How domestic violence work in California? Is the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp case an accurate portrayal of how a domestic violence action takes place in California?
In California the Petitioner must prove it is more likely than not in a family law setting that domestic violence occurred. That means that the person who is claiming domestic violence has a reasonable fear for their safety and welfare by the respondent. What form does the fear take in proving you case in front of the judge? Well that is the crux of many cases in California that find themselves in front of Judges who must decide if the respondent is lying or telling the truth that did not commit domestic violence. Thus the question that pervades the Johnny Depp trial.
Often and most importantly a case for domestic violence is proven by testimony from witnesses. This is the primary way a Judge hears a case that comes to court. He must determine whether the Petitioner has a case that is more likely than not a domestic violence case that the Judge must issue a temporary restraining order. If the Petition met their burden in Court the Judge usually issues a 3 year restraining order against the respondent. Which means they cannot contact the petitioner either directly or indirectly. That means don’t get your friends or relative to contact the victim.
Often however, the Judge needs additional evidence by the petitioner to prove their domestic violence case. Testimony alone does not give the judge enough evidence to issue a restraining order. Thus the Petitioner may have additional witnesses who saw the abuse occur or photos of bruises and damages property. In California if a party damages personal property in the residence such as broken dishes or damages cell phones the Judge can consider that as domestic violence.
In addition, the Judge must consider the credibility of the witness who testifies to the damaged property and the bruises or abuse and decide if that is credible. Thus the Amber Heard trial was mainly about her credibility detailing the abuse she claimed Johnny Depp did to her and the destruction of property in their residence.
That case was a case based on credibility yet to be determined who is telling the truth as to the above issues. The problem with Amber Heard was her testimony and the lack of credibility she had shown in her testimony. The verdict is yet to come down but I think Johnny Depp’s team of lawyers showed she was a liar more often than not which might be enough for him to prevail at his defamation trial.