Dallas Weekly noted on November 7, 2023, that the United States Supreme Court grappled with a critical case, weighing the Second Amendment against public safety concerns in a challenge to the federal prohibition on gun possession for individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders. At the heart of the case lies the tragic reality of domestic violence. 

Advocates point to data showing a 500 percent increase in homicide risk with guns present in such situations. For victims seeking protection, the danger can be amplified.

Gun rights groups argue that any gun control law must have an analog in American history to be considered constitutional under the 2022 Bruen ruling. The government counters that the principle of disarming dangerous individuals, including those under restraining orders, has historical precedent.

The case centers on Zackey Rahimi, who challenged the gun ban after a violent incident with his girlfriend and subsequent restraining order. Despite the order, Rahimi possessed guns and engaged in further violent acts, raising concerns about public safety and the effectiveness of current laws.

Domestic violence advocates expressed outrage at the 5th Circuit’s ruling in favor of Rahimi, which they consider a threat to victims’ safety and a step back in terms of progress. Texas data reveals a rising tide of domestic violence, including an alarming number of firearm-related fatalities.

The court faces a delicate balancing act, weighing an individual’s right to bear arms against the urgent need to protect vulnerable individuals from potential harm. The stakes are high, with implications for domestic violence laws and gun control policies nationwide.

The Supreme Court is considering a critical case involving domestic violence, gun rights, and public safety. The presence of guns significantly increases the risk of homicide in domestic violence situations.

Gun rights advocates argue for historical precedent in gun control laws, while the government emphasizes public safety principles. The case of Zackey Rahimi highlights the concerns and dangers surrounding domestic violence and gun possession.

Victims’ advocates urged the court to prioritize public safety and protect vulnerable individuals.

KXAS-TV reported on October 11, 2023, that as Dallas continues its fight against domestic violence, a recent murder in a luxury high-rise cast a shadow on the progress made. Despite new laws, a slight decline in cases, and increased prevention efforts, the brutal death of Jenean Chapman served as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenge.

Chapman, 46, was found murdered in her apartment at The National, a swanky downtown building boasting glamorous restaurants and upscale living. Sisters described her move to Dallas five months prior and her marriage to a longtime acquaintance, a relationship they characterized as “on-and-off” and “rocky.”

Tragically, police reports revealed a history of violence between the couple. A 48-year-old man was arrested in Austin for his wife’s murder. 

This case highlights the importance of early intervention programs like home visits, conducted by Dallas Police in partnership with the Family Place shelter. Daniela Marez, a counselor with the shelter, emphasizes the program’s goal of “early intervention, to avoid tragedies, homicides, re-assault.”

Dallas is taking action. Chief Eddie Garcia was recognized for his support, and Tuesday saw a gathering of advocates and police to review progress. 

Tougher penalties for offenders and a new online offender registry due in January demonstrate commitment to tackling the issue. Former City Councilmember Jennifer Gates, a domestic violence leader, acknowledges the remaining work: “There are still too many cases. You can’t blame the victims… It’s why it’s important that they feel if there’s violence, that they can come forward and call for help.”

Chapman’s case is a call to action, a reminder that even in high-end spaces, domestic violence can take lives. Her sisters seek justice, while Dallas strives to ensure such tragedies become rarer, offering victims support and building a safer future for all.

Despite progress, a recent murder highlights the ongoing struggle against domestic violence in Dallas. Early intervention programs and support for victims are crucial.

New laws and a forthcoming offender registry demonstrate commitment to prevention. Dallas is moving forward but acknowledges the fight is far from over.

KDFW-TV reported on June 23, 2023, that in what could be a major step in curbing intimate partner violence, Texas lawmakers have passed a law championed by Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. The new law mandates a free, public website where people can easily check someone’s background for prior felony offenses related to assault or stalking.

The story discussed how Diann and Rick Beatty’s daughter, Alessandra, was killed by a man with a prior conviction for domestic violence. After spending years working in the advertising industry in San Francisco, the 27-year-old decided to become a nurse. 

Rick said Alessandra had broken up with her boyfriend two weeks before he murdered her. He is now serving a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. 

Another woman’s alleged abuser is behind bars after deputies said a quick-thinking store clerk took action to help her. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the victim slipped a note to the clerk, saying she was in trouble.

“The Alessandra Foundation: it was a release of emotion that neither one of us have had since we found out she was dead,” Rick said. “The Alessandra Foundation: knowing that her legacy is a helper and defender of mankind, her legacy is saving lives.”

For the Beattys, the passage of this law is one state down and 49 to go. They say it is not something they want to be doing but something they must be doing. 

The website will be run by the Texas Department of Public Safety and is expected to be available to the public on September 1.

NBC News reported on October 25, 2023, that a Dallas man was picking up breakfast for his children when police officers pulled him over, beat him, and used a stun gun after they mistook him for a domestic violence suspect with a similar name. The 27-year-old single father of four children was then wrongly arrested even after police realized their mistake, according to a federal lawsuit he filed last week against the city and multiple police officers.

The incident on October 16, 2021, cost Hayes his home and his job as a security guard, according to the lawsuit. The Dallas Police Department said it does not comment on pending litigation. 

The city and the police union did not immediately reply to requests for comment. The man said he was driving to a restaurant a few blocks from his home for some French toast and bacon when two Dallas police officers stopped him for failing to signal at a stop sign.

The officers, Walter Paul Guab and Holly Harris, are named in the suit, and Hayes called the officers’ reasoning for pulling him over “suspicious” and “obviously manufactured,” the lawsuit says. Instead, he believes he was racially profiled.

The man gave Guab his driver’s license and told him he had a lawfully registered firearm with him, according to the lawsuit. The suit says Guab handed the driver’s license to Harris, who failed to run it through the computer database in her vehicle. 

Instead, Harris mistook the man for another man named “Sylvester,” who had a family violence warrant. Acting on the incorrect information, Guab suddenly reached inside the man’s car and tried to open the driver’s side door, according to the lawsuit. 

The man was “alarmed by this sudden escalation in aggression” and repeatedly asked what was happening, the suit says. As the two officers were “manhandling” the man, several more officers arrived and frantically started screaming “gun” when they spotted the man’s firearm in his vehicle, the lawsuit says.

The body camera videos show the officers yanking the man out of his vehicle and onto the ground, with his head smashed against the curb before they place him in handcuffs. One officer is seen with his knee on the man’s neck. 

The lawsuit says some of the officers kicked, punched, and used their Tasers on the man. During the melee, the man’s arm was pulled from its socket, according to the lawsuit. 

At certain points in the video, the man is heard begging for help. The officers use a zip tie to bind the man’s feet and place him in the back of a police car, the video shows. 

It was then that Harris ran the man’s driver’s license. When she realized her mistake, she allegedly said, “F—, we got the wrong guy.”

Officers Guab and Harris could not be reached at the phone numbers listed for them.

In one of the videos, three officers are heard discussing whether the man is a felon and what charges they can bring against him.

The lawsuit says the man was ultimately charged with resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a weapon and held in jail for several days. The charges were dismissed more than a year later, according to the lawsuit. 

On October 2, 2023, KXAS-TV reported that the Houston Rockets suspended Kevin Porter Jr. indefinitely following his arrest on felony assault and strangulation charges. The 23-year-old Porter pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on October 16th.

The decision comes after Porter allegedly attacked his former WNBA player girlfriend Kysre Gondrezick in a New York City hotel room, leaving her with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut. General manager Rafael Stone emphasized the gravity of the allegations, stating that Porter “cannot be part of the Houston Rockets” until the situation is resolved.

While Porter’s talent is undeniable, his career has been marred by off-court incidents. This is not his first run-in with trouble, with previous instances involving a loaded handgun, a heated locker room outburst, and a COVID-19 protocol violation.

Stone clarified that the NBA’s domestic violence policy will now dictate the next steps for Porter and the team. He declined to say whether Porter has a future with the Rockets, citing the need to comply with league policy.

WFAA-TV reported on July 11, 2023, that Officer Javier Granados, who was arrested in November 2022 on a charge of assault bodily injury – family violence, has been officially fired from the Dallas Police Department. According to department officials, Granados’ termination stemmed from “escalating a disturbance which resulted in a police response, and engaging in adverse conduct when he was arrested.” 

Officials did not share details of the specific incident. Granados, who joined the force in September 2019 and was assigned to the Southeast Police Division, was placed on administrative leave after his arrest, pending an internal affairs investigation. 

The department finalized his termination on July 11, 2023. This case highlights the Dallas Police Department’s commitment to holding officers accountable for their actions, both on and off duty. 

Domestic violence is a serious issue, and individuals in positions of authority should be held to even higher standards when it comes to upholding the law and protecting the community.

Domestic Violence Penalties in Dallas

Domestic violence is more commonly known as family violence in most local courts in Texas. Whatever terminology you use, it is a major crime to deal with.

Common family violence offenses in Dallas include:

  • Domestic Assault (Tex. Penal Code § 22.01): This encompasses intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury, threatening, or physically contacting a family member, household member, or dating partner.
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault (Tex. Penal Code § 22.02): This involves a more serious level of assault, such as using a deadly weapon or causing significant bodily harm to a family member, household member, or dating partner.
  • Violation of a Protective Order (Tex. Penal Code § 25.07): Knowingly or intentionally disregarding the terms of a protective order, such as contacting the protected person or going near their home or workplace, constitutes a violation.
  • Stalking (Tex. Penal Code § 42.072): Repeatedly engaging in threatening conduct towards a specific person, causing them to fear harm, and exceeding what a reasonable person would tolerate, falls under stalking. This includes cyberstalking through electronic communication for harassment purposes.
  • Child Abuse (Tex. Penal Code § 22.04): Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causing any form of serious bodily harm or injury to a child or elderly adult constitutes child abuse.

Family violence penalties in Dallas, Texas vary based on the vulnerability of the victim, meaning were they elderly, disabled, or a child? Weapon use and whether a weapon is involved during the offense, the severity of violence and degree of violence and injury that occurred, and an alleged offender’s criminal history such as prior convictions can all play roles in charging decisions. 

Potential penalties for misdemeanor offenses include:

  • Class C Misdemeanor: Fine up to $500
  • Class B Misdemeanor: Jail sentence up to 180 days and/or fine up to $2,000
  • Class A Misdemeanor: Jail sentence up to 1 year and/or fine up to $4,000

Felony offenses can result in:

  • Third-Degree Felony: Prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or fine up to $10,000
  • Second-Degree Felony: Prison sentence of up to 20 years and/or fine up to $10,000
  • First-Degree Felony: Prison sentence of up to 99 years or life and/or fine up to $10,000

Committing multiple family violence offenses within a year can result in a third-degree felony charge.

Domestic Violence Defense in Dallas, TX

Are you currently dealing with any kind of arrest relating to domestic violence or family violence in the greater Dallas area? Do not wait to contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy so you can immediately begin formulating a defense in court against these allegations.

Our firm understands the many ways in which domestic violence arrests can impact a person’s life and we will know how to help you minimize the consequences relating to your arrest. You can call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.