Shortly after 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning Framingham, Massachusetts police received a call for a disturbance on Dinsmore Avenue. When they arrived they heard a woman screaming. The officers entered the home and found Marvin Alvarenga holding his ex-wife and her daughter against a wall. The ex-wife was bloodied and bruised. The daughter complained about having suffered some injuries as well. The ex-wife told police that she met with Alvarenga the previous night for dinner. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the woman having a Restraining Order against Alvarenga dismissed. Apparently the meeting did not go well. The woman told the police that Alvarenga then forced her to drive him to her Framingham home where he beat her. He did however permit her to contact her daughter who went to the home. Once she entered the property it is alleged that the daughter was not allowed to leave and was threatened with a beer bottle. Alvarenga is being charged with Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, Assault and Battery, Kidnapping, Intimidation of a Witness and Violating a Restraining Order. Alvarenga has an open Assault and Battery case on which bail was revoked. Through his lawyer Alvarenga denied all allegations. The case is pending in the Framingham District Court.
Typically in cases involving Domestic Violence witness credibility becomes a critical issue. This is because the defenses to these cases implicate a history between the parties that is usually admissible as evidence at trial. Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers will tell you that very often the initiator of a Restraining Order makes his or her application to gain an advantage or control over someone with whom they are involved. Take this case for instance. Why would the “victim” want to meet with Alvarenga for dinner to discuss vacating the existing Restraining Order? Keep in mind that the issuance of the order contemplates a judge finding a substantial likelihood of an immediate danger of abuse. This is based on an affidavit and/or the testimony of the complainant who admits to being in fear of this person. It hardly makes sense for someone truly feeling this way to drive from Framingham to Boston to discuss terminating the order over dinner. This will hurt the woman’s credibility. Alvarenga should have known that the dinner meeting constitutes a violation of the order. I have seen many cases where the complainant contacts the defendant, usually by text, email or voicemail message. This action is naturally designed to elicit a response. The response constitutes a Violation of the 209A Order that is virtually indefensible. Most troubling about this is that this action is deliberate on the part of the “victim”. I have represented countless people who have responded to the unsolicited contact and found that to be the basis for the issuance of a complaint. Once again, the “victims” can use this tactic to gain a personal advantage over the accused or as a form of retaliation for some non-criminal issue with which they took issue.
While the ex-wife’s credibility might be questioned at least as to some of the counts, Alvarenga’s problems are going to come from the police officers testimonies. They heard the screams, witnessed some of the incident and saw the ex-wife in a bloodied condition. While the Kidnapping counts might easily be challenged the Assault Charges are going to be more difficult to beat.