The criminal charges against Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera have been dropped after the alleged victim refused to pursue the case. Developments like these are especially common in alleged domestic violence situations.
Phillies' Outfielder Arrested for Domestic Violence
We covered the situation in our blog back in May: Odubel Herrera, an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, was arrested in Atlantic City, New Jersey, over Memorial Day weekend after an apparent altercation with his girlfriend.
Police had responded to an emergency call at a casino there to find the 20-year-old woman with “visible signs of injury to her arms and neck” that she claimed were caused by her boyfriend, Herrera.
Herrera was then arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault. He was put on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball (MLB) while they conducted their own internal investigation.
Alleged Victim Refuses to Cooperate with Prosecutors: Charges Dropped
In the month that has passed since the apparent altercation, the alleged victim has refused to cooperate with prosecutors, leaving them with little evidence against Herrera. On July 3, they agreed to drop the charges against Herrera if he went to counseling sessions for 60 days.
Herrera and his girlfriend reportedly left the courtroom holding hands.
On Friday, MLB announced that Herrera would be suspended without pay for the rest of the season for violating the league's domestic violence policies. The suspension will cover 85 games in the regular season and any postseason games the Phillies might play. Herrera has no plans to appeal the suspension.
Domestic Violence and Recanting Victims
Allegations of domestic violence are notorious for getting dropped by prosecutors because alleged victims refuse to cooperate or testify after they say they were assaulted. While more women have been coming forward to report abuse or sexual assault in the past few years, an estimated three in four still recant their accusations, change their stories, or outright refuse to cooperate with prosecutors pursuing the case that they reported.
In some cases, the reasons for an alleged victim's refusal to cooperate are understandable:
- They fear retaliation from the person they're accusing
- They have weighed the pros and cons of a conviction and decided to stop the prosecution
- They are being pressured by the defendant and others to recant
In other situations, though, the reasons for an alleged victim's change of heart are far more problematic:
- They made the initial accusation in the heat of the moment and now realize that they were lying and that their story is unraveling
- They were trying to coerce, threaten, or manipulate the person they were accusing
- They made the accusation to hurt the defendant for something they did or didn't do
Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento Serves Philadelphia
Domestic violence allegations are serious. They are also frequently made by people who have an ulterior motive for the allegation. Uncovering this ulterior motive can be an effective defense, as it can drastically undercut the credibility of the accuser.