In a San Diego courtroom, a judge recently ordered an Iraqi-American man to stand trial for killing his wife after she allegedly asked for a divorce. According to an article in the U-T San Diego news, the 32-year-old victim was fatally beaten in her California home. When the incident first happened, authorities believed that the murder was a hate crime because they discovered a note in the home that read: "Go back to your country, you terrorist." Naturally, the hateful message drew international attention and condemnation. But as the investigation continued, evidence revealed that her 49-year-old husband was unable to accept that his wife wanted a divorce and had allegedly reacted in a violent manner. Authorities ultimately arrested the man and charged him with a domestic violence murder.
At the pretrial hearing, the couple's 18-year-old daughter testified that she had gone with her mother to the courthouse to obtain divorce papers. She further mentioned that her parent's long-standing problems had deteriorated in 2012, and when her mother told her father that she wanted a divorce, he laughed. According to a recent news article, a judge in El Cajon ordered the husband to stand trial for the murder of his wife.
Domestic violence is a serious matter. In legal terms, it is the unlawful infliction of injury on the person of another. The victim may be a current or former spouse, a partner or a child. California domestic violence laws prohibit the use of physical force or threats to traumatize household members. Some of the common crimes of domestic violence include 1) corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant; 2) domestic battery on an intimate partner, 3) child abuse and endangerment, and 4) stalking and criminal threats.
Under the law, acts of domestic violence include, 1) hitting or striking another person; 2) exerting force or violence, 3) cruel or inhuman punishment, 4) physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, 5) conveying criminal threats of harm, and 6) neglect or endangerment of another's health or safety. In some cases, the risk of domestic violence increases when a woman tells her spouse that she wants a divorce.
A person contemplating divorce may resist initiating the process for fear that once the spouse is informed of the decision, he could exhibit violent behavior. But there are ways to seek protection in advance. In California, family courts can grant spouses a temporary restraining order to prevent the perpetrator from approaching the home for a certain period of time. A permanent restraining order would require that the perpetrator remain at least 100 yards away from the home for up to five years and prohibits any contact whatsoever with the victim. There is a certain amount of proof or evidence one would need to provide in order to receive the order of protection.
In the case discussed above, it does not appear that the wife/mother sought any protection from the San Diego court system. If a person is considering divorce and has any concerns about a potentially dangerous situation involving another, it is important to get help as soon as possible. A local family law attorney could help to protect your safety and your rights.