Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Judge Apte "gets" domestic violence

Judge Alan S. Apte moved from Juvenile Court to a Criminal division in the Orange County courthouse at the beginning of the year. After watching him for the past 2 1/2 months, CourtWatch is pleased to have him here.

Judge Apte routinely asks probing questions, makes thorough explanations to the participants in his courtroom, shows compassion to victims, treats everyone professionally and with respect, and exhibits a good understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence.

CourtWatch monitored two hearings in the judge's courtroom related to the case of State v. Bryan Deangelo Lee last week.  Mr. Lee is charged with Aggravated Battery and Tampering w/Witness in an assault on the mother of his 2-yr old child. Defense Counsel Christina Shepherd filed a motion to set bond (defendant was still in custody), modify victim contact, and delete the GPS requirement that was imposed at his initial appearance. The State requested pretrial detention.

The defense requested a modification of victim contact in order to enable the defendant to visit with his 2-yr old child. Judge Apte asked if the defendant and the child's mother (the victim in this case) were married. They are not. He took the time to explain to the defendant that unless paternity has been legally established, the defendant has no legal right for contact with the child. CourtWatch rarely sees judges in criminal cases inform the parties about what the law allows in these situations. The motion was withdrawn.

Ms. Shepherd then requested a reasonable bond be set, and argued that the defendant could only afford a $5,000 bond. He claimed to have a job selling magazines door-to-door and in a good week, makes $500. He also said he is unable to pay his child support obligations. Judge Apte asked what he reported his income to be on the Affadavit of Indigency he completed when he requested the services of the Public Defender. He admitted he wrote $0.

The State then presented testimony from the victim's mother and sister who were fearful for the safety of the victim. They testified to injuries and property damage they've seen in the past, as well as threats made by the defendant.  The State also presented evidence that the defendant had violated his "No Contact" Order by making 267 phone calls to the victim's cell phone since his arrest on January 21, 2010.

The victim testified on behalf of the defendant and said she was not afraid of the defendant, admitted that law enforcement had been called on previous occasions and that he did hit her, and claimed that she and the defendant had never discussed her testimony. She had filed a declination of prosecution.

A 15-minute recording of one of the many jail calls was then played in court. In the call, the defendant blamed the victim for not getting him out of jail, told her to claim she hit him first, and demanded that she get get him out. He cursed and yelled at the victim during the call.

Judge Apte asked several probing questions about the defendant's history which included approximately 13 arrests (some of which were batteries on different victims).

Defense Counsel Christina Shepherd argued that the cost of GPS monitoring was burdensome and requested a $5,000 bond.

Assistant State Attorney Eric Trabin argued that there were no conditions of release that could protect the victim, and noted that the defendant's having violated the no contact order while in jail 267 times is indicative of the his likelihood of non-compliance with any conditions that the judge might impose. He requested no bond be granted.

When requesting pretrial detention of a defendant, the State has a two-pronged burden. They must demonstrate that proof is evident that the defendant committed the crime(s) for which they're charged and the presumption is great that the victim/community would not be safe if the defendant is released - no matter what restrictions might be placed upon them by the judge. Another factor the judge may consider is whether or not the defendant is a flight risk.

Judge Apte granted bond in the amount of $25,000, ordered GPS Monitoring and Home Confinement, and revoked his phone privileges at the jail. He explained that there was insufficient evidence presented at the hearing to cover the "proof evident" prong mentioned above.

Two days later, Mr. Lee was back in court on the State's Motion to Revoke Bond because he called the victim after having been admonished that "no contact" truly does mean "NO CONTACT." Judge Apte told the defendant he would be found in contempt of court and given 364 days in jail if he called her again. He also remarked that hopefully the jail would prohibit Mr. Lee from having access to a telephone since his phone privileges were revoked at the previous hearing.

Bond was revoked.

Kudos to the judge for holding this perpetrator accountable.

Kudos to the prosecutors and advocates at the State Attorney's Office who cared about protecting this victim, in spite of her initial efforts on behalf of the defendant. I'm told that she is now a "cooperative" witness for the prosecution.

Lee's trial is now scheduled for June 21, 2010.

25 comments:

  1. I am the so called "victim" of this case. I do not consider myself the victim because Bryan never harmed me physically. I do not appreciate the person writing this article about Bryan. You do not know the facts and no one but me knows the details about what happened and why exactly he is incarcerated. Everyone is making him out to be this bad person that he is not. That is whats wrong with ignorant people nowadays that judge only by what they hear and not by the facts. So I would appreciate it if the articles would stop being based on opinions and based on facts instead. Thank You!

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  2. Also, How is the state attorney protecting the "victim" when they are putting the "victims" business out in the open?

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  3. To the victim......maybe one day you will look back and see that the system is trying to protect your safety. I don't want to read your name in the paper that you have been murdered by this man his is a danger to you.
    Here's hoping you stay safe!

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  4. If he hurt me, I would want him to suffer in there. Because he did not and this was a big misunderstanding, he is sitting in there but for the wrong purposes.

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  5. 7/1/2011
    Well this Judge is something else. A 2 day trial for video taping police. Police steal evidence, his camera; it disappeared, yea right. Arrested for resisting w/o violence. Cop even said he didn't resist. The arrest was unlawful in the first place. Sentenced to 30 days in jail. This guy should go back to family court where he came from.

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  6. http://www.infowars.com/copwatch-activist-found-not-guilty/

    Well look at this, a Judge that has a chip on his shoulder, do you take this off your web site after holding this so called legal criminal as a god? Really you people are that stupid or do you just play along with the downfall of our true freedom's in hopes of a piece of the pie? Judge you are being watch by God and what you do on that stand will come back to you ten fold. You are being watched repent now and remove this guy you have unjustly accused of a crime and repent for the day of the lord is at hand..

    For what you do to one man will be done to you 10 times. If I where you and I am not I would run as fast as I could and remove him from his place of unjust holding. You should have to do 1 month in jail * 10 sir.

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    1. He abuses his power !! What makes him think he is so above eveyrone, didnt he go to jail for illegal actions a few years ago?

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    2. We are organizing a protest in the front of the courthouse and we like to bring as many people as we can to show that WE THE PEOPLE are not going to put up with injustice anymore .if you and others like to join let me know, thanks

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  7. I can relate to this , judge apte went ofter my son and he is sitting in prison for 4 yrs because of an accident. The case was unfair from day one and continues to be unfair.

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    1. WE are organizing a protest in the front of the courthouse Oct. 1 2013 if you like to join us let me know, thanks, God bless

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  8. If Judge Apte doesnt like you or your appearance you're screwed. He is one of the most biased judges I have ever encountered. All he cares about is being re elected. He sent one of my family members to prison simply because the other side had a larger crowd in the courtroom and he was thinking of all of those votes.

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    1. we are organizing a protest in the front of the courthouse Oct. 1 2013 if you like to join us let me know, thanks God bless, I put this on CL so other people can join us

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    2. Any more protests coming up? I am in!!! I am a victim here and have lost my son for nothing, no reason at all. I just want justice and the truth so I will do anything to expose what these judges do to innocent people.

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    3. I also have lost my two boys due to Judge Alan Apte. July 11, 2014. He did a huge injustice to two innocent children. He did not review the previous history of the case
      before placing my children in a dangerous situation with a man who has history of abuse. Within the first few hours these children were placed with their father, there was a physical altercation between father and son that was videoed by the other son and Judge Apte would not let the video into the court room. Pictures of bruises on my son were also not allowed into the court as proof there was abuse. Expalin THAT!!!! Thats the kind of Judges who are suppose to protect children.,.. I am on my EIGHT Judge and all other seven Judges could see the character of my ex husband... But Judge Apte just overlooked the history of abuse and placed two innocent children in harms way!!! Please feel free to contact me ttlj1966@aol.com if you have any information on how to get help in getting children out of these situations that this Judge seems to repeat putting children in!!

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  9. My experience with Judge Apte has been one that I have nightmares about daily. My child has been taken away from me because of lies and malicious intent on the part of my ex wife. If the judge were to look at my case and read everything and watch the videos I have provided him, he would make the decision to give me back my only child.
    Judge Apte, you just pass the buck and extend injunctions for no reason at all but just to keep the case on the docket for funding purposes. Do you job for which you were elected for and read my case and then I guarantee you that you will make a quick decision. READ THE CASE!!!!!! Stop keeping my child away from me because I did nothing wrong sir. They are all lies and you will see this yourself if you do your job and read my case. None of this ever happened to my child and if it did I would be the first one in jail because no one touches my child, NO ONE!!!!
    Judge Apte:::: Please read some articles and/or books about parental alienation syndrome and brainwashing a child. Do your homework before you take an innocent mans' only child away from him for this long. I beg you to do your job instead of worrying about your own political well being. You are not taking an item of furniture away from me, you are taking my child away from me, he is my everything!!!!!! The more you take him away from me the more he is being controlled to hate his father like a robot Judge Apte. Do your research, read my case and make a decision instead of extending my injunction when you feel like it. The real victim here is my son and I but you fail to see this. No one has ever touched my son, EVER!!!! Question my ex, question my son, question his step dad and you will find out the truth in my case. Have you even done anything on my case, read anything, or watched the videos of my son while being interviewed by DCF? Have you listened to witness audios by the detective with hostile witnesses that even side with me, saying that I am a good dad and I would never harm my son????? All I ask is for the truth to come out. After the truth comes out Judge Apte, you can do whatever you want. At least my name would be clear and it should be clear. READ MY CASE!!!!! GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!!!!!

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    1. I can totally relate to your feeling, as this very thing has happened to me!!!

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  10. Some people deserve not to see their child or children Mr. Apte and I agree with you 100 percent. BUT NOT ME!!!! Look at the other side making these allegations and their motivation to make these allegations your honor. Give me back my only child. I promise you that is the right decision and I promise you that you will be appalled at the other side for taking my son away from me for this long. This story will go public I assure you that your honor because the system doesn't work, it is flawed and it takes an innocent father away from his child. Anyone can get an injunction against anyone these days. The first judge made a huge mistake by taking my son away from me, please do not do the same here. My ex's attorney knowingly lied to the court to get what he wants and this is being exposed right now as we speak with the Florida Bar. Trust me when I tell you I am all in, I AM ALL IN. I want justice and I want the truth to come out ASAP. THe more you wait and extend this injunction the more unjust this becomes. . You can take my life for all I care your honor , just as long as my son knows the truth.

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    1. I will definately be going public, I have written letters to all news stations, Dr. Phil, Nancy Grace, Greta, and many more. I have been involved in this corrupt system since Oct. 2008 and after being the sole care giver emotionally, FINANCIALLY, physcially for my two boys for the past six years Judge Apte is assigned to my case (8th judge in six years) and decided the best interest of these two boys is to be placed with their abusive father who has had 3 DUI's, workman's comp fraud, domestic violence,etc... the rap sheet is miles long on this man, but the case was not studied by Judge Apte before a decision was made. Within the first few hours my son was being abused by his father and Judge Apte was told in court that there was video and pictures of bruises and he would not look at either!!!! I am also gathering other VICTIMS that have been in this situation in Orange County and we are starting a group to fight for JUSTICE!!! It will become huge in the Orlando area, and will be public all over Orange County! I will not stop until Justice is served for my boys and these Judges who take the safety of these inncocent children so very lightly...like its no big deal!!! After all its not their children lives that are in danger!!!

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  11. I beg for the judge to please read everything in front of him as my new years wish and prayer, that is all I want in 2014. I want to be re-united with my son more than anything else in the world. Your honor, please find your heart and search for the truth instead of doing the simple thing of extending my injunction once again. Just read , hear and watch all the evidence in front of you instead of just passing the buck at me and my son's expense and just downplaying what my son means to me!!! I don't know if you know what this feels like but I wish you would just put yourself in my shoes for once. I did nothing wrong here and yet you are not reading the evidence in front of you!!! Why do I need to spend thousands of dollars more in order to prove my case when everything is right in front of you? Is this just political? It's a safe bet for you to just extend the injunction rather than make a decision isn't it? Once again at my expense and my son's expense. I don't know if you have children but once again I believe that a person has to go through what I have been through to really understand how horrible this system is. Happy new year your honor, please do not just think about your election and political career, re-unite me with my son!! What has happened here is a huge sin and everyone has a judgment day and I just hope you do the right thing in 2014. I have cried enough, missed enough and died enough so please just read the evidence your honor. You cannot bring back the 16 months that I have lost without my son, you cannot bring back countless Thanksgivings, Christmas', New Years, birthdays and father's days etc... However, you can do the right thing and re-unite an innocent father with his beloved son this new year. Happy new year.

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  12. I am begging you Judge Apte, please read all the material in front of you and you WILL make a decision. I want my only child back in my life. Take my life please but just have him know the truth about everything. READ THE CASE!!!!

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  13. Yesterday was a good day in court where we asked for records to be furnished to us to show the court how ridiculous these allegations are. The attorney for this company/government agency is trying to hide the documents from me because they know how dubious their investigation has been. The judge even asked their attorney why she did not bring in the documents and the attorney had no answer for him. The agency she represents is funded by the government and it is in their best interest to keep files and cases open for funding purposes, meanwhile I haven't seen my son for 404 days now.
    These documents are necessary and both sides agree for the documents to be given to your honorable judge Apte and yet the agency tries to hide behind the word "privilege"!!! These documents prove that my son was diagnosed with "adjustment disorder" only and nothing else. So why in the world did this agency continue seeing him for months and months if there was no absolute findings of abuse??? You honor, I am very happy that you are now seeing what is going on here and how an agency of the government sometimes cannot be trusted. This agency has cost me 404 days without my son. Thank you for seeing what I have gone through these last 18 months sir. I appreciate it and now we need to make a decision. Like I said, do as you want and make any decision you want but all I want here is for my son to know the truth about everything then I will once and for all be a happy man. Thanks.

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  14. your honor the other side wants a guardian ad litum to interfere in my case and buy more time so my child can be brainwashed even more. We are ready to present our case with or without a guardian ad litum. I am dead broke because of this whole mess so please let us just present our case and you can make a decision. Do not let them buy more time to install even more stuff into my child's head your honor. I trust your judgment your honor but we are ready to present all these lies and we can do it for you in an hour you honor. I want my son back sir and I haven't even seen him in over 13 months now. Please just hear the case and lets move forward with the final hearing in this case. thanks

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  15. Your honor, instead of extending this injunction why can't you just hear our case? Extending it just buys the other party time to brainwash my child even more. Your honor, please do some research on brainwashing children and parental alienation syndrome instead of taking away my child from me and making me suffer. What if it was your only child sir?????

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  16. Read the case material Judge Apte. Stop extending my injunction. What if it was your child and you in this situation? I don't think you would like it that much. The more you extend it the more they brainwash my child. I have had enough of this system which doesn't work. Read the material and you will be able to see what has occurred here.

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  17. The inhonerable Apte who shouldnt be a judge at all because he is continuously putting women and children in danger, gave half custody to the man who put a gun to my head and threatened to shoot me while I was pregnant with his son, KICKED ME off my bed when I was pregnant, punched me and knocked me off of my feet in front of my daughter, busted my lip in front of our other daughter has strangled me and stalked me ..i finally get the strength to leave the situation after 8 on and off years, barely get an injunction on the guy probably because apte could tell he was lying, got no temp child support because apte wanted me to get it through paternity court, when i go to paternity court, Apte replaces my judge with himself (when he could have just given me the dang temp support like he could have, he just wanted me and the kids to struggle) and after knowing the abuse I have been through, gives the dad HALF CUSTODY instead of weekend visitation like I asked, because the domestic violence was between me and the dad, not the kids. Now the kids are begging to be with me alone and complain on this guy and his new girlfriend fighting. Now my kids have to see the same thing i tried to stop them from seeing, in their dads house. Way to go judge i would have been better off never going to court. cant wait til your judgement day.

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