The complex case of an alleged incident of domestic violence in which famed soccer star Hope Solo was accused of being the abuser is once again on track to go forward after the Washington Court of Appeals refused to undo a Superior Court decision that revived the case, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The misdemeanor case, which was sent back to the municipal court in the City of Kirkland, highlights the complicated nature of domestic violence, in which the people who are abused and who offend are more diverse than the usual stereotypes surrounding domestic violence suggest.
The incident that led to the Solo case was one in which, as with many domestic violence cases, alcohol may have been a factor. The famed soccer goalie arrived at her half-sister Teresa Obert’s home in the aftermath of a fight between between Solo and her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens. Sometime later that night, police responded to Obert’s home. According to the Post-Intelligencer report, the call to police indicated that there was a woman “going crazy and hitting people.” At the scene, Obert had a swollen and bruised left cheekbone. Obert’s son had a torn shirt and redness on the side of his face. Despite the other two family members’ injuries and Solo’s lack of any visible injury, she claimed that she had been the victim in this case. Police were not persuaded and arrested Solo.
The City of Kirkland went forward with its case against Solo. However, shortly before Solo’s trial was to start in early 2015, a municipal judge dismissed the case. The alleged victims in the case had repeatedly failed to show for depositions regarding the incident, and their no-shows had so severely hamstrung Solo’s defense that a dismissal was warranted. The city appealed this dismissal, though, and won. The King County Superior Court determined that dismissal would have been appropriate if the misconduct in question was carried out by the prosecution, but the conduct at issue in this situation was that of the witnesses, not the prosecutors. The municipal judge “conflated the witnesses’ behavior with the prosecutors’ performance,” which was not proper and required throwing out the dismissal.
Solo appealed the reversal to the Washington Court of Appeals, but that court denied the review, meaning that the case would return to municipal court and continue going forward. If the Kirkland prosecutors are able to prove that the soccer star did, in fact, commit domestic violence against her half-sister and her nephew, the case could serve as an important reminder about several types of domestic violence. In addition to domestic violence when alcohol is a factor, there is the issue of domestic violence perpetrated by female abusers. A common misconception holds that domestic violence is strictly a male-perpetrated “violence against women” problem. Studies have shown that the issue of domestic violence is more complex, however. Research by the California State University at Long Beach‘s Department of Psychology, which looked at more than 200 studies, determined that the research, as a whole, showed that women were “as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.”
Additionally, the parties involved in the Solo case were not spouses or domestic partners. Domestic violence is broader than just spouse-on-spouse or partner-on-partner violence. In this alleged instance, it was a sibling abusing a sibling and a nephew. RCW Section 26.50.010 defines domestic violence to include physical harm, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking. The statute also includes on the list of potential victims spouses and former spouses, parents, adults related by blood or marriage, adults currently or previously living together, and people age 16 or older who are or were in a dating relationship together.
If you’re accused of domestic violence, you should take the matter very seriously and address it head-on by promptly retaining experienced criminal counsel. The Pierce County/Tacoma domestic violence attorneys at Smith & White, PLLC have extensive experience representing the accused and are here to help you with your case too. Call us today at 253-363-8662 to schedule your initial consultation. The first consultation is free.