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Wrongful accusation of Stalking + destruction of (my) property

On Lawyer & Legal » criminal law & procedure

8,514 words with 0 Comments; publish: Mon, 09 Nov 2009 11:30:00 GMT; (80046.88, « »)

The state is: ? Virginia

I'll state my questions, first, then proceed to the facts of the case.

(1) I've been accused of "stalking," which in Virginia is a Section 18.2-60.3 "Stalking" Class 1 Misdemeanor. The part of the definition that is said to apply to my case is:

"... Any Person [...] who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household member..."

So, my first question is what is a "reasonable fear" of those things and how can I find successful cases that challenge the reasonableness of a person's fear?

(2) The father of the woman I was supposedly stalking was the house mate of my girlfriend and also a Virginia State Police Officer. He, without my girlfriend's permission, entered her room, took all belongings he thought might be mine (including some of her belongings that were NOT mine) and threw them on the streets to be stolen. There are no Richmond Police officers willing to press charges against this man claiming it's a civil matter and that he acted in "good faith." Is there a way to force the issue of filing charges, or at least file a formal complaint that gets taken seriously enough for an investigation? Is there a way to recover compensation in civil court when his actions were part of the above "stalking" incident, or should I just accept that he's "protected" by being a cop?


(1) I suffered a PTSD episode in early June of 2009 that caused me to lose my memory and I was discharged as a homeless person with the clothes on my back, a laptop computer and apartment keys to an apartment I couldn't remember or find. I spent the Summer getting back on my feet and during that time met a much younger woman who knew my situation and we fell in love. She's 19 and I'm 40 and we knew that the age difference was a serious issue and we've dealt with it in a responsible way, even talking to therapists about the issue. The only reason this is relevant is because the prosecutor is so appalled at the idea, that he's making it a question of my character.

I was invited by my girlfriend to "come to Richmond" from DC and start over there. She, a VCU student, would help me as best she could. I sold belongings I had found in a storage unit I owned and was able to pay for 1 month rent to live on my own. I then spent 1 week living with my girlfriend as I searched for a more permanent location. I asked her roommate, E.A. if this was ok and she indicated it was as long as I contributed to utility bills.

(2) My girlfriend had to go out of state to a race (she's on the crew team) and the roommate suddenly grew uncomfortable with a 40-year old in the house. Instead of calling my girlfriend, or telling me that she wanted me to leave, she called her boyfriend to confront me and he gave me 5 minutes to pack and leave. They then called the police while I was doing just that and I was peacefully escorted out of the house with only my clothing and my laptop. I had no money, nowhere to go and the 'eviction' was going to cause me to be homeless, again, in a town that has no support for homelessness. It was a high-stress situation and I felt myself having an emotional breakdown while wandering the streets and was afraid of a relapse of the PTSD. I was not able to reach my girlfriend as she was not answering the cell phone... I did something stupid: I decided to shut of my mind with a cheap bottle of vodka rather than allow myself to have the breakdown. I continued to leave messages -- voice and text -- that were increasingly angry and frustrated and, at one point, threatened to "destroy" E.A. for what I felt was a cowardly way of dealing with a non-problem. In the same Voicemail, I defined "destroy" in the same sentences: "I'm going to destroy Emily! She's never going to be able to show her face in public without everyone knowing what a b** and a drama queen she is."

(3) I posted on my FaceBook Status, "Watch me destroy a woman named Emily" and subsequently started writing essays to post publicly the events of that night and other events in which she was a petty drama queen that stirred up trouble, etc. etc. "Destroy" was definitely a bad choice of words, but Emily was not a friend on my facebook or my girlfriend's and I had no reason to think she would ever see it. In fact, she never did. It was a police officer that looked me up on FB and saw the status. The articles were written in such a way to rank highly in Google.

(4) At that point, the vodka was starting to work and I was inebriated and made a second bad decision: I decided the only thing I could do would be to go back into the house (using the keys my GF had given me) and go into the GF's room, lock the door and pass out on her bed. I left a message to the GF saying I was doing just that. I then passed out.

(5) GF finally gets all of my messages and the increasing anger and decides to play it safe by calling the police and having me escorted out of her apartment because she did not know if roommate was safe. I did not hear the police officers as I was passed out until they broke the glass of her bedroom door to open it. I then left peacefully with the clothes I was wearing and my laptop.

(6) Roommate's father and girlfriend's father show up and they throw out all my possessions as well as some of girlfriend's by accident.

(7) At no time did I actually have contact or any interaction with the roommate. None. She did not ever ask me to leave, but rather some guy who did not live there. Until Girlfriend requested that the police escort me out, I had her permission to stay there. When asked to leave by her (the police conveyed her request) I left without incident.

(8) I finally did have that emotional breakdown later that night while walking around on the streets and woke up in a hospital having been admitted there via ambulance.

(9) Several days later, A warrant was presented to me accusing me of stalking the roommate. O.o Really? I never actually interacted directly with her at all.

(10) I was arrested upon my discharge from the hospital and have a pending court date. It was my gf that bailed me out of jail and the roommate claims (to the gf) that she had no idea that charges were even filed against me.

(11) The prosecutor, during the bail hearing, kept mixing up the facts presenting actions by my girlfriend as actions of the alleged "victim" who would have been the roommate and kept insinuating that my relationship with my girlfriend was illegal or at least morally appalling to the point where the judge finally yelled at him.

I'm having a hard time seeing my actions as threatening to E.A. except that my age might have made her uncomfortable. The fact that I re-entered the room after being asked to leave MIGHT be considered a threat (never mind that E.A. wasn't in the house and I didn't interact with her, being passed out in the girlfriend's locked room)... but "stalking" requires two or more occurrences of a threat and the FB status using the word "destroy" is the only other possible threat... except that the word "destroy" was used in a context and to people who would have understood the context in a commonly accepted way to mean an action FAR from physical or sexual assault. Sports teams "destroy" each other. Lawyers "destroy" the other side in a court room. People are "destroyed" by hurting their public or social image in an unrepairable way.

I don't have confidence in my public defender, who is overworked. I want to do some of the legwork to make this go away and to recover at least the monetary value of my stolen belongings. Any suggestions? How do I research the threat level of my actions in the sense of whether a person could reasonably feel threatened? How much does a threat require direct interaction and not just third-parties perceiving a potential threat? Is there a difference between a "threat" and the "chance of a threat?"The state is: ?

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