NO Justice in Delaware

reprinted with permission from Fathers for Justice at January 11, 2012

Tiffany Marie Smith the obviously mentally unstable woman who cut herself with a knife in an attempt to implicate her ex-husband, Gordon Smith, for that fabricated attack; the same woman who made 14 false police reports against Gordon Smith, nine of which resulted in his wrongful arrest cut a deal January 8, 2013 with prosecutor Greg Babowal, Delaware Deputy Attorney General in Kent County. 
Tiffany Marie Smith plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge and the others were dropped, and she was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for one year probation and given a small fine with no restitution to the state for costs. Nine false arrests, that could have resulted in false imprisonment of an innocent man with sentences ranging from one year, in some false reports, to fifteen years or more had the woman been successful in framing him for attempted murder and ancillary charges in her last false report, where she cut herself. Not a day in jail for the woman who tried so hard to destroy an innocent man, using police agencies, prosecutors and the courts as her personal tools of vengeance. Tens of thousands of Delaware taxpayer dollars spent for investigations, arrests and prosecutions and not a dime of restitution. 

This happened as the culmination of a number of factors that are present to lesser degree throughout the United States. 

In this situation there was a primary police agency that is not very competent in that particular barracks of that particular department; Troop 3 of the Delaware State Police (DSP). Additionally the police benefit from hefty federal grants that train and motivate them to disregard normal standards of probable cause and disregard the fact that the alleged victim might be motivated by gain or revenge and to believe women who are claiming to be victims of alleged crimes perpetrated by former or current intimate partners/spouses, when absent the "domestic" factor the outcome would differ. The police then submit warrant applications, often merely a transcription of a woman's false accusation, to a Justice of the Peace, a politically appointed magistrate who doesn't have to even be a lawyer, where the application is almost always rubber-stamped without question. Then an arrest is made. The ease of getting someone falsely arrested in this manner happens in too many places in the US. It is frightening how easy it is with the Troop 3/Justice of the Peace Court combination in Delaware. 

This is compounded in Delaware by the fact that the state is considered a model of domestic violence advocacy. It is the state where then Senator Joseph Biden II "wrote" the Violence Against Women Act, also known as VAWA. Delaware domestic violence advocacy goes to such an extent to protect women that it becomes easy for the laws and  programs to be abused by people who are not actually victims of domestic violence at the expense of others who are innocent of wrongdoing. 

VAWA has spawned many effects two of which are civil protection orders for spouses and former intimate partners as well as family members. These civil protection orders in Delaware are called Protection from Abuse orders and can include relief such as exclusive possession of the marital home, vehicles, bank accounts and the children. Fit and loving parents can be denied access to their children on an accusation of abuse against the other parent. No need to pay an attorney for a motion for exclusive possession of the home or custody of the children. In fact, making a petition for a protection order in Delaware you are provided a free attorney from Community Legal Aid. The standard of evidence is "preponderance of evidence" which is supposed to mean that it's more likely than not that the accusations are true. This standard of evidence is common in civil courts. The difference being in civil courts a defendant can have the case heard by a jury and a judge. In family courts there is no jury and the judge is usually a magistrate. In many cases these magistrates, Commissioner in Delaware, chose to err on the side of caution disregarding any lack of physical evidence. In Delaware, in approximately 90% of protection hearings protection orders are granted. Protection orders are civil but appear on background checks. The individuals with a protection order against them are not allowed to possess firearms even if firearms are required in their employment. However well-intentioned VAWA and it's offshoots were intended, the pendulum has swung to the degree that there is a new class of victims; victims of false allegations of abuse. The civil order if violated can result in civil contempt but violation of a protection from abuse order is also a crime and will result in arrest.

Armed with a civil protection order/PFA an unscrupulous woman, like a Tiffany Smith, can now turn this into a weapon by making a false accusation that the subject of the order (respondent) was closer than the allowed number of feet, placed a phone call, was in the same store, etc which takes us back to the first paragraph where some police, like Troop 3 of the DSP, consider writing the statement of an accuser in a report, to be the extent of an investigation and go to step two, the rubber-stamp warrant from the willing and compliant Justice of the Peace Court.    

This was the backdrop that contributed to Ms. Smith being able to make so many false reports that resulted in nine false arrests of one person. After his arrest Mr. Smith was able to prove in two cases, with video surveillance, physical evidence that Ms. Smith had lied to police making false reports. Despite the fact that it was irrefutable that he was innocent and she was guilty of those false reports the police that arrested him did not drop the charges against him and did not arrest Ms. Smith for false reporting to police which is also a crime. 

Ms. Smith, having suffered no adverse consequences for filing false reports, that she knew had been proven to be false, went on a rampage and in the month between July 28, 2012 and August 28, 2012 made five more false reports that resulted in three more false arrests of her ex-husband. The Dover Delaware Police, lead by Chief James Hosfelt, a seasoned officer and a man of integrity, did not want to play her games and arrested Tiffany Marie Smith on August 31, 2012 and had the current pending charges against Gordon Smith dropped. That was as close as this story got to a happy ending. 

The Delaware Department of Justice is run by Attorney General Joseph Biden III, the son of the Senator, now Vice President of the United States, who wrote VAWA. Mr. Biden's Department of Justice disregarded the number and severity of Ms. Smith's crimes and gave her the lenient plea agreement victimizing Mr. Smith again as well as other victims of false reports and making a mockery of justice. It you are charged with three false reports of auto theft in Delaware I can just about guarantee that you will serve time in prison. DSP Troop 3/Justice of the Peace Courts/Delaware Department of Justice is the perfect combination to facilitate false reporting domestic violence. With that combination Ms. Smith was almost always successful getting her ex-husband wrongfully arrested, harassing and terrorizing him for over three years. DSP Troop 3 was her accomplice police agency of choice.   

In New Hampshire, several years ago, Kristen Ruggerio made a single false report using twelve fabricated text messages. (Ms. Smith used fabricated letters and phone calls when she even bothered to produce fabricated evidence. In a number of her false reports it was her word alone with no physical evidence needed to get rubber-stamp warrants) In Ruggerio's case in New Hampshire, the prosecutor, Jerome Blanchard, said "unfortunately for her we're not in family court anymore", and said that in criminal court accusations have to be backed up (by evidence). The Judge, Kenneth McHugh, called her a pathological liar and said that it was unlikely that she could be rehabilitated. Kristen Ruggerio was sentenced to 7 to 14 years in prison for the one false report against her ex-husband and the 12 text messages she falsified. That is a stark contrast to what happened to Tiffany Marie Smith in Delaware or rather what didn't happen to Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith was a far worse offender. She committed many more false reports, many more instances of fabricated evidence and caused many more false arrests of an innocent person. 

In the end the big difference is the state where the crimes occurred. It is tragically easy to get a man arrested for domestic violence in Delaware and in many other states. In far fewer states would a police department ignore a proven false report of any crime as Troop 3 did. I don't know of any other state where a state's attorney would set such a bad example and let a woman who made at least five proven false reports, charged with three false reports and felony misstatement to police in the incident where she cut herself to frame someone, a well publicized case, reported in news papers and on radio and many websites, off with a slap on the wrist. 

The lesson learned: if you want to make false reports of crimes of domestic violence Delaware is the best place to do it. In Delaware the optimum jurisdiction is Troop 3 of the DSP. 

Incidentally, the protection order that Ms. Smith got against her ex-husband that was based on the lies and false arrests that she was charged with and charges against him dismissed; is still in effect. The motion to dismiss the PFA based on the bogus arrests was denied by Commissioner Louann Vari, a former states attorney, who contrary to any evidence sees every accused male as guilty. She made adverse rulings against Mr. Smith in almost every hearing before her. He filed a complaint. Vari still refuses to recuse herself and continues to hear his cases. The children of Mr. and Ms. Smith remain in the custody of Ms. Smith despite the fact that she injured herself and attempted to wrongfully frame their father, over and over again, for numerous crimes. Family Court in Kent County, Delaware isn't very good either.      

In Delaware if not for the Dover Police Department Tiffany Smith would not even have been arrested. Dover PD did their jobs and are to be commended.  The Delaware State Police Troop 3 failed to arrest Tiffany Marie Smith for the proven false reports in 2010 and had Dover PD not stopped her, this past August, she would still be filing false reports today and there is no reason to believe that she wouldn't continue committing false reporting until she was successful getting her ex-husband falsely imprisoned. As Judge McHugh of New Hampshire said about Ms. Ruggerio it's likely that Ms. Smith "cannot be rehabilitated".

Delawareans should hold the police and the prosecutors accountable for failing to protect Mr. Smith for over three years, for failing to punish the perpetrator who committed numerous crimes against him when she was finally arrested, for failing to recoup wasted taxpayer dollars and for failing to make an example of Ms. Smith to prevent others from replicating her crimes and causing the arrest and prosecution of other innocent citizens.

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