Maryland Court Rules No Double Jeopardy Attaches At Protective Order Hearing

1156821_handcuffsThe Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in Tubaya v. State of Maryland, an appeal based on the prohibition against double jeopardy in our Constitution. The case arose on June 27, 2011, when Valencia Tubaya pushed into the home of her older parents. She held a “sharp metal object” against her mother’s neck and threatened that she would cut the woman’s dialysis tubes out. When the father demanded that his daughter stop, she pushed him back into the chair where he’d been seated. She spoke to her parents for a few minutes then left.

Later that day, the mother and her other daughter spoke to police officers. They also filed an application for a statement of charges and a petition for a protective order against Valencia. The State of Maryland was not a party to the protective order proceedings. In July 2011, the District Court issued a number of temporary protective orders. Later in August, however, they denied a final protective order on the grounds that there was a lack of clear and convincing evidence that the assault happened.

Meanwhile, the state moved forward with prosecuting Valencia’s criminal case. Valencia moved to dismiss the criminal charges against her, arguing that the District Court’s August 2011 denial of a final protective order created collateral estoppel such that the state could no longer prosecute the question of whether the assault had actually occurred.

The court denied Valencia’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the state was not a party to the protective order case. Accordingly, Valencia’s criminal charges were heard by a jury that found her guilty of two counts of second degree assault. Valencia was sentenced to 2 years in prison and 2 years of supervised probation for each of the 2 counts of second degree assault.

On appeal, Valencia argued that the District Court’s ruling that there wasn’t clear and convincing evidence to grant a final protective order was conclusive. She argued that this ruling should have barred any further prosecution of her for the attack on her parents. This argument was based on the idea that she was deprived of her Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy.

On appeal, Valencia cited to two cases involving CINA (“child in need of assistance proceedings”) and subsequent prosecutions for sex crimes. In CINA cases, the state is usually a petitioner, unlike protective order petitions that are brought by an individual who feels endangered.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reasoned that the state was not a party to the protective order case. Therefore, the state did not have the prior opportunity to prosecute the assault and could not be prevented from prosecuting on the basis of that fact in criminal court. The appellate court agreed with the lower court’s ruling.

Criminal cases can range from matters of life and death to minor misdemeanor charges. However, as this post shows, the quality and course of your life may depend on hiring a knowledgeable Maryland criminal law attorney today. Contact lawyer Anthony Fatemi and his legal team for a legal consultation. They have years of experience in Maryland criminal defense, including both felony and misdemeanor charges involving assault, drugs, handguns, domestic violence, DWI, sex offenses, and theft.

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