Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Justice System" Travesty in Tennessee

A class action lawsuit against the city of Dickson, perhaps? In the meantime:

Mayor’s Office- Don L. Weiss, Jr

Domestic Violence Victim Blames Magistrate

Woman Says Milton Genella Didn't Do His Job

POSTED: 3:58 pm CST November 13, 2009
UPDATED: 7:41 pm CST November 13, 2009

A victim from a domestic violence case that was thrown out comes forward after the Channel 4 I-Team's investigation into a judicial magistrate.
Video: Domestic Violence Victim Beaten After Case Thrown Out | Video: Magistrate Throws Out Domestic Violence, DUI Arrests

The victim said her husband was so emboldened by his immediate release that he beat her for six months like he had never beaten her before.

The Dickson Police Department is so frustrated it keeps a permanent file of dozens of domestic violence arrests thrown out by judicial magistrate Milton Genella.

Dickson County Sheriff Tom Wall also keeps a book in his office in which every officer must keep a record of domestic violence arrests thrown out by judicial magistrates.

Law enforcement said Genella throws out more than half of domestic violence arrests the night of the arrest -- a practice unheard of in several other local counties.

Domestic violence advocates say that throwing out arrests discourages the victim and encourages the attacker.

"By getting that protection that the court can offer, that is not only sending a strong message to the perpetrator ... but it's sending a message to the victims as well that we're going to protect you," said Kathy England Walsh of the Tennessee Domestic Violence Coalition.

Dickson County sheriffs arrested the woman's husband in January 2006 for dragging her around their home, punching her and knocking her down. Genella refused the warrant, saying it was not domestic violence. June's* husband was released that night.

"(I was) terrified. I didn't know where he was, I didn't know if he was coming back for me," she said.

June said the beatings got worse and more frequent from then on.

"I never called the police again," said June. "Every time that would happen, I would think, 'What's the point?'

"There were times when he would be abusing me and tell me, you know, 'Even a judge let me go.'" In his mind, he thought it was OK for him to be doing what he was doing," she said.

The beatings went on for six months until June ended up in the emergency room with a broken nose.

"The only time that something, you know, actually got resolved was when I ended up in the emergency room," June said.

June said she blames Genella for not stopping the violence.

"I'm really angry. I'm angry at this man for not doing his job, doing what he's supposed to do to protect people like me," she said.

Genella declined to discuss some of the cases he has thrown out and suggested talking to the district attorney.

But the district attorney isn't Genella's boss. In fact, Dan Alsobrooks said by law he isn't even permitted to criticize the magistrate. He said to check with the county mayor.

County Mayor Robert Stone said the County Commission approves magistrates for four-year terms but can't fire them, and that the magistrates' boss is General Sessions Judge Durwood Moore.

Moore said he isn't Genella's boss; he is a consultant who recommended him. Moore said that only the Tennessee Supreme Court can fire a judge.

But the Tennessee Supreme Court said Genella isn't a real judge because he isn't a lawyer, so it doesn't have any jurisdiction.

The county has the right not to renew Genella's term when it's up next year.

*This name has been changed.

1 comment:

  1. National Technical Assistance Provider on the prosecution of violence against women (domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking) for prosecutors and allied professionals.

    Kristina Korobov
    Senior Attorney, National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women


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