Bruising Can Tell a Story

Posted By Bill Nimmo & Raymond Gomez, Attorneys at Law || 8-Oct-2015

A lot of times when accusations are made that the defendant committed a violent act against another, the alleged victim claims that various bruises and other marks on the body were caused by the defendant. Usually they claim that these bruises are evidence of a beating or some criminal restraint of them so they couldn’t escape or get away from the defendant. You see these accusations a lot where women are accusing men, and that’s why an experienced criminal attorney is needed.

The problem is that bruises look bad. In fact they look worse than they really are many times. Bruising is a fact of life in physical activity and many times women bruise very easily. Many times a mad female alleged victim will allege that every mark on her body was caused by a defendant unlawfully. And, many times these allegations are exaggerated, false, and the result of a wild sexual encounter before things degenerate into anger and accusation. Many times these marks are the result of a woman's actions during an alcohol induced domestic argument: self-inflicted by flailing around or caused when the defendant attempts to restrain and calm her down. That is not always the case but if you as the defendant are the victim of false or exaggerated accusations it merits careful exploration by an expert. Oftentimes the bruises tell a story that is different than what the alleged victim says happened.

Attorneys experienced in violent crimes have seen how frequently false and overblown accusations can surface in encounters between men and women. A trained attorney who has experience with pathology and the study of body marks can see the subtle signs that demonstrate a false accusation. These body marks when studied closely can tell a story. Their color can tell us when they happened (or didn’t happen!), their shape or lines within them or along the edges can tell what kind of instrument caused them. Was it caused by a thumb, fingers, an elbow, a fist, a table edge, a counter top, a door frame, or some other important fact to know that will corroborate the version of the defendant.

Another important question to raise about bruising in domestic violence cases is whether it was even caused when the alleged victim says it was. As an example, in one case, of alleged attempted rape by a mad ex-boyfriend, the body of the alleged victim was covered with over 50 bruises. These marks enraged the deputy district attorney and they wanted to put the defendant away for a long as possible. The defendant said that the alleged victim was lying and that she not only bruised easily and often, but had gone out on a binge for days before the alleged incident.

An expert was able to conclude, from some medication records, that she did have a blood condition that caused her to bruise easily. More importantly the colors of many of the bruises had different colors indicating that various groups of the bruises occurred on different days. Some were as old as 4 or 5 days before the defendant allegedly attempted to rape her and beat her. Ultimately, the deputy district attorney understood, and the defendant was given a felony reducible to a misdemeanor and a year in local custody. There were aspects of his case that warranted punishment but not on the most serious charges.

In another recent case an attorney had a situation where an alleged victim claimed the defendant had hit her in the eye with his fist. The marks were “ugly” and were part of some other very serious charges. She claimed that photographs taken of the eye happened on a particular date. The attorney noticed that the “black eye” was very yellow and consulted a trained pathologist who concluded that the eye injuries were probably several days older than possible under the date frame that the alleged victim claimed. Victims of domestic violence deserve every protection available to them, but when false allegations can be disproven by careful examination of the evidence, this must be done to preserve the freedom of the innocent.