NFL Star’s Case Exemplifies Difficult Domestic Violence Issues

The Miami Dolphins’ talented wide receiver Brandon Marshall made national headlines in April, but not because of anything related to football. The star wide-out and his wife were involved in an altercation and things got physical. Much of the public probably pictures this dispute ending with the 6’4, 230-pound athlete being led out of his Broward County home in handcuffs. However, it was Brandon’s wife, Michi, who was placed under arrest. While Michi was taken to jail, Brandon went to the hospital for treatment of a stab-wound to his abdomen.

Fortunately for Brandon and the Dolphins, the wound was minor and he quickly recovered. However, the Marshall family is still grappling daily with the aftermath of the Apr. 22 incident. While Brandon has remained silent about the incident, the public perception is that Brandon and Michi just want to move past the incident. This is extremely common in criminal proceedings involving domestic violence.

Typically, the accused and his or her family want to move past the altercation and smooth out any relationship issues privately, not in a public courtroom. However, the accused and his or her alleged victim have no role in the prosecutor’s decision on whether to pursue charges and for what crimes.

The Right to Remain Silent

In the Marshall case, Brandon apparently did his best to deter the Broward County state attorney’s office from pursuing charges against his wife. He refused to discuss the altercation – publicly or privately – until a recent subpoena forced him to speak with authorities, or face criminal punishment himself.

Although Brandon was not arrested, he knew that remaining silent was in his best interest, as he had perhaps learned from experience. It was not Brandon’s first involvement with domestic violence allegations. Brandon himself has been arrested multiple times for domestic violence offenses in the past. However, a person’s criminal history has no bearing on their guilt or innocence involving a present-day domestic altercation.

Exercising the right to remain silent is an especially important decision in domestic violence cases. Unlike many other criminal proceedings, domestic violence cases typically have no witnesses besides the involved couple. A lot of the evidence stems from police reports, documentation of physical injuries to the parties and any statements or testimony provided by the couple involved.

This is why it is crucial to invoke your right to remain silent after a domestic violence arrest. Nothing you say can improve the situation. In Orange County, if the police arrive on a call for domestic violence they will arrest one of the parties – regardless of the merits. It is best to let tempers cool and to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney when the opportunity is given.

A defense lawyer who is experienced in domestic violence cases can work with the accused to implement a sound defense strategy. A skilled attorney can also detect any weaknesses.