
- possible alibis that the perpetrator would make up in his defense (including identification of people who could be co-defendant’s or co-suspects)
- portray visible injuries or marks
Read more here
Purchase Susan Murphy Milano books on escaping domestic violence safely here
Case concerning the right to confront and prove intent to prevent the witness from testifying
Giles v. California, 554 U.S. 353 (2008)
Facts of the Case
When Dwayne Giles was tried in state court for the murder of his ex- girlfriend, he claimed self-defense. Giles stated that he had heard her vow to hurt him and a friend, and that she had previously shot a man and threatened people with knives. The prosecution then introduced evidence of a conversation between Giles' ex-girlfriend and police in which she claimed that he had assaulted her and threatened to kill her. The district court eventually convicted Giles of murder.
On appeal, Giles argued that use of the police conversation violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against him, namely, his deceased ex- girlfriend.
The California Supreme Court held that Giles had waived this right because he was the cause of his ex-girlfriend's absence. Although this exclusion was justified under common law rules of "forfeiture by wrongdoing", the Supreme Court had greatly constrained the admissibility of such evidence in its 2004 holding in Crawford v. Washington. Crawford essentially wiped out the admissibility of such out-of-court statements unless the testimony could be subject to cross-examination at trial, an option that would be impossible under these circumstances. This case gives the Court an opportunity to expand on its decision in Crawford and to apply it to a situation where the wrongdoing that kept the witness from appearing in court was not motivated by a desire to prevent the witness' testimony.
Are a criminal defendant's rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment violated when the common law "forfeiture by wrongdoing" doctrine is applied to allow out-of-court statements made by a witness, absent due to the defendant's own conduct, into evidence without giving defendant an opportunity to cross-examine the absent witness?
Yes. In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the forfeiture by wrongdoing exception only applies to situations where the defendant causes the witness' absence with the intention of preventing that witness from testifying at trial. Without this intention, any act by the defendant making the witness unavailable does not waive that defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine the witness, and therefore any out-of-court statements made by the witness are inadmissible as evidence. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion stressing his belief that statements such as those made by the witness in this case should not implicate the Confrontation Clause at all because the police questioning was not a "formalized dialogue." Justice Samuel Alito also wrote a concurring opinion suggesting that the witness' statements, in his view, did not fall within the Confrontation Clause but noting that neither party had made this argument before the Court. Justice David Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurred in all parts of the majority opinion except one section denouncing the dissenting argument. Justice Souter stated that he did not find the dissent as wrongheaded as the majority suggested.
The dissent, written by Justice Stephen Breyer and joined by Justices John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy, argued that a defendant loses his right to confrontation when he makes a witness unavailable due to his own wrongdoing, even if he did not act with the specific intention of preventing her from testifying at trial.