Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

record of domestic violence call (NJ)

If police are called to a DV, and neither spouse presses cha youngbuck05/16/17
Well first off, private citizens do not "press charges." Pro onehell05/16/17
Just because I am OCD annoying. Isn't it true that people c anonattempt05/16/17
nope, you're missing the distinction between filing a police dingbat05/16/17
Sorry, that's my unfamiliarity with crim law showing. I did anonattempt05/16/17
onehell and dingbat sort of have it correct: in New Jerse williamdrayton05/16/17
Private criminal complaint? How bizarre. So what, you have a onehell05/16/17
Chill out, dude. The prosecutor processes and litigates the williamdrayton05/17/17
Off topic, but an interesting reminder of something one of m jackofspeed05/17/17
I'm quite chill, just confused as to how such a concept woul onehell05/17/17
Excellent chill. Check out-https://www.google.com/url?sa= jackofspeed05/17/17
File OPRAs with the local PD and then the municipal court de isthisit05/16/17
The 911 is probably long gone, and the police report may be adamb05/17/17
If there is a 911 call, a recording of it is typically kept flharfh05/17/17
In my state, police dispatchers maintain a CAD log (stands f guyingorillasuit05/17/17
youngbuck (May 16, 2017 - 2:22 pm)

If police are called to a DV, and neither spouse presses charges, is there a record of it? Would I be able to obtain it by submitting OPRA request w the person's name?

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onehell (May 16, 2017 - 2:28 pm)

Well first off, private citizens do not "press charges." Prosecutors do that. What you're really saying is that the parties asked the cops not to forward anything on to prosecutors, which is a request they often honor.

But I digress. In a circumstance like this there will not be a "criminal record" if no charges were pressed and nothing was filed with any court. But there is a "police report," and those reports are searchable by someone who knows where to look.

My local police department, for example, has a form by which you can request a "record of police contacts" and they search for your name and will spit back every police report on which your name appears. You can also ask by address, e.g. "give me all the police reports for all the times you guys were called to 123 Fake Street."

Idk about NJ, but where I am, if the cops took your name, there is a report of it. It won't show up in a conventional background check but if anyone goes to the trouble of actually looking with the local police department directly (which is rare, but does happen), it could be found. If you want to see what it says, ask the police for a copy of the police report from the incident.

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anonattempt (May 16, 2017 - 3:50 pm)

Just because I am OCD annoying. Isn't it true that people can press charges? I'm not a criminal law person, but seems to me that "press" indicates "to pressure". There are cases that cops may not pursue unless the victim wants to "press charges". Prosecutors, I believe, "charge," or "file charges," they do not "press charges".

My understanding is the convo goes like this:

*Police get called for a really stupid argument/altercation between two idiots*

*Cops then listen courteously to both parties ramble on about how the other wronged them*

Cops says ... "Do you want to press charges?" *Cops thinking please say no, please say no, please say no*

Idiot 1 & 2, in unison: "Yes!"

*Cop thinks, "F*CK!!" and either starts filling out a police report or politely tells both parties that the cops don't care whether they want to press charges or not because the situation is just stupid and the cops are peacing out.*

No?

I did a quick google search and most attorney's discussion of the issue seem to go like this: "There is a misconception that people can press charges. Only the prosecutor can file charges." Well, it seems the attorneys aren't answering the question they posed. They miss the logic step where they apparently equate "pressing charges" with "filing charges".

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dingbat (May 16, 2017 - 4:10 pm)

nope, you're missing the distinction between filing a police report and filing charges at a court of law.

If no police report is filed, then the case won't progress. If a victim chooses not to move forward, usually the case won't progress (because it's that much harder for the prosecution - but occasionally they will move forward without a cooperating victim)
The flip side is, even if the victim does want to press charges, if neither the police nor the attorneys want to move forward (for whatever reason), then it won't happen.

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anonattempt (May 16, 2017 - 4:33 pm)

Sorry, that's my unfamiliarity with crim law showing. I didn't mean to say "Cop ... starts filling out a police report." I meant starts filling out what ever it is that cops fill out to document the details of an incident.

All I'm saying is that a victim can "press charges," but legally it doesn't mean anything.

I have been asked by a police officer if I wanted to press charges. I said no, and he seems visibly relieved. There is no legal force behind a person wanting to "press charges," but I think some cops see themselves as having some increased duty to press charges themselves (they would be 'pressing' the prosecutor) when the victim wants to "press charges."

And, of course, a friendly reminder that I am talking out of my a*s.

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williamdrayton (May 16, 2017 - 5:15 pm)

onehell and dingbat sort of have it correct:

in New Jersey, when police respond to a domestic violence call, they ask the parties if either wants to file a private criminal complaint against the other. if both parties say no at the scene, the police walk away and there may be some kind of incident report but it won't say much.

even if both parties say no to the private complaint, the police may still decide to "press charges" against one or both parties if they deem the behavior egregious

so the municipal courts that hear a percentage of the DV cases have a mix of both private complaints and charges filed by the cops

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onehell (May 16, 2017 - 7:44 pm)

Private criminal complaint? How bizarre. So what, you have a wife standing as prosecutor, trying to prove a husband guilty of DV beyond a reasonable doubt, doing plea bargain negotiations, handling a jury trial, etc?

I'm far from the tri-state area so I have no idea how it works, but the idea of a pro per prosecutor kinda doesn't compute.

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williamdrayton (May 17, 2017 - 7:23 am)

Chill out, dude. The prosecutor processes and litigates the complaint just like every other criminal charge. Pennsylvania has a similar process for low level courts: private complaint turned over to the local prosecutor.

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jackofspeed (May 17, 2017 - 7:50 am)

Off topic, but an interesting reminder of something one of my professors mentioned back in law school. For whatever reason, private criminal complaints are logical to Southerners, and weird to our Northern brethren.

Just generally, if a crime occurs, the entire community is injured. But sometimes the criminal act is too particularized an injury to attract the attention of the state. Without private criminal complaints the danger is that people will resort to self-help, rather than the state-supervised dispute resolution system.

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onehell (May 17, 2017 - 5:13 pm)

I'm quite chill, just confused as to how such a concept would work in a system where the idea of near-absolute prosecutorial discretion is such a cornerstone of everything. So if the citizen can initiate the complaint but then it's turned over to the prosecutor, can the prosecutor still drop it or plea bargain it like normal?

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jackofspeed (May 17, 2017 - 6:44 pm)

Excellent chill.

Check out-https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-911/file-78.pdf%3Fcb%3D5676e1&ved=0ahUKEwid7oyGgPjTAhVHqFQKHYdQCE4QFggcMAA&usg=AFQjCNF91X2xw05KH0IuxWXSAyYCeKmA4g&sig2=Ro0wxE_xE6KLBGe7ApCyNA

Includes helpful note:

Notice: Under Pa.R.Crim.P. 506, your complaint may require approval by the attorney for the Commonwealth before it can be
accepted by the magisterial district court. If the attorney for the Commonwealth disapproves your complaint, you may
petition the court of common pleas for review of the decision of the attorney for the Commonwealth.

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isthisit (May 16, 2017 - 5:50 pm)

File OPRAs with the local PD and then the municipal court depending on the PD findings.

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adamb (May 17, 2017 - 4:45 pm)

The 911 is probably long gone, and the police report may be difficult to find. How long ago was this alleged dv radio run?

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flharfh (May 17, 2017 - 5:13 pm)

If there is a 911 call, a recording of it is typically kept for something like 6 months or a year. The officers who responded typically write a report as well, which should be kept indefinitely. Ask for both.

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guyingorillasuit (May 17, 2017 - 11:18 pm)

In my state, police dispatchers maintain a CAD log (stands for "computer aided dispatch"). You can usually get a redacted version; sometimes they require a subpoena. It will show a record of police officers being sent to that address on that particular day, and for what purported reason.

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