Domestic violence is a serious issue but, sometimes, there is more to a story than the charges levied against the parties. A recent news story from South Florida revealed that a perceptive judge can take inventive approaches in situations when there may be a chance to save a marriage. The news story was detailed in the Sun-Sentinel and can be found here.
The story detailed the an alleged altercation between Plantation, Florida resident Joseph Bray and his wife. The “marital spat” began when Bray supposedly failed to wish his wife happy birthday and then escalated into allegations of Mr. Bray committing domestic violence against his wife. Bray was then taken into custody and then at his first appearance in court, Bray appeared before Broward County Judge, John “Jay” Hurley. Instead of locking Bray up or setting bond, Judge Hurley ordered Bray to treat his wife to dinner, a bowling date, and then to marriage counseling.
Judge Hurley was quoted as saying, “He’s going to stop by somewhere and he’s going to get some flowers, and then he’s going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, and take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they’re going to go bowling.” Appearing to recognize that some may take offense to his ruling, Judge Hurley then followed up by emphasizing that he would not have entered such an alternative type of order if the domestic violence charges against Bray were more serious or if Bray’s wife appeared to be injured or in danger of being harmed. Hurley stated, “It was a minor incident, in the court’s opinion, the court would not normally do that if the court felt there was some violence but this is very, very minor and the court felt that that was a better solution than other alternatives.” At the hearing Bray’s wife stated to Hurley, after Hurley had asked her if she was hurt or had any fear of her husband, that she was not hurt nor did she fear her husband. Additionally, Judge Hurley pointed to the fact that Bray had no prior arrests. After this line of questioning Judge Hurley entered his final order of, “Flowers, birthday card, Red Lobster, bowling…” additionally Hurley required the couple to attend marriage counseling within a week.
Again, domestic violence is always a serious situation and clearly Judge Hurley’s ruling was not the typical order entered and likely would have ruled else wise had the facts been different. Should you or a loved one ever face or fear facing domestic violence from the hands of another, having a Florida family law attorney acting on your behalf can guide you through the process both legally and emotionally.