Arrested for Victim or Witness Intimidation?
Witness intimidation is one of the most complicated areas of domestic violence law. The actual crime is defined in Penal Code Section 136.1 (see the link on the main page), but there are a lot of complexities to this. For example, is it witness intimidation to ask you spouse or husband not to testify in a criminal action against you? A spouse generally has the right to refuse to testify against his or her husband. California law makes an exception to this general rule for domestic violence cases. However, the power of the courts to impose contempt sanctions on a spouse who still refuses to testify is severely limited. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled (U.S. v. Doss, No. 07-50334 (1-14-11)) that there is nothing “corrupting” about one spouse to ask another not to testify. Still, this is a gray area of domestic violence law.
If the complaining victim or witness in your criminal cases wishes not to testify against you, by far the best way to handle this issue in California is to hire a domestic violence attorney to represent that victim or witness. Attorney Joseph T. Rhea is a zealous advocate for domestic violence witnesses who wish to assert their rights under California law. Call or contact the office for more information.