ARRESTED UNJUSTLY JUST BECAUSE OF AN ACCUSATION
Welcome to “Healing From Within” with host Sheryl Glick author of Life Is No Coincidence and The Living Spirit Answers For Healing and Infinite Love which shares stories of spiritual awakening spiritual communication healing energies miracles and ways to utilize your intuition for greater health and prosperity and welcome to Amy Beth Ballon author of Fabulous to Framed which shares with us that all too often an innocent person is arrested simply because the police are called and must arrest someone not always the perpetrator and there has been an increase in the number of women being arrested because of domestic violence complaints. In these troubled challenging times “false accusation” and misinformation as well as judgment has become a new problem in our culture and social media thinking processes.
As listeners of “Healing From Within” have come to know Sheryl and her guests share our intimate truthful experiences and insights so we may begin to know ourselves, who we are and how life functions on both a spiritual or energetic level, and on a physical level as well. The purpose is to find ways to align ourselves to the Universal Laws of Energy so we may handle the challenges in the physical world and create our best version of life, using intuition and awareness of higher consciousness as we attract the best people conditions and results no matter what the challenge is.
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Amy Beth Ballon who now works with the Innocence Project as a result of her own traumatic experience will share how naïve she was about the justice system until she was falsely accused and arrested. With mandatory arrest laws in 30 states which require someone be arrested if the police are called, there’s been an increase of women arrested. Between 30-40% are arrested on domestic violence calls, yet conviction rates remain at 95% men. It’s an epidemic. This second level of victimization can ruin a person.
When Amy thinks back to her childhood to remember a person place or event that may have led to the experiences and decisions in their adult life and perhaps created or added to the values and lifestyle she leads now she tells us that she lived in an affluent successful family with two brothers and as the non-conformist middle child and only daughter, she rebelled against the strict rules her parents set for her and left home during her senior year of high school. It was such an abrupt break-off that an entire year would pass before I would be reunited with my parents. Obviously Amy’s parents weren’t helicopter parents who barely allow their children to breathe without checking in with them. Amy ran away to my best friend Karen’s home in Pacific Palisades. She jokes saying it wasn’t much like running away from home, because she could hardly think moving from Brentwood to Pacific Palisades to be considered a hard-core runaway experience. My parents didn’t try to contact me during that year and they missed many milestones in my life, including my high school graduation. My grandmother, aunt, and uncle came to my graduation, but that was it for family.
Living with Karen’s family showed me a different side of what being part of a family really felt like, and Amy says she is forever grateful. Karen and Amy met in the ninth grade and have been friends for more than four decades. We’ve been blessed with a rare friendship that has withstood the test of time.
Karen’s biggest gift to Amy was her mother, the now-deceased Honorable Federal Judge Florence Marie Cooper. Florence was a single mother in her thirties, raising two young children while working as a paralegal. One day her boss, who also went on to become a judge, told her that she was too bright not to become a lawyer. Florence said that as a single mother in her thirties, she didn’t see how she could do that. He pressed her further, and Florence did go on to become a lawyer. Isn’t it amazing how people we meet inspire and encourage us to move out of our comfort zones and expand our inner true potential. Judge Cooper did that for Amy.
Florence became a Superior Court Commissioner. She came home each day and told us interesting stories of people who were in her courtroom. Florence was eventually appointed to Federal Court Judge, where she worked on high-profile cases. She handled a case about the daughter of a Holocaust survivor whose parents lost a Gustav Klimt painting to the Germans during World War II. The woman in the case lived in the U.S and the painting was in Austria. Florence is credited in the 2015 movie about this case, “Woman in Gold,’’ and Florence’s name is in the film credits.
Amy tells us what life was before and after the domestic violence incidence. Amy wrote, “Both literally and figuratively, I never saw it coming. And why would I? Until that night, my life had been fabulous. I had two beautiful and loving children, a successful career in real estate, and a circle of cherished friends. Other than what I had seen on television, I had never been exposed to an abusive relationship. I grew up in Brentwood, California and was raised in a “good” family. Domestic violence simply was not a part of my world.” I had been married once before and had other lengthy relationships, but I never feared that a man I was with would ever hit me, and I certainly never feared for my life. All of that changed on a Monday night in October of 2014. On that night, I became a victim of domestic violence. Now, though, I felt like a shell of my former self. I was the victim of domestic violence and I was fighting a heinous charge against me, with major consequences if found guilty. I felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter for all to see. My identity was stolen from me. It was as if half of me was confident, powerful and successful while the other half was scared, alone and traumatized.”
Amy decided to write this book to bring new awareness to the downfalls of mandatory arrests and reporting laws. Victims of domestic violence too often fall victim to wrongful arrests and charges. This intimate partner violence shatters the victim it is perpetrated upon. Calling for help in fear for your life, only to be wrongfully arrested, adds another layer of victimization and a feeling of helplessness. The voice you used to protect yourself is not only silenced, but now you are publicly victim-blamed as your perpetrator becomes the perceived “victim.” This has become more prominent since political groups often favor certain categories of people as “victims}, seek to protect and favor them accusing and attacking anyone not from that group. This is the effect of identity politics over the last twenty years from the Radical Far Left community which has influenced all aspects of life within corporations families and legal decision making. Political Correctness has limited freedom of speech as this allows for only certain viewpoints and discussion is not encouraged and can even be actively violently discouraged. It truly infringes on our constitutional rights and must be ended for law and order to prevail.
Amy tells us of the end of her second marriage and the attack that was to change your life. Already in the process of getting a divorce after a short time being married Amy had allowed her partner to stay over the last time as his apartment was not ready. The mood that evening was tense, and a few harsh words were exchanged. Eventually, we both went to sleep and the evening ended without incident. The next night, he wanted me to meet him for dinner so we could talk over a few things. Hesitantly, Amy accepted his invitation. The week before had been full of cruel words and chillingly odd behavior that she hadn’t seen from him before during their short marriage. She didn’t really want to go because her real estate partner and Amy had been working 12-hour days on our new multi-million-dollar project on the beach and she was exhausted and also “talked-out.” There was really nothing left of our marriage and there wasn’t anything else to say that would salvage it. He was staying at my condo because he’s new place was not ready yet.
As he headed to the bathroom, Amy crawled under the covers, looking forward to the night being over. As she laid down in bed, Amy grabbed her phone to text a friend. Amy’s nerves were already shot from the nonstop issues we were dealing with, and the next day could not come soon enough. When he came out of the bathroom, instead of walking to what was his side of the bed, he made a beeline for me. He pounced onto my side of the bed and dug his knee deeply into my waist, grabbing my arms to take my phone. Fear overtook me because he began screaming at me, trying to get to my phone and demanding to know who I was texting. I am 5-foot-4 and 118 pounds, and he is 6-foot and 225 pounds, so I was no match for him. He easily restrained me as I struggled to escape. When he finally pulled the phone from my hand, Amy watched a darkness come over him as he read the texts. A chill ran through her body as she looked at this stranger in front of me. She no longer recognized this man that she had once loved. This was the moment she realized that the person she had trusted with her life was gone and had been replaced by a person where lies, deceit, and manipulation would now reside.
He slammed the phone against my bedside table. Amy jumped out of bed to try to take it back, but he tackled her, threw her to the ground, and again used his knee to strike me in the side. The broken glass from the front of my phone was everywhere and the thumb on Amy’s left hand was sliced by one of the shards. He threw the phone, and when he released his grip on me, Amy ran to the kitchen to get his keys, so he could never re-enter our condo again. As she reached the kitchen, he caught up to me and shoved me to the floor. Once he had knocked me down, he dug his thumb into my neck and held my head down with his hand while pushing his knee squarely against my back. I was completely immobilized. The pressure was so intense Amy thought her head was going to be crushed. He held me down hard for a while, then placed me in a cop hold, which is used by police officers when subduing a violent offender. He knew what he was doing, because he was trained to do it. He was a former police officer. A was lying on the floor in his tight grip for what seemed to be an eternity. Afterward, he got off of her and walked to our balcony. In a state of shock, Amy slowly got up off the kitchen floor and watched her husband, a man she no longer knew throw her phone off of the balcony. She knew then that she had to run. Amy was in fear for my life and exited the condo wearing nothing more than pajamas. Bruised, battered and barefoot, she ran out of the condo and down to the lobby to call the police.
While she was on the phone with the dispatcher, Amy’s husband arrived in the lobby. With her back to him, she heard him yell at the concierge, “Did she call the cops?” The concierge answered yes, to which he yelled that he also needed to call an ambulance because she had stabbed him with a knife. Incredulous, I told the dispatcher he had just arrived in the lobby saying I stabbed him, which was an outright lie. I also said on the recorded 911 call that he must have stabbed himself after I had left the condo and he was going to try to blame it on me. When the 911 call was later played for me by my lawyer, we could clearly hear the shift in my voice on that call from, “I am a victim, please help me,’’ to “Oh my God, I am going to be accused of stabbing him.’’
As a child, I had been taught to believe that if I was ever in danger, I should call 911 and the police would save me. Little did I know that as a result of dialing 911 that night, the course of my life would be changed forever. His story and his accusations were quite different than Amy’s.
Amy wrote, “The stories, told within four hours of one another, were in total contradiction of the first story he told. I was the victim of a raging, jealous man, and I can recall – in crystal clear detail – the entire attack from start to finish. My story has never changed. I suppose the great irony in that is many people asked me afterward if it was possible that I stabbed him in self-defense. I certainly displayed the wounds of a person viciously attacked, and it would not have been inconceivable. No, there was no self-defense, only fear for my life, which is what led me to run out of the front door of our condo once my phone was thrown over the balcony. I have been told, by too many people, that the self-defense statement would’ve been much better than the truth. But the fact remains that I did not stab this man. I was not there when this man was stabbed, and I did not witness his stabbing. “
This incidence change Amy immeasurably. “This one night stripped me of everything I was, and my life would forever change. The man I thought I loved turned me from victim to criminal with his lies, all in a matter of minutes.”
But then you tell us that you had met many men who were emotionally unavailable for a full time long term loving arrangement or marriage and wrote, “Since childhood, I lived in a world where “no’’ and “failure” were not options. In many ways, fearlessness is an admirable trait, but when you’re dating someone and they say they are not interested in a relationship, they mean it. To me, in those circumstances, all I ever saw was a challenge. But after four engagements to men who vowed to never get married again, that mantra did not serve me well. My pattern of dating emotionally unavailable men did not get me what I wanted. It was evident that these men were asking me to marry them only because they had a fear of losing me. They were willing to put a ring on my finger, but they really didn’t want to be married to me – or anyone else, for that matter. In the end, a proposal for marriage should come from the desire to be together forever. There is a huge difference between getting something out of the fear of loss rather than the deep desire of love.
Sheryl says “Perhaps these challenging relationships and even the one with your father who was a perfectionist and if expectations was not met was ready to tell you that you might not amount to much. It was his way or the highway it seems.” We do seem to carry our childhood habits into new relationships often without understanding we are repeating the same pattern. For Amy her good will and lack of understanding the narcissistic personality traits of her husband led to the accusation led to years of involvement with law agencies. She learned then that often the accuser is the problem and should not be allowed to get away with defaming others. They need to be called out for their behaviors. Many of them are mentally ill. Some suffer with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline personality disorder or are sociopaths or psychopaths without empathy. Whatever the problem they often create serious problems for others and move from one place to another when they are found out.
Amy goes on to tell how things changed after the incident, “Over the next several months, as I was building my business and working long enough hours to keep my mind off the real-life issues I was dealing with every day, I slowly but surely started receiving the depositions in my case. The first one deposed on July 30 was my ex-husband. My lawyer picked away at a lot of issues about him that were troubling. My lawyer brought up that he had lied to me when he first met me, leading me to believe he was divorced when he really was still married. At the end of the deposition, my lawyer asked him if he was given the opportunity, would he take a polygraph? He comes from law enforcement, so his answer was, “Well, if the state thinks I should.” My lawyer was quick to reply with, “That is not what I asked you. I asked, given the opportunity, would you take a polygraph?” He then said, “Of course. Yes.” I am sure at this point the prosecutor was cringing, because she was aware that I had already volunteered to take a polygraph test and I had passed with flying colors. Over the next few months, I would attend every calendar. Every month my lawyer would require an extension, because he could not prove my case until he had all the depositions from the police officers who were on the scene, and they were difficult to get scheduled.
With each reading, Amy was made more and more aware of how our system can be so flawed, and how those involved along the way take no responsibility for their actions. The next deposition was from the detective who was on the scene that night. He proceeded to say that the “defendant” refused to talk to him and wanted legal counsel. While this is true, Amy had already told my story to any officer who would listen. He repeated the story he had written in his report that was submitted by the state’s attorney, that “the victim’’ had been stabbed during a domestic violence incident that transpired as the result of arguing about infidelities.
Amy’s day to day life changes during the pendency of her case. Before the incident she was living the American dream. She drove an S-class Mercedes, her two beautiful children were healthy and happy, and her life was much more fruitful than I had ever imagined. She made many great friends in my 20-plus years in South Florida, and still have close friends in Los Angeles. These are friends for a lifetime, and she felt truly blessed. But after the attack and what followed Amy lost a large part of the trust and herself when she saw how the system handled her description of events and her husband’s rendition.
What Amy found quite compelling about that evening was that every single officer who arrived on the scene was made aware he was once a cop. It is her understanding that in domestic violence calls – and I would later read the policies on this at least a dozen times – the police are supposed to assess the two people involved in the altercation before arresting either person. But to these cops, that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he had a stab wound, which was more compelling than the bruises all over my body.
That’s when the cop said those words that would haunt me forever. “You’re going to jail.’’ I was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony only one level under manslaughter. As in so many cases, I was a victim who became victimized not once, but twice. My crime was calling 911, and unlike my former cop/husband, I was unaware that someone always gets arrested in domestic violence cases. I never would have guessed that the someone would be me.
Amy was headed off to attend the Grammy Awards which she did every year and called her criminal lawyer to let him know I would be out of town, and that’s when he told her that the state had requested a copy of her polygraph test, so the state’s polygraphist could review it. The state prosecutor had made the request for the review. He said, “It looks as if they may dismiss the case. The state’s polygraphist agrees that you were truthful.’’
When I returned to Florida, I called my lawyer to get an update, and he said to meet him at the calendar call. I was shocked, because I thought we were done, and it was going to be all over. It turned out that it was far from over. The original prosecutor on my case was transferred to another county, and then, tragically, the polygraphist had a family member pass away and his report was not provided to the prosecutor in time for her to dismiss the charges. On February 19, 2016, I went to the courthouse accompanied by Jeffrey’s wife, Ingrid. As we walked in, my lawyer asked to speak with me outside. He told me not to get excited, but there was a new prosecutor on the case and the polygraphist report had still not been provided. He said I should be ready for the judge to set a date to start the trial, but he would try to get the two prosecutors to talk so the one who had been on my case for sixteen months could tell the new prosecutor all that was discovered during the pendency of this case. A court date was decided on.
The new prosecutor knew the state had already agreed that I had passed a polygraph. She knew I had no prior criminal record. She knew I was the one who called 911. She had seen the images of the crime scene which showed I had been assaulted. And if my ex-husband wasn’t going to come to the trial, why didn’t they force him to? To this day, there has been no accountability for any of these things.
On February 29, 2016, I stood next to my lawyer, and the state prosecutor stood at her podium. The judge entered the courtroom and welcomed me. The prosecutor addressed the judge, stating that she was going to ask for a “nolle prosequi,” which is a Latin legal term that means that they no longer wish to prosecute
As we left the courtroom, my lawyer asked if I knew just how rare this type of verdict was reached in domestic violence cases and that he even believed the state would pay for some of the forensics that I had to pay to prove my truth. Amy told her lawyer that whatever monies she received back from the incident would be donated to the Innocence Project. He asked how she knew about the Innocence Project and she reminded him of when she was introduced to the producer of 20/20 by a childhood friend and asked if they could film the court proceedings. When Amy first met that producer, she told him that her story was two-fold. First, it was a story about the brotherhood of the code of blue. But it wasn’t just about me and my story. Amy also told him that she’d learned about a young girl who was 21 years old when her child perished in a trailer home fire. She was wrongfully charged and convicted of killing her son and after serving more than twenty years in prison, she was exonerated by the work of the Innocence Project. And so began my work with the Innocence Project of Florida, Reflecting on what had happened to me, I wondered how many others had been victimized as I had been. It was with this thought in mind that I created “Raising Awareness For the Innocent.’’ This is the platform for my voice to be heard and to help support others who experienced the effects of being wrongfully charged. It is a site where those people are encouraged to use their voices in the face of adversity. They know they aren’t alone and that there are others who are experiencing the same feelings of injustice. I started Raising Awareness for the Innocent as an outlet to process the multitude of feelings of injustice I had. But in the process of building it, it has become a place where people can choose to embrace their pain, forgive whatever caused the pain, and learn to turn it into something to help others. To have courage when the odds are stacked against you serves a great purpose. Currently, there are more than 100,000 followers on the Raising Awareness for the Innocent page on Facebook.
Amy’s story like most women who marry abusive or violent men who have had a privileged safe life could not even imagine what she allowed herself to commit to. This man wanted to marry Amy quickly, he was from a very different lifestyle state and interests than Amy had. She really should not have been whisked into a quick decision without really paying attention to her own needs and requirements for what was important in a marriage. When they married, a life of peace and quiet stability was all Amy desired. Marrying a man who enhanced her life in beautiful ways was what she had always longed for. Marrying someone who would preclude her from achieving her goals was not what she was looking for. Amy was in too deep and knew it but didn’t know what was coming next. The night he attacked me, he sent a text to my daughter at 3:30 in the morning, stating that her mother was in trouble and she had to call her father. My daughter said to him that after all, he was the reason her mother had been arrested and, since he was a former police officer, he could have handled this without me going to jail. He knew how these things work. Next, she reminded him that he knew I was starting my own company and now, because of him, she would have a criminal record. Lastly, she reminded him that in the space of one week, he’d told her that her mother was going to commit suicide, she was having an affair, and that she is currently in jail. He was obviously the problem her. He also attempted to reach Jeffrey, Amy’s ex husband who refused to take the call or call him back. He tried to contact my former sister-in-law to tell “his side” of the story. When Amy received our phone bill, she learned exactly how many of my loved ones he had contacted or attempted to contact. There was so much for my brain to process: Spyware on all of my devices, phone calls of lies to my family, my mug shot in cyberspace for all to see, and a police report to read.
This sounds like Narcissistic Personality Disorder where they try to turn people against you manipulate control lie and set up facts that make it look like you are the problem. They are often quite good at doing this.”
Sheryl tells Amy she is interviewing Susan Sparks author of Sparks in Love who lived through twenty years of Domestic Abuse before getting out and offers this suggestion throughout her book STRENGTH + SUPPORT + PLAN = FREEDOM
Sheryl would like to think that nothing is bad or good, only experiences to ultimately remember we may have chosen this life and the challenges we would have for our soul to expand in greater awareness and higher consciousness so we might learn greater love in all its forms and greater compassion for other.
In Sheryl’s book The Living Spirit in reference to this thought she wrote, “It is possible with practice to recognize negative thoughts and experiences and dismiss them. At the same time, it is understood that there will always be people who choose to hide from their problems, whether out of fear, ignorance, or simply not knowing an alternative way. Perhaps they feel the darkness around them because others have acted towards them inappropriately and harmfully. They may believe that keeping secrets and avoiding change will shield them from issues they can’t face at the present time. In actuality only going towards the light and full truth can bring peace harmony balance and the end of suffering. As we cannot change the way anyone thinks or acts even those that we love the most, we can change our way of interacting with them. And this is an important soul discovery for each of us, regardless of our race, religion, or socioeconomic status.”
Amy Ballon author of Fabulous to Framed has shared her unique and painful experience and what she has learned about the justice system domestic abuse and violence and how we may all come to understand the dangerous and sick people who cause so many problems for people who are unable at times to even imagine this degree of control and disruption by one person for another often for no legitimate reasons.
In summarizing today’s episode of “Healing From Within” we have talked about a frightening subject that of being accused and imprisoned for false accusations. How can we begin to change the dynamics in a society and culture that has over the last twenty year being radically changed by social media and law enforcement that have been devalued by government and have lost their ability at times to act the way that should be expected but are often unable due to laws that are not right. Why would we arrest anyone on the basis of someone else’s accusation? How do we know if they are telling the truth or have another agenda at play? There must be due process and evidence at the time of an arrest. The person making the accusation must be able to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt and other people must be questioned as well.
In the case of domestic abuse or violence sometimes there is physical proof of the incident and both people need to receive treatment and counseling. Of course the person should be removed from the home for a time if possible so there is no further escalation of the abuse. It is a difficult and challenging task for law officials to handle as often this is an ongoing problem and there are emotional or mental problems.
We must continue to shine light and remove shame guilt and blame from the problem and focus on the health issues economic and mental challenges that have created the dysfunction in the first place. Please make a plan with professional before youleave the home and make sure that the abuser doesn’t know what you are doing. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and ask them how to start your plan for getting out safely.
Amy and I would have you remember that in the end you will remember the best parts of yourself and life and move past the wounds and trauma of being involved in such a negative hurtful experience and will not be the victim but the survivor and wiser for the experience as you are able to view life with new perspective and know we all do the best we can at any given moment with the knowledge we have but change comes when we ask for it intuitively and we will be helped to achieve our soul journey through the physical challenges