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Victim refusing to testify against her spouse in assault case

Because a conviction generally cannot be based on hearsay, the police are often unable to prove a domestic violence case after the complaining spouse or girlfriend changes her mind and refuses to testify. That common development, which disrupts and negates a lot of police work in New York and nationwide daily, occurred again in an assault and harassment case. It involves New York Giants former offensive lineman Luke Petticoat and his wife Jennifer.

Petticoat was arrested for allegedly roughing up his wife and tossing her out of their parked car in Manhattan at 4:45 a.m. on Aug. 2. Now, however, the wife refuses to cooperate with the police. That means that, as mad as she was on Aug. 2, she now will not testify against her husband, making the arrest and prosecution a lost effort.

He recently appeared in a Manhattan court with his lawyer. The lawyer told the judge that he expected the charges to be dismissed because the wife was not cooperating. Petticoat was under a limited restraining order but was allowed to move back into his home with his wife.

Sources said that Petticoat, who weighs a hulking 310 pounds, and is 6'6" tall, had accused his wife of infidelity when he threw her out of the car. Jennifer Petticoat had told cops that her 37-year-old husband of 13 years threw her handbag in her face after throwing her. She said she hurt her wrists and elbow by bracing herself on the cobblestone. He drove away and she took a cab directly to the First Precinct station house, authorities said. He was charged with aggravated misdemeanor harassment.

In New York and nationally, it's common practice for a spouse or girlfriend to complain to police about an assault and then later refuse to cooperate. Police and prosecutors have tried in different ways to try and get the victim's initial complaint on the record as evidence without having to have the witness in court. But that doesn't usually work for a number of reasons. For one thing, the defendant's counsel will object to the entry of such material because it's hearsay and because he loses his right to cross-examine the victim if a written statement is entered without her presence.

Source: New York Daily News, Charges expected to be dismissed against former Giant who was arrested for 'tossing wife out of parked car after accusing her of cheating', Shayna Jacobs, Oct. 15, 2013

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