As an Assistant District Attorney, Anonymous Prosecutor has specialized in prosecuting crimes against women, including sex crimes, domestic violence and child abuse, as well as homicide, in New York City and its suburbs.
Now that Rihanna and Chris Brown have reconciled, it begs the question: will the assault case against Chris Brown go forward? His court date is scheduled for March 5, and the District Attorney’s office in L.A. has gone on record saying that they will do “further investigation” in an attempt to get all the evidence in order.
Domestic violence cases are notoriously hard to prosecute because the victims are often unwilling to cooperate. It’s unclear whether Rihanna will testify against Brown. Their reconciliation would indicate that–for better or for worse–she’s forgiven him for the assault (I should probably throw in a few “allegedlys” there, but it seems indisputable at this point that the assault took place and that Chris Brown was the perpetrator).
I asked our resident expert on domestic violence, Anonymous Prosecutor, to answer a few basic questions about what might happen to this case:
Q: Can the D.A. prosecute Chris Brown if Rihanna refuses to testify?
A: The D.A. can absolutely prosecute Chris Brown without Rihanna’s testimony. A good D.A.’s office will prosecute domestic violence offenders even if the victim does not cooperate. The defendant must still be held accountable for what he did, and he poses a threat to women that he may abuse in the future.
Q: If she doesn’t take the stand, do they still have a case?
A: The prosecutor can proceed as it does with a murder case, in which the victim is not present (for obvious reasons). Convictions are obtained through other evidence – 911 calls, medical records, physcial evidence from the crime scene, other witnesses, etc.
Q: Can Rihanna be compelled to testify? Or prosecuted if she doesn’t co-operate with the D.A.?
A: The victim can be compelled to testify, but this is hardly ever done for victims of domestic violence, especially where there is other evidence that can be used against the defendant. The punishment for refusing to testify is jail time, which is not sought for victims of domestic violence except in rare cases.