National Domestic Violence Hotline Had Its Busiest Year Ever

The National Domestic Violence Hotline received more than half a million calls, texts and online chats in 2018 — marking its busiest year ever.

The 573,670 calls and other communications were a 36 percent increase from 2017, according to the hotline, which has provided 24-hour, year-round support since 1996 for individuals affected by relationship abuse.

Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones attributed the uptick to several major news stories, such as the allegations of domestic violence against the R&B singer R. Kelly and former White House staff secretary Rob Porter — allegations Kelly and Porter have denied — but also to an evolving cultural mindset in which survivors no longer feel a need to stay silent about abuse, prompted by the #MeToo movement that began in 2017.

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WHO Finds Violence Against Women Is 'Shockingly' Common

“Thirty-five percent of women around the world have been raped or physically abused, according to statistics the World Health Organization released Thursday. About 80 percent of the time this violence occurs in the home, at the hands of a partner or spouse.”
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Ending Domestic Abuse with Loveisrespect

“One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Loveisrespect is a “text for help” service designed to support young people in building healthy relationships and, ultimately, ending dating abuse. Sponsored by Mary Kay.”
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Court says drug dog’s sniff at front door is unconstitutional search

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect’s property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search, a decision which may limit how investigators use dogs’ sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell.
The high court split 5-4 on the decision to uphold the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling throwing out evidence seized in the search of Joelis Jardines’ Miami-area house. That search was based on an alert by Franky the drug dog from outside the closed front door.  The defendant was susequently charged with trafficking in marijuana.
Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government’s gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage.
“The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home,” Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority. “And the officers here had all four of their feet and all four of their companion’s, planted firmly on that curtilage — the front porch is the classic example of an area intimately associated with the life of the home.”

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Judge denies college student’s self-defense bid in killing of South Miami man

A former Miami Dade College student who stabbed a South Miami man to death lost his bid for immunity under Florida’s self-defense law.
A judge on Thursday ruled that James Arauz, 23, did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Vincent Pravata in October 2009. Arauz claimed that Pravata, who acted as a mentor and had penned a letter of recommendation for an internship, made sexual advances and chased him around the man’s house.
Arauz’s defense attorney can still argue self-defense before a jury. Trial is set for May 13.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny pointed out that Arauz, after stabbing Pravata, meticulously cleaned up the crime scene, stole the man’s credit card and went on a shopping spree seemingly to impress a girlfriend.
And Arauz never called police and lied to detectives and others about what happened, the judge said.
“Taken in their totality, these actions do not reflect someone who had simply been trying to protect himself from death or seriously bodily injury,” Colodny wrote in her five-page-order. “Rather, they reflect a consciousness of guilt and an attempt to avoid legal consequences.”

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South Beach ‘party princess’ DUI suspect wants judge booted off case

The young woman accused of killing a South Beach chef in a hit-and-run car crash wants a judge booted from her case.
Lawyers for Karlie Tomica, 20, says Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens’ comment that Tomica “made choices to drink” created a “well-founded” fear that she will not receive a fair and impartial trial.
Attorneys in the case are slated to be appear before the judge Wednesday.
Sanchez-Llorens made the comment last month during a hearing in which she raised Tomica’s bond and placed her on house arrest.
Prosecutors say Tomica, driving with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, plowed into Stefano Riccioletti as the chef crossed Collins Avenue.
Tomica kept driving, ignoring a motorist who followed her, imploring her to pull over. The good Samaritan called police, who arrested Tomica at her Miami Beach condo, prosecutors said.
She refused to take a breathalyzer test at the scene, prosecutors said, and later fell asleep, snoring loudly, in a chair at the Miami Beach police station. The case of Tomica, who described herself as a “party princess” on Twitter, has drawn national headlines.
Tomica was originally charged with leaving the scene of an accident. When toxicology reports returned, prosecutors on Feb. 15 filed a formal DUI manslaughter charge.
At that hearing, Sanchez-Llorens raised the woman’s bond after hearing an account of the crash from prosecutors.
Defense attorney Mark Shapiro, in his motion, said the judge’s statements “demonstrate that the court has pre-judged her guilty.”

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