As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have represented many people for domestic battery in Duval, Clay, and St. Johns County FL. Most Jacksonville domestic battery cases are a result of an unwanted touching or striking between spouses or a live-in boyfriend and girlfriend. On occasion, I have represented people that were arrested for domestic battery on another family member, such as a sibling or parent. This occurs, but it is not as common as domestic violence between couples. Very rarely do I see a case where a grandmother or grandfather is involved in domestic violence situation with a grandchild. However, it does occur. Regardless of the relationship of the parties involved, if someone calls the police about domestic violence, the police will come. More than likely, someone will be going to jail. In most of the cases that I have been involved in, someone is arrested for domestic battery. In some cases, the defendant may pick up another charge, such as Jacksonville possession of marijuana (if drugs are found) or a Florida firearm charge (if a gun is involved).
Yesterday, I read about a domestic dispute that occurred in Jacksonville that had a different outcome. In this case, “the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic dispute on the Westside Wednesday evening.” The accused left the residence with something worse than a domestic battery charge. First Coast News reported the story stating:
“Cody R. Fortney, 22, allegedly spent the day drinking in his grandmother’s trailer in the 7600 block of Old Plank Road and began arguing with her, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Chris Butler. Fortney recently moved to Jacksonville and wanted friends from his previous area of residence to also come live at his grandmother’s trailer. Officers Jim Ottinger and Tim Haire arrived on scene at 5:22 p.m., Fortney allegedly yelled ‘I have a gun’ three times and his grandmother ran screaming from the trailer. Fortney refused to exit the trailer. Ottinger, a nineteen year veteran JSO officer, said Fortney emerged with a ‘dark object’ and Ottinger fired one shot, Butler said. Ottinger struck the trailer about eight to ten feet off the ground, close to where Fortney was standing. A perimeter was established and nearby residents were evacuated. Police were eventually able to get Fortney to climb out of a window and surrender, according to Butler.”
What started out as a routine call for a domestic disturbance, turned into something much worse. The article did not state whether or not Fortney and his grandmother were involved in a physical altercation. From the article, I cannot tell what occurred between Fortney and his grandmother before the police came. If they were merely arguing and there was not any kind of assault, I do not see grounds for him to be arrested. However, the stand off with police made things much worse. Now, he is facing an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer charge, which is a felony in the State of Florida. “Police are currently searching the trailer for a gun or the ‘dark object’ that Fortney may have been holding. Thus far in the investigation, a gun has not been found.”
Once a Jacksonville criminal attorney receives this case, he or she will want to know whether or not the alleged firearm or weapon was located. There is an issue as to whether or not this is an assault with a firearm, deadly weapon or only a simple assault. There is more than one side to the story and Fortney should be presumed innocent until he proven to be guilty.