...but not really. On 10/3/2003, a preliminary hearing was held at Wrentham District which yielded nothing more than another date to go back to court. It was an opportunity for both sides to consider a resolution, and my lawyer was trying to get "pre-trial" probation, which would mean that if nothing happened before the period ended, the charges would be dismissed. (This is different than the "continuation without finding" I mentioned earlier, in that no admission is required and if there were an incident, the prosecution would pick up where it left off. With a CWF, if there's an incident, like someone claiming you violated a 209A, you're immediately found guilty on the CWF'd charges) The ADA, Mark Fabiano was willing, but in order to agree to this, he'd have to get the "victim" to agree to it too. So, Cindy had an opportunity to make all this go away and refused to do it. Malicious? You bet she is.
My lawyer had a good rapport with ADA Fabiano (who, last I saw, has crossed over from the Dark Side and is now a public defender), and he had a good handle on the absolute zero of a case he was looking at, as my attorney had made sure he was aware of my side of the story and who attacked who. He recommended to both of us that I should go to the Foxboro Police Station and file an assault and battery complaint against Cindy. My lawyer agreed, and so I left the courthouse and went directly there. Upon arriving there, I spoke with officer Frank Azevedo who wanted nothing to do with taking my complaint. I must have spent 15 minutes arguing with him and insisting that my complaint be taken before he left me standing at the counter with a statement form. I had with me a 3 page statement that I had written right after the incident to record the details while they were fresh in my mind, and I wanted to submit that as part of my statement, but Azevedo wasn't having it. I got one page, hand written, standing at the counter and a whole lot of attitude. When I finished writing, he took the statement and told me to check back in a month, which didn't strike me as proper procedure for handling a criminal complaint. Here's the complaint I filed against Azevedo with Internal Affairs.
A month passed, and nothing had happened, so I asked my lawyer to shake the bushes and find out what was going on. It was clear by that point that we were going to trial so she was also requesting a copy of Cindy's 911 call as evidence. Here's her letter to the FPD. You can see what happened next in my complaint linked above. Long story short, my complaint wasn't processed until 3 months after I had filed it and my lawyer had gotten involved. So, a probable cause hearing was scheduled for Cindy on March 4, 2004. I'll tell the rest of what happened via the letter I wrote to FPD Chief O'Leary later that day. Yes, I, the victim in the case, was barred from the hearing By FPD prosecutor Scott Austin. And then the son of a bitch snuck out the back door of the courtroom hoping to avoid me. And then I found him anyway. The Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights (M.G.L. c.258B) requires that
You and your family members have the right to be present at all court proceedings unless you are required to testify and the judge determines that your testimony may be influenced by your presence.
You have the right to confer with the prosecutor before the start of the case, before a case is dismissed, and before a sentence recommendation is made.
You have the right to be informed of how a criminal case progresses through the system, what your role is in the process, what will be expected of you, and why.
Then there's M.G.L. Chapter 265, Section 37 which states:
No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with, or oppress or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the constitution or laws of the commonwealth or by the constitution or laws of the United States. Any person convicted of violating this provision shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both; and if bodily injury results, shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.
The law? Victim's rights? Who cares? Lookit! She's got BOOBIES! It's legal insanity, folks. Massachusetts style insanity.
You have to take your satisfaction where you can get it. So, props to J.R. Moore. I wonder how Scott Austin feels about slipping on the gloves.