Assistant State Attorney Todd Chapman
Today's example of an idiot masquerading as a law enforcement officer or a Florida justice system official.
SARASOTA COUNTY -- The jury was ready and the judge was behind the bench. The only thing missing from John Christiansen's trial last week was the girlfriend who accused him of beating her so badly that both her eyes were swollen shut.If you're not seeking sanctions, then why bring Ms. Chapman to court. Are you such a thick headed moron Todd Chapman that you don't know getting legal representation in a criminal case costs money? You're turning the victim into a criminal in addition to making her a victim again!
Sandra Rains says she got all the way to the courthouse that morning, but a severe anxiety attack kept her from going inside. Prosecutors say Rains already had told them that she wanted them to drop some of the charges.
Prosecutors usually drop charges when victims want them to, but in this case they decided to go forward because of the severity of her injuries, and because Christiansen already has two convictions for domestic abuse -- including a 2002 case in which Rains was the victim.
And the state attorney's office went a step further, filing a criminal contempt of court motion against Rains, who now faces the prospect of jail if she does not show up to testify at the rescheduled trial in November.
"Now I'm being a victim again because I'm here in front of you," Rains told Circuit Judge Charles Roberts in court Friday morning.
Domestic violence victim advocates agree with Rains, saying such a harsh response to her no-show can put a chilling effect on victims' willingness to call police and add to distrust of the court system.
But prosecutors say they have to protect the victim and possible future girlfriends from escalating attacks that could lead to domestic homicide in cases like this, even if the victim does not want to testify.
"I'm not looking for any sanctions against her. I just want to make sure she comes to court next time," Assistant State Attorney Todd Chapman said after the hearing.
*****I don't think Rains should have jumped court, but the prosecutors here are out of line. Its a travesty of justice when the innocents get made into criminals. That it happens far too often, doesn't excuse the practice.
It used to be common practice to drop charges if the victim did not want to cooperate, but now prosecutors look to the totality of the evidence to decide whether to go forward, prosecutors said.
"It's ultimately always our decision," Chapman said.
Rains said she was a victim who now had to hire a criminal defense attorney to protect her from the prosecutors, who made her feel uncomfortable.
"Nothing I say is right, everything is wrong, and it's basically all my fault," Rains said.
Rains' attorney said Rains has not had contact with Christiansen for months, and that her reluctance to testify is being caused by overly aggressive prosecutors.
Memo to Assistant State Attorney Todd Chapman- Drop all charges against Sandra Rains or prepare to be the Knucklehead of the Day. I wonder how proud your children will be when they and friends find out what big an idiot you are.
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