By Gina Kim
FRESNO, CA – After claiming to be the true victim of domestic abuse, the suspect here in Fresno County Superior Court pleaded not guilty this week to both misdemeanor counts of battery in a domestic violence incident and noncompliance with a police officer during an arraignment hearing.
*Note: The Vanguard is not identifying the suspect because this is a misdemeanor case.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Muia sought a protective order, stating that the accused “had no business” being in the alleged victim’s home on Nov. 10 of last year. Although the suspect and victim shared split custody of their child, they no longer lived together. Moreover, the accused knew the victim would keep the front door unlocked.
Upon entry, the suspect allegedly initiated a verbal argument with the victim, trying to hit him several times. She then entered their shared daughter’s bedroom, grabbing a Nintendo console and attempted to hit him with it. The charged allegedly also took several other items, some of which would later be recovered from her car, the prosecution stated.
DDA Muia urged the court to note that, while the alleged victim left the residence following their altercation, the suspect remained inside. Once authorities arrived, she tried to “coax the officer inside” while handling something in her sweater pocket. The officer refused to enter. Eventually, the suspect “surrendered herself” and apologized.
Given there was no family court order at this point in time, DDA Muia requested the restraining order be left open to modification by a future family court order. The defense further requested peaceful exchange of the child.
Judge Charles Lee inquired as to whether there was a formal family custodial order for the child. Instead, it was found there was an ongoing informal basis of custody with the primary caretaker split “fifty-fifty” between partners.
DDA Muia conceded a peaceful transition of the child ensured by a future family court order would optimal, but, given the nature of the charges, he was unsure if it would be possible as of yet. “I don’t have any information as to whether the victim would be amenable to peaceful contact order in this case since he was just assaulted,” Muia added.
The court was informed there were no injuries—the accused had photos of being assaulted by the alleged victim, which was evidence not yet turned in due to the case’s early state.
DDA Muia countered there was never any reference to previous abuse in the victim’s initial police testimony, to which the defense corrected that their client had in fact informed officers of her abuse early on, but was advised to take pictures only after the incident was over.
Judge Lee voiced his concern over the disruption in the child’s lifestyle. Though he would like to uphold peaceful contact for exchange of the minor, he could only do so if there was confidence nothing bad would occur.
“This is obviously a difficult situation for any five-year-old, and with COVID it’s again all the more challenging with custodial issues, with getting kids to school if there is school these days, with childcare issues,” he stated.
A no-contact order was signed, allowing exceptions only for the peaceful exchange of minor children and any visitation granted by the family court.