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Man arrested in domestic violence outburst also hurts deputy

Violence is a self-perpetuating emotional explosion that is obviously difficult for most people to control. Once it triggers, it's liable to attack whatever comes in its path. That's what apparently happened in a North Carolina community recently when a domestic violence case also turned into an assault against a deputy sheriff. A 50-year-old man from Hope Mills was arrested and charged with assault by strangulation, second-degree kidnapping and assault on a female.

Cumberland County authorities arrested the man after he committed an assault on his wife. He tried to strangle her by reportedly grabbing her by the throat and pushing her up against a wall. When a deputy tried to handcuff the accused, he became aggressive and in the process the deputy injured his knee. The deputy was taken to a hospital where he is reported to be having surgery. It would not be surprising to see additional charges tacked on relating to the injury to the sheriff.

The charges surrounding a violent crime can often be duplicative in this kind of case. For example, the assault by strangulation charge appears to consume the same acts contained in the assault on a female charge. Therefore, it may be argued that one of the charges cannot be maintained. As a practical matter, a prosecutor will often drop one of the two charges in negotiations, based on the argument that the one crime covers and consumes the other.

It's also questionable how the second-degree kidnapping charge is supported. Unless there was something that happened prior to the assault that's not being reported, the kidnapping charge appears to be out-of-place, and may be stretching the facts a bit too far. Determination of that question, however, remains in abeyance until defense counsel can review the police report and other papers in the case.

The kidnapping charge may also be subject to removal by the prosecutor if defense counsel engages in early and effective negotiations to obtain a plea agreement. The process in North Carolina and throughout the country, including for domestic violence cases, is highly dependent on a healthy system of plea negotiations between defense counsel and the prosecution. This usually means reduced charges for the accused in return for a guilty plea and an expedited resolution of the matter.

Source: sfgate.com, "NC man arrested for attacking wife, hurting deputy," March 28, 2013

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