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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE JAILHOUSE CALLS

13 May

By Terry Loving

Although posted signs clearly warn prison detainees that “their calls are being recorded,” – they often ignore this fact. In cases of domestic violence, many abusers make calls to the abused to get them to drop the charges, and not testify against them. In too many situations, intimidation and fear wins, and the abused comply with the abusers threats and lies of remorse.

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According to a New York CNN article, “alleged abusers have been known to call their victims and persuade them to back off.  The Queens County district attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau was forced to dismiss about 70% of its cases due, in part, to intimidation.” 1 Some inmates make “hundreds of calls,” wearing down their victims to a point of winning them over through coercion.

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Unfortunately, many of the abused financially depend on their abusers, and they do not press charges because they do not have a way of taking care of themselves and their children. Rather than suffer the economic hardships, many women with children are forced to live with the abuse.

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The main point of this post is the fact that law enforcement has another weapon against domestic violence. By law in many states, the abusers are automatically arrested when there is evidence of physical battery against the abused. And now, jailhouse calls to the abused can be used against the abusers. In the case of Eric Persaud, he admitted what he had done to his girlfriend, and Prosecutor Scott Kessler utilized a legal procedure against the abuser – his own words via a phone call to the abused.

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“Eric Persaud admitted it. He got so mad at his girlfriend that he seared her face with a hot iron. Prosecutors say she stuffed a towel in her mouth to keep from screaming.”

“He told her if she screams or yells, he’ll burn the kids, too,” says Scott Kessler, chief of the domestic violence bureau for the Queens, New York, district attorney.”

Persaud’s “young son” witnessed what was done to his mother – his father thought the child “was asleep.”

“Despite her injuries, Persaud’s girlfriend didn’t want to testify before a grand jury. That could have meant the end of the case. No testimony from a burn victim can mean no conviction.”

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“Prosecutor Kessler suspected Persaud had been talking to his girlfriend from jail and intimidating her despite a protective order forbidding any contact.”

“Kessler has seen it before.”

With the approval of the New York Department of Corrections, Persaud’s phone calls were monitored – legally – for proof that he was intimidating his victim, and trying to persuade her to drop the charges.

“I only got you, Ma, I only got you,” Persaud pleads on the recorded call. “I did not kill nobody. … What they’re doing is illegal, you don’t want to cooperate,” he tells his burned girlfriend.”

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Persuad even played mind games with his own children, promising to buy them video games when he got out of jail. Worst of all, he wanted his girlfriend to prep the kids on how to “lie” on his behalf.

“To use the tapes, Kessler is using a legal theory called forfeiture by wrongdoing”.

“It’s a theory that says … you have the right to confront a witness that’s against you, unless you’re the reason they don’t come forward,” says Kessler. It’s been used, he says, in mob murder cases when the accused has intimidated potential witnesses.”

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The detainees make the mistake of assuming that with so many inmates, their calls will slip through the cracks.

Jailhouse calls also recently helped convict Eric Persaud. He’s sentenced to 13 years in prison for burning his girlfriend with the iron and attempting to bribe her into silence.”

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Ishaaq Rahaman, was recently sentenced to two to six years in prison for contacting his abused girlfriend “from jail.” Statement from Rahaman’s girlfriend:

“He punched me in the face. My lip was bleeding,” she says. Yet, on jailhouse recordings, he says he wants to marry her. Before his arrest, she says, they had good times, but then he would turn on her. “Sometimes, I’m scared to sleep with him. Like, lay down with him, ’cause you never know what he could do to me.”

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“’Kessler says his Domestic Violence Bureau won’t stop mining jailhouse calls to bolster his cases.”I see the photos of these women with black eyes, and scars on their faces, in hospital beds as they’re basically shot, burned, sometimes run over — and that’s what drives us.’”

Kudos to Kessler and a system that is beginning to open their eyes.

1http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/03/26/jailhouse.calls.recordings/index.html?iref=allsearch

Man convicted of raping, torturing disabled sister

…”jailhouse recordings of phone calls proved he fully understood that what he had done was wrong.”

“A lot of people have been dealt a lousy hand, but people are not captive to their histories,” Finnerty said. “It was his choices, his actions that made Laura Cummings a tortured prisoner in her own home.”

Eric Persaud, Queens man who burned girlfriend’s face with hot iron, sentenced to 13 years in prison

“My actions were cowardly and there was no excuse for losing my cool,” Persaud told Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, his voice trembling.”

“When the woman refused to burn herself with the iron, Persaud stuck a towel in her mouth and burned her on both cheeks while forcing her to turn up the heat. When that wasn’t enough, he slashed her in the face with a razor blade, prosecutors say. The woman spent 11 days in the hospital.”

“Persaud called the woman hundreds of times from Rikers Island, begging her not to testify against him. Queens prosecutors retrieved recordings of the phone calls and planned to use them against Persaud if he’d gone to trial.”

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Husband wants out of jail: An Example of Extreme Battering:

© copyright 2003 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

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St. Clair County’s new domestic violence unit gaining momentum, prosecuting more cases

“The state’s attorney’s office became much more aggressive on cases where children were involved. The office requested that law enforcement officers arriving on the scene of a domestic violence call start regularly videotaping the crying, battered victims, immediately interviewing them on the scene and videotaping the damage done to property.”

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“I was arrested for Dating Violence but my girlfriend was upset and says that she made a mistake when she called the police. Can she have the domestic violence charges against me dropped?”
A. No, only the District Attorney can drop the domestic violence charges against you and this is unlikely to occur. The prosecutor, not the victim, makes the charging decision. The District Attorney’s Office prefers to file charges and let the courts decide issues of domestic violence.
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No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009-2012
All rights reserved.

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4 Comments

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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4 responses to “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE JAILHOUSE CALLS

  1. Charlene Smith

    August 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    My Grand daughter’s Baby’s Daddy is in jail for attempting to set her & their trailor on fire. She doesn’t want to testify in court or see him spend the time he is facing for this offence. She was summoned to appear in court today to give her testimony. At first she refused to answer the questions, when she did answer she made up a story that wasn’t true. I tried to reason with her about this but she is dead set on not pressing charges. They have 2 baby’s ages 3 & 1. I am very afraid for their safety as well as my Grand daughters safety. Being a survivor of domestic abuse myself I can relate to how she feels. But I want her to stand up & do the right thing for her baby’s. I want to see the abuser pay for what he has done to her. He calls her from jail of course to make her feel guilty & sorry for him. He told her it was her fault it happened. All typical of an abuser. I am very worried about him getting released without her true statement in court. I am also worried about her losing her 2 kids over all this. She says they can;t take her kids. But i believe they can. Can you tell me what his chances are of getting out of these charges.

     
    • ssofdv

      August 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Hello Charlene,

      I will answer your question first: “Can you tell me what his chances are of getting out of these charges.”

      Perhaps this is a question best answered by the Prosecutors Office. Depending on what state your grand-daughter lives in, her testimony may not be necessary to see that the batterer spends time in jail for his crime. It is understandable that she is afraid to testify, and that she may still be in love with her abuser. Sadly, this is typical of domestic abuse.

      It is very difficult for those close to the abused to reason with them. Unfortunately, they have to wake up to reality on their own. If they should live to escape, it may take another violent incident to get them to move away from abuse. Does your grand-daughter have a friend that she can confide in? Has she been referred to a domestic violence agency? Has she considered not receiving the batterer’s jail house calls? Here is the main problem presently, he is in her ear telling her lies and making her out to be the bad person in the relationship. If she would only listen to her inner reason and not his lies, perhaps she would find the strength to tell the truth in court. She may also be charged for not doing so in some states. I really cannot say for sure.

      I know how you feel – been there on both accounts. Feeling helpless in these situations produce many sleepless nights. There is a wealth of information on this site, including agencies that will help your grand-daughter move away from abuse. Is it possible to get her to visit this site? Check with your local county to see what can be done to assist her.

      If your efforts fail, please do not take it personally. We both have been there, so yes – we do understand. Pray for your family and gently introduce help if she is seeking it. Otherwise, the ultimate decisions are hers, and hers alone.
      Peace

       

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