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Unified Patriots by Bob Montgomery

I received a notice from the local court system recently ordering me to appear at a specified date and time for jury duty. So when the time rolled around I hobbled my aged self to the courthouse, signed in and waited with the other prospective jurors for the bailiff to usher us in. I had no idea whether the trial was civil or criminal or any other details. But upon entering, I observed a defense attorney with a young man in his twenties or thirties at the defense table. After a pep talk by the judge, we were treated to the prosecutor’s remarks about the charge and some things for the jurors to consider as the selection process went along.

It was then that I learned that this was a domestic battery case. The words that came out of the prosecutor’s mouth as she cited the charge against the defendant almost caused me to fall out of my seat. I sat there stunned, thinking surely I must have heard that wrong, or out of context. But a few minutes later she repeated those words and I just started shaking my head rapidly back and forth. The first group of prospective jurors the prosecutor was addressing were off to one side, so she could not see me, nor could the defense attorney. But the judge was looking straight at me.

Ultimately, they obtained a panel of jurors from the first group and I was not called upon. But had I been, I had made up my mind that I was going to speak my mind, and not about the mundane topics of “Can you be fair and impartial” and “Have you ever been in a situation, blah, blah, blah” and all that. I would have been immediately excused. Looking back, I wish I had raised my hand during her initial diatribe and asked if I had heard right and proceeded from there. But I didn’t. I blew it. I had a golden opportunity, but I was a good little citizen and dutifully filed out of the courtroom with the others who were dismissed with the thanks of the court for showing up.

Upon returning home I was still shaking my head in disbelief at what I had heard. So I went to my trusty computer and looked up the domestic battery statute. I used Google because it’s faster than going to the library and checking out the code book and wading through all that. Just typed in the search terms and one of the first entries was that my state’s domestic battery statute had been revised in 2016. So I clicked on it and got an article with the revisions highlighted, followed by the actual text of the statute. The first line of the statute was almost verbatim of what the prosecutor had said in court.
It follows:

“35-42-2-1.3. Domestic battery.
 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (f), a person who knowingly or intentionally:
o (1) touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or….”

Did any of that make an impression on you? Here it is again:

“35-42-2-1.3. Domestic battery.
 (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (f), a person who knowingly or intentionally:
o (1) touches a family or household member in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or….”

The title of the statute is “Domestic Battery”. B-A-T-T-E-R-Y.” The offense mentioned above is a Class A Misdemeanor and can result in imprisonment for up to one year. The continuing sections of the statute progress from Level 1 through Level 6 Felonies, as the evidence of injury and the ages of the perpetrator and the ….victim….are brought to bear[…]

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