How on earth did this become a separate crime?

Greenwich man charged with “second degree strangulation”. Taking nothing away from the seriousness of domestic violence, I wonder why victims need such specific protection from this particular act? Is there something special about strangulation that requires an avenue for prosecution different, say, from mere battery, attempted murder and assault?

Sounds like one of those feel good laws passed by our legislators after some particularly horrid crime. Didn’t seem to have worked here, though.

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18 responses to “How on earth did this become a separate crime?

  1. GPD Folk

    Pretty close….pressure from victims advocates of the Domestic Violence lobby

  2. AJ

    I say let’s outlaw shoelaces. From now on you’ll need a permit to wear shoes with anything other than a velcro closure strap. Shoes should also be firmly affixed to the ankle so that they can’t be removed to be used as a weapon — remember W, he did have good reflexes — Oh, wait, sombody already invented those: http://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.3792934.1340149565!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.jpg

    I see from the picture they have a velcro strap, but those laces have got to go.

    I’ll bet the cops remember those shoes with the heels that light up when you start running: a must have item for any stealthy criminal. I remember an episode of “Cops” where they just followed the strobe light shoes

  3. Fred2

    Chris, sounds just like “Hate crimes”, where some-how the fact that the criminal did not like something about the the person they battered/assaulted/raped/murdered/ said naughty words to, magically makes the crime that much more heinous?

    I’m willing to believe that sort of mental state could theoretically push the level of the sentencing up (Premeditation of a sort?), but as a separate category crime it seems philosophically inane and unfair.

    I mean really, does it matter an iota WHY someone is doing it (Leaving aside premeditation vs accident vs poor impulse control). The injury is the same.

  4. JRH

    GPD Folk is right, though I do sort of bristle at the way he refers to it as if it was just some special interest giveaway. Until relatively recently, strangulation that did not lead to the victim’s death was charged in almost every jurisdiction as a misdemeanor. Strangulation attempts frequently are precursors to attempted domestic homicide, and the thinking was that charging as a misdemeanor was an ineffective response to a serious DV problem.

    • Nope – just playing to the special interests. If your ability to successfully prosecute a battery depends on the choice of weapon by the perpetrator, you should seek a new line of work. Television reporter, perhaps.

      • JRH

        Just not so, CF. Felony assault in CT required proof of serious physical injury, which was defined by statute as proof of injury causing a substantial risk of death. Choking often leaves no marks or bruises, and sometimes the physical injury lasts only days or hours, but it is an act that sends a clear signal to its victim: I control you, I will hurt you, and if I want to, I can kill you.

  5. JRH

    To be more clear, the reason, CF, that assault and/or battery were insufficient was because people who are choked often display no outward physical signs of the attack.

    • Huh???!!!! Assault is to put someone in fear for their safety, battery is physical touching. A victim of either could testify against her attacker with the same credibility, strong or weak, as if she testified that the perpetrator had place his hands or tie or his pantyhose about her neck.

      • JRH

        This is just not so; a prosecutor is not going to get a felony assault conviction without physical evidence. See, e.g., New York’s assault statute, which requires proof of “serious physical injury.”

        • AJ

          I believe Michael Skakel was convicted of murder without any physical evidence that linked him to the crime. I believe they were able to put him at the scene of the crime, though not necessarily at the time of the crime, but then that was just across the street from his house. Though I did not sit on the jury, in my opinion, they proved nothing more than that he was one of a number of highly likely suspects.
          If someone tries to shoot someone but the gun doesn’t go off, isn’t still attempted murder?

  6. Al Dente

    I got charged with “domestic battery by 11″ frying pan” but I beat that rap. My attorney got it knocked down to “saute pan” and I got probation.

  7. Al Dente

    What do you say to a woman with two black eyes?
    Nothing, she’s been twice already.

    I’m sorry. Please spank me and delete that comment.

  8. GPD Folk

    JRH..no need to bristle. I was just stating the truth behind the statute…. nothing more /nothing less. In Connecticut there are three degrees of Assault …… Battery is not found within the definition of the statute…the severity of the injury and the actor’s level of intent determines the level of the assault ie: if I take a baseball bat and hit someone in the head…. a reasonable person would expect that I was trying to cause serious physical injury, if I did cause that injury it would be Assault 1st Degree. The GPD takes Domestic Violence very seriously and was one of the first Depts statewide to begin arresting abusive spouses when the norm was to separate for the night until coolers head could prevail…and that was 30 years ago.