A man facing domestic abuse charges for attacking his estranged girlfriend tried to get out from under his impending conviction with 300 carefully worded apologies, according to court papers.
Defendant Darrell Smith is facing burglary and assault charges after he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home, and attacked her. The arrest follows four other incidents of domestic violence that his ex-girlfriend filed against him over the years, according to officials from Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office.
Yet, just as prosecutors were preparing for trial, Smith’s ex began having misgivings about the case and “is refusing to cooperate with the prosecution.”
Prosecutors checked her phone records and quickly found out why: Since his arrest, Smith’s logged more than 300 telephone calls with his former girlfriend from prison — violating an order of protection that prohibits any contact.
The calls weren’t threatening, but “expressions of love and concern,” according to court papers.
But, after finding that the calls had undermined their case, prosecutors saw them as flowery-worded threats, and asked a judge to allow them to use the victim’s grand jury testimony — which was taken before all the lovey-dovey telephone calls were made — if she refuses to testify at trial.
Following a hearing, Judge Matthew J. D’Emic found that the phone calls, however heartfelt, were a form of coercion.
“When an accused procures the silence of a witness against him, he should not be permitted to gain from his wrong,” D’Emic wrote in his findings on Sept. 27. “Thus, if other competent testimony of the witness exists, it may be used to balance the wrongful action.
“In this case, [Smith] called the victim over 300 times in violation of a court order. This onslaught of attention cannot be viewed in a vacuum, but understood in relation to the surrounding circumstances. The court has been shown, by clear and convincing evidence that the wrongdoing of the defendant has caused the victim to stop cooperating with the prosecution.”
Attempts to reach Smith’s Legal Aid attorney Paul Liu were unsuccessful by late Friday.
Bonds … bail bonds
A licensed Brooklyn bail bondsman and his assistant were seeing things from the other side of a jail cell door on Sept. 17 when they were arrested for overcharging their clients.
After receiving repeated complaints that Kisha Dunkley, 35, and employee Andrew Wright, 28, operating out of Dunn Bail Bonds on Court Street, were gouging the families of criminal defendants looking to get their loved ones out of jail, members of the Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office created a carefully prepared “test” to see if the allegations were true.
Prosecutors built two fictitious criminal cases with two fictitious defendants whose names were entered into the state’s Unified Court System computer database, listing $10,000 bail for each defendant.
Prosecutors then sent in detectives as family members of the bogus defendants, trying to get their fictitious family members out of the clink.
According to state law, Dunkley and Wright are required a receive a $3,000 deposit from the family of a defendant facing a $10,000 bail and charge a flat $830 fee.
Prosecutors allege that Dunkley and Wright told investigators working the first fake robbery case that they only had to deposit $1,500 — just half the legal requirement — and charged them a $1,360 fee, about $500 more than they should have.
In the second case, Dunkley and Wright asked for a $1,400 deposit and charged undercover investigators $1,160 in fees, prosecutors allege.
But when they posted bail on the two cases, they signed sworn affidavits and testified under oath that they received the $3,000 deposits and only charged fees of $860.
Prosecutors charged Dunkley and Wright with perjury for lying under oath and falsifying business records.
If convicted, they each could face seven years in prison.
It was unclear if the two men had made bail by late Friday. Attempts to reach their attorney were unsuccessful by late Friday.
©2010 Community News Group
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