Domestic Violence Fairytales Threaten
Kristin Ruggiero of New Hampshire figured it would
be a slam-dunk. The gambit worked like a charm
during the divorce hearing, now she would bring the
case to criminal court.
Her husband Jeffrey, an officer in the U.S.
Coast Guard, was an incorrigible batterer, at least
thats what she led to the judge to believe.
That got him convicted of criminal threatening, and
she won custody of their 7-year-old daughter.
But Kristin Ruggiero wasnt finished.
So one day the woman bragged to her startled ex,
I took all your money, I took your daughter,
and now Im going to take your career.
She went out and purchased a disposable cell phone
and registered it in the name of Jeffrey. She then
sent herself a passel of threatening text
Apparently Kristin didnt realize that in
criminal court, allegations are subjected to a
higher standard of proof. And all of a sudden the
nefarious scheme to frame her ex-husband came
Last week Kristin Ruggiero was convicted on 12
counts of falsifying physical evidence and
sentenced to 7-14 years in prison.
This tale is not so much about a distraught
woman sorely in need of psychological help. Rather,
its a story of a police department, a
prosecutor, and a judge that allowed themselves to
be duped by a conniving perjurer. And its
about a criminal justice system that has all but
abandoned due process in a frenzied attempt to curb
Like everything in the law, the problem begins
with definitions. The Violence Against Women Act,
passed during the first term of the Clinton
Administration, includes a definition of domestic
violence that is so wide you could drive a Mack
truck through it.
States picked up on the loophole, and now most
states include within their definitions of abuse,
actions like making your partner
annoyed or distressed.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control likewise
followed suit. The CDCs Uniform Definitions
and Recommended Data Elements declares that partner
violence includes Getting annoyed if the
victim disagrees, Withholding
information from the victim, and even
Disregarding what the victim wants.
Note the CDCs repeated use of the word
victim. In VAWA-speak, a victim does
not need to be a prostrate body lying in a pool of
blood. Rather, a mere accusation elevates you to
the status of victim. No proof of violence
necessary. Recall the Queen of Hearts
disdainful remark, Sentence first, verdict
Fanciful definitions are just the beginning.
Favored with $1 billion in federal largesse each
year, our nations domestic violence industry
has created an alternate-reality legal system that
would confound even the likes of Alice.
Our Looking Glass criminal justice system
features judges who have been educated to always
err on the side of caution; victim
advocates who coach putative victims how to
embellish their claims; and free legal help to
accusers (but not defendants).
And for readers with a well-honed sense of
fairy-tale humor, mandatory prosecution policies
epitomize a legal system run amok. Often the
victim decides she has taught her
boyfriend enough of a lesson and recants her story.
But zealous prosecutors have taken to jailing these
women until they agree to cooperate. That draconian
practice allowed a California woman to secure a
$125,000 false arrest award a few years ago.
Such strong-arm practices have not escaped the
attention of civil rights groups. The Washington
Civil Rights Council has described our current
domestic violence system as creating the
biggest civil rights roll-back since the Jim
Last year the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU
took on the case of Fernando A., a man who had been
falsely accused of throwing his wife down a flight
of stairs. When a judge then deprived him of the
right to a hearing to decide whether to remove his
children, the ACLU took the case to the
states Supreme Court. Fernando A. won on a
Earlier this year Stop Abusive and Violent
Environments, a Washington DC-based victim advocacy
organization, released a report titled How
Domestic Violence Laws Curtail our Fundamental
The report concludes that each year, over two
million Americans have their fundamental civil
liberties over-ruled by the Violence Against Women
Consider the Constitutional guarantees of due
process, probable-cause for arrest, right to a fair
trial, and equal treatment under the law all
are cast aside by get-tough-on-crime domestic
The tall irony is that Vice President Joe Biden,
who proudly championed VAWA when he was a senator
in the early 1990s, is a former professor of
* * *
Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness.
His work has been published frequently in the
Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com,
ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and
elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media
Network. You can contact him at E-Mail
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