A South Florida judge grabbed center stage recently when, in adjudicating a domestic violence incident between a Plantation couple, he ordered the husband to take his wife out on a date to Red Lobster.
Broward County Circuit Judge John Hurley’s order also required the man to buy his spouse a birthday care and flowers and the couple to undergo marriage counseling.
That sentence quickly garnered media reaction from across the country, with stories ranging from the flip and frivolous to the serious condemnation of Hurley for making light of an ultra-serious problem in the United States.
One article termed Hurly a “perceptive judge” who accurately appraised what was a relatively minor incident and resolved it through “creative sentencing.” Another essentially lampooned the couple’s spat and called the judge’s order “a new way to stimulate the economy here in South Florida.”
That view in emphasizing the minor nature of the couple’s spat was far from universally shared. One commentator stated that, “Domestic violence should always be taken seriously,” with the writer terming Hurley a “moron” and calling for him to be impeached or recalled.
Many other responses echoed that sentiment, with one calling Hurley’s solution “inappropriate for a court of law.”
Domestic abuse is unique and sensitive in every instance, with, often, a complex interplay between allegations of violence and other family law issues. Whether Judge Hurley’s response was appropriate or inappropriately irreverent will continue to be debated, but this much is certain: Domestic violence in itself is always serious, and a proper solution must always be focused on the unique context of what happened in a given case.
An experienced Miami family law attorney can answer questions and provide further information.
Source: The Oracle, “Courts need to take domestic violence seriously,” Feb. 8, 2012