Saturday, September 21, 2013

Statement Analysis: Maeghan Maloney

Readers are familiar with my routinely tough stance on prosecutors, and how often they make decisions based upon either political ramifications, or out of fear of going up against private sector high talented attorneys.  Here is a prosecutor who's statement tells us the awareness of political ramifications versus saving a life.  Whether or not you agree with her decision, note her language shows her reasoning.  The concern: Is this a woman who hates men, like the Hancock County prosecutor who goes after anything male?  Note the language she uses.

Does she use language indicating "projection" of her own personal life into the case?

Is she truthful?

Prosecutor orders arrest of woman as material witness to testify against her alleged abuser

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney
Carter F. McCall | BDN
Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney
AUGUSTA, Maine — A woman authorities believe to be the victim of a brutal two-day domestic violence assault in April was arrested on a material witness warrant after reportedly telling people she didn’t want to testify against her alleged abuser, according to Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney.
Jessica Ruiz, 35, was served with the arrest warrant at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in Chelsea and taken to Kennebec County Jail in Augusta until the appearance at Waterville District Court the next afternoon of Robert A. Robinson, 45, of Chelsea, who is accused of assaulting Ruiz.
Ruiz was served with the warrant to compel her to testify, said Maloney. She was released on unsecured bail on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s court appearance for Robinson was continued. Trials for two separate cases against Robinson will likely be scheduled for mid-October, said Maloney.
Lisa Whittier, the attorney appointed for Ruiz, said the use of the warrant was an “abuse of power” by the district attorney’s office.
I’ve seen the material witness statute used, but never on a victim like this,” she said on Friday. “It’s an abuse of power and further traumatizes victims who shouldn’t be traumatized.”
Maloney said the decision was made to try to save Ruiz’s life.
Without a doubt it was a bad political decision, but it was the right decision to save her life and to protect the community,” she said. “He is an incredibly dangerous person.
Note "without a doubt" indicates conflict.  
Note that he is a "person" and not a man. This gender neutral pronoun shows that this is not related to any form of 'man hating' (recall Hancock County prosecutor). 
Robinson is a lifetime registrant on Maine’s Sex Offender Registry for 10 felony convictions.
On or about April 10, Ruiz was sleeping when Robinson started yelling at her, according to Maloney.
He grabbed her and started hitting her in the face and then proceeded to beat her with a large ring that left imprints on her body,” said Maloney. “Then he started hitting her with his belt, which also left marks all over her body. He hit her with a broom so hard that it broke in half, and then he hit her with the broken half.”
Note the past tense verbs.  Next, note "started" is used --we take careful note of any activity that began, and seek to know if there is completion.  Here, we find that in both cases, the "started" concludes with the leaving of marks.  The other verbs ("grabbed, proceeded, hit") are are past tense verbs of completion.  There is no linguistic indication of PTSD like language within the statement, where one may be projecting herself into the case, something we have seen previously in other subjects. 

The sentence structure shows veracity. 
He forced her on her hands and knees and continued to beat her, Maloney said. He also held her by the throat.
Before all this began, she said, Robinson had dug a grave for Ruiz.
He went to bring her to the grave and that’s when she was able to get away,” she said.

"went" is another word that lacks completion, yet the subject finishes the thought for us, telling us that the victim was able to get away.  This is another example of veracity without projection. 
Robinson was charged with domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening and domestic violence terrorizing. All are felony charges, Maloney said.
Robinson has been incarcerated since the alleged two-day assault took place. He is currently in Kennebec County Jail in Augusta.
Maloney said Ruiz initially wanted to testify against Robinson, but changed her mind after meeting with Robinson’s mother and defense attorney.
“After that meeting, she cut off all contact with us,” she said. “She told her in-home care providers she was going to disappear.”
Whittier said that’s not true.
“She fully intended to testify,” she said. “If she received a subpoena, she would’ve replied.”
the word "fully" makes the intention sensitive, likely revealing that there had been some discussion about her not testifying; even debate. The second sentence is stronger. 
Maloney said two subpoenas were issued for Ruiz, but the DA never received a reply. Whittier said they were sent to the wrong address.
After no reply to either subpoena, the warrant was signed by a judge, said Maloney. This is one of the rare cases where she would issue the warrant for a victim.
The idea of using the material witness warrant is something I learned about in district attorneys meetings for what to do with our worst domestic assault cases,” she said. “Where the victim turns from cooperative to uncooperative. We discussed this as something that could possibly be used in our worst cases.”
any word that is repeated is sensitive.  The subject shows that this is, in her language, a "worst" case to deal with. 
The urgency was necessary, she said, because Ruiz is the only witness to the two-day-long assault, which is often the case in domestic violence incidents.
“Sometimes the state has to step in,” said Maloney. “I know it’s terrifying but it has to be done because there’s no other way to prosecute him. I wish we didn’t have to [issue the warrant].”
We see both verbs, "I" and "we" in the same statement.  We note that "I know" and "I wish" are both strong and personal, while "having" to go forward with this method is something she shares responsibility with ("we") indicating that the decision was not made by herself, alone, in the process, though the final "ok" was hers.  
Robinson has the right to face his accuser, said Maloney, so Ruiz was needed to testify or else the case would have to be dropped.
William Baghdoyan, Robinson’s attorney, said Robinson wasn’t going anywhere because he had a separate charge against him.
He is currently being held on two different charges,” he said.
However, Maloney said both charges involve Ruiz as the only witness. Robinson is also charged with tampering with a witness.
Whittier said Ruiz was treated “very poorly by the district attorney’s office,” but she won’t be seeking any sort of reprimand.
“They abused the material witness statute, but they did nothing illegal,” she said.
Baghdoyan said he’s been involved with criminal law for 32 years and has never seen a victim of a domestic violence assault arrested on a material witness warrant.
Maloney defended using the statute, but stressed that this is a rare case.
We won’t use it often. It’s only for the cases where if I didn’t use it, I’d be in the position of talking about why she was killed,” she said.
Note the change from "we" to "I", confirming the need to share responsibility, yet the pronoun "I" is used, here in the negative (anything in the negative is important), showing that she, herself, made the final decision to use it.  
Had the subject used the plural "we" only, she would have shown weakness.  There likely was much internal debate yet the ultimate responsibility is taken by the subject. 

Conclusion:  The sentence structure shows veracity and the subject does not show any political agenda, nor projection in her language.  


Jen said...

It's unfortunate that Maloney had to do this in order to compel her testimony, but I agree that it had to be done. This guy commited an extremely violent and prolonged attack. He tried to kill this woman, he even dug her grave! If she backs out of testifying and he walks, he will be emboldened and he will surely kill her (or anyone else that crosses his path) the first chance he gets.

However, I also feel for the victim. She must be terrified, and rightly so. I really hope he is convicted and given a long sentence, so this poor woman can recover and live in peace

Jazzie said...

Maine might want to consider this:

GPS ankle bracelets reduce domestic violence injuries in Connecticut

Jazzie said...

Maloney defended using the statute, but stressed that this is a rare case.
“We won’t use it often. It’s only for the cases where if I didn’t use it, I’d be in the position of talking about why she was killed,” she said.

Some may see Maloney as further victimizing the victim, but when it comes to this brutal level of domestic violence, Maloney knows the inevitable outcome and is trying to actually save the victim's life.

Overcoming the fear of facing the brutalizing monster in court vs. death. Which would you choose?

Jazzie said...

I had been hoping the Maeghan Maloney would be the one to prosecute the Ayla Reynold's case. I thought she would be the best candidate to bring forth Justice for Ayla.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I'm impressed with how she handled the case. I agree with Jazzie, it would be great to see her on the Ayla case instead of the current prosecutor. Maegen is brilliant, a hard worker, and has values. Unlike some people with more yrs of experience.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I agree.

I doubt she will be a life long prosecutor. She has talent.


Jazzie said...

"Maloney said the decision was made to try to save Ruiz’s life.

'Without a doubt it was a bad political decision, but it was the right decision to save her life and to protect the community,” she said. “He is an incredibly dangerous person.' ”

Oh yeah. Another one (good prosecutor) bites the dust... Maloney already knows that her insightful decision to save a domestic violence victim's life will cost her career.

Damn the politics. Value the Prosecutors that are intelligent enough to utilize the law, possess courage to seek justice and are honest in their pursuit.

How is it that Maeghan Maloney would not be put forth to be the one to prosecute Ayla Reynolds case? Isn't Waterville in Kennebec County?

Jazzie said...

Maloney chose to save a domestic victim's life over politic gain. Doesn't that speak volumes?

Jazzie said...

"Stokes said there is frustration about the case all up and down the chain of command, but the pressure of emotion isn't swaying judgment.

"We're as frustrated as anybody else is," Stokes said. "We're in the business of solving cases. There's nothing more frustrating to us than not being able to solve the case and bring some closure for everyone involved."

Stokes says "there is frustration about the case all up and down the chain of command" and "We're in the business of solving cases."

frustration... all up and down the chain of command vs. business of solving cases.

Interesting choice of words.

Jazzie said...

I will keep posting this until it makes a difference:

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned as a prosecutor?

JoDee Lee Neil, Assistant Criminal ­District Attorney in Collin County
The hardest thing I’ve learned is that the unthinkable really happens. Three years ago I would have told you that I’ve learned the most from my losses in trial, whether it be from an overruled objection, a not guilty verdict, or a piece of evidence that was not admitted. Since then, however, I’ve learned more about human nature than I ever expected to learn. Although prosecuting crimes against children proved to be a rewarding experience, it was also an eye-opening expression of the actual world where we live. I learned that not all fathers treasure their daughters, that not all mothers protect, and that to some people, a baby isn’t a precious gift. I’ve learned that cycles are difficult to break, that some people don’t care at all that they hurt other people, and that a lot of people are in so much pain.

I’ve learned that good can prevail in spite of the filthy crimes others commit and that a small voice is sometimes the loudest. Most importantly, I’ve learned that one person can make a difference in the life of someone else. It is not easy, but it is worth it.

Jazzie said...

When the time has come
for thistles and sunflowers
who will collect the seeds
tumbling forth upon the ground
or released upon the wind?

The one with the smallest voice
who seeks answers.

Jazzie said...


Silent is the autumn moon
casting pools of velvet
indigo upon our hearts.
Moths trembling near a candle
extinguished by the truth.

May those who seek justice, be satisfied.
May those who grieve, be comforted.
May those who are innocent and crushed under the weight of this mortal world, let justice and peace be granted.

Juli Henry said...

If multiple subpoenas had been "issued", why were they not hand delivered, or "served"? Subpoenas for physical court appearances generally have to be served, anyway, because that is the only guarantee the court has that the witness has seen the subpoena. I am assuming that the witness honestly did not know about it. If it was possible to arrest her, then it was also possible to serve her.

This prosecutor was only worried about winning a case, and was probably irritated at not having enough evidence to convict the defendant. Putting a witness in jail, which can be more dangerous than domestic violence, and sticking her with an arrest and possible criminal record that can hamper her abilities to find employment for the rest of her life is certainly no "life saver".

All this lawyer wanted to do was make her case against the defendant go the way she wanted it to go. And possibly make more money, via fines and fees, for the state.