According to The Salem News, Rafael Lugo, 21 years old from Salem Massachusetts has been charged with six counts of assault and battery and five counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. A warrant for Lugo’s arrest issued after police said some students at Salem High School witnessed him repeatedly slam his girlfriend’s head into the steering wheel of a car as she held their 1-year-old daughter. Coincidentally, on the day of his arraignment for these charges, Lugo was also due in court for a pretrial hearing that related to a previous domestic abuse case involving the same parties. It has been reported that the teenage victim, a special needs student at the school, and her mother are both saying, “It’s not that big a deal,” according to Lugo’s attorney.
Despite the fact that the court did not issue a restraining order due to the fact that the victim claimed that she was not in fear of Lugo, the judge revoked his bail in the pending case and set additional bail of $5,000 on the new charges. Additionally, the Salem News reported that the police filed a report with the Department of Children and Families. Lugo’s next scheduled court date is May 11th.
As with all cases, there are two sides to every story. The News reported that Lugo’s attorney maintained that his client, who was previously slashed on the face at a nightclub said the incident on Wednesday was provoked by the woman biting him on the face, near where he was stabbed.
In this case, as in many cases of assault and battery, it appears that a reasonable defense would be self defense. In Massachusetts an individual can assert self defense and the government must the elements of assault and battery beyond a reasonable doubt AND prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not act in self defense.
For the defendant to have acted in self-defense, he or she must have reasonably believed that he or she was being attacked or was immediately about to be attacked, and that his or her personal safety was in immediate danger; and he or she must have done everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to avoid physical combat before resorting to force. Furthermore, for the defendant to have acted in self-defense, he or she must have used no more force than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to defend himself or herself.
These elements also apply when a defendant is claiming that he or she was acting to defend another person.
Every case must be looked at individually to determine what type of strategy should be applied. Also, when preparing for trial an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney will also check to see if there was an application for a restraining order filed and what the victim alleged on the affidavit.