In the breaking news department from Tampa Bay Times online, a former city council candidate for the city of Seminole was arrested on a domestic violence related charge.
62-year-old Thomas Christy was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in his Pinellas home Wednesday and charged with one count of violating an injunction against domestic violence, a misdemeanor.
As of this writing, police were still investigating and the state attorney’s office has not filed charges. The actual allegation appears to come from a text that the defendant allegedly sent to the victim. The text itself did not seem violent, it simply said “Your keys are hanging on the mailbox. You’re nuts. Stay away.”
Pinellas public records show a woman filed two seperate domestic violence injunctions against Thomas Christy. The first one, on May 14th, was dismissed when the woman failed to appear in court for the injunction hearing. The second injunction was filed on July 29th. The woman received a temporary injunction against Thomas on August 2, the same day the text message appeared.
The suspect is well known in Seminole political circles. He ran for City Council four times and was a frequent attendee at the city meetings. His most recent run, last March found him name calling with the other candidates. Public records show that Mr. Christy served in a New York town City Council in the 90s.
In Florida, the statute regarding a violation of injunction is found under 741.31. If an injunction is granted, the respondent may not contact the victim in ANY fashion, other then what the Court allows. It is considered a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail for the defendant. The statute reads in part:
“(4)(a) A person who willfully violates an injunction for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to s. 741.30, or a foreign protection order accorded full faith and credit pursuant to s. 741.315, by:
1. Refusing to vacate the dwelling that the parties share;
2. Going to, or being within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
3. Committing an act of domestic violence against the petitioner;
4. Committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to do violence to the petitioner;
5. Telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;
6. Knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied;
7. Defacing or destroying the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; or 8. Refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court”
One important point that a few of our violation of injunction defendants do not always realize is that an injunction is a one way street. It is very common for a defendant to be arrested for contact with the victim after he/she invites the defendant for a visit! Remember that the “victim” does not have an injunction against themeslves! That means the petitioner can call or invite the respondent over or make contact with him/her but it is only the respondent who is risking an arrest.