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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Richard Lavon Davis, Jr. Punches His Girlfriend in the Maternity Ward Over Naming the Baby

     Patrol officers spend much of their time responding to late night and early morning domestic violence calls involving alcohol, drugs, abusive men, and battered women. (These young officers, mostly from middle-class backgrounds, must eventually develop an extremely low opinion of lower-class citizens.) Constant exposure to the underbelly of American culture is one of the drawbacks of police work.

     On January 15, 2012, at 7:40 in the evening, police officers in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, a suburban community outside of Philadelphia, were summoned to a domestic disturbance at an unusual place. The 911 call had originated from the maternity ward in Lower Merion's Lankenau Huspital. The victim of the assault (her name has not been made public) had given birth two days earlier.

     Richard Lavon Davis, Jr., while visiting his girlfriend, the mother of his child, became agitated when he and the new mother couldn't agree on the baby's name. Davis, who had been holding the infant, laid it in its crib when the argument heated up. After screaming and cursing, Davis lost complete control of himself. The enraged father kicked a rolling table toward the chair where the mother sat. When she rose to her feet, Davis punched her twice in the face, knocking her onto the hospital bed. (I guess if you're going to get assaulted, a hospital room is not a bad place to be.)

     The day after the maternity ward attack, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Wallis Brooks charged the 23-year-old father with simple assault, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years.

     A year after the hospital assault, Davis pleaded guilty to punching the new mother in the maternity ward. On February 15, 2013, Montgomery County Judge Joseph Smyth sentenced him to eight to twenty-three months in the county jail. The sentence included 96 hours of community service, and mandatory domestic violence counseling. (Why 96 hours instead of 100 or 84? And counseling? What kind of person needs to be told that punching the mother of your new-born child is wrong? What will keep this man from punching-out the anger management counselor?)

     In speaking to the press following the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Brooks said, "....he assaulted a new mother and his conduct was outrageous....It's absurd that an argument over the name of the child would lead to this kind of physical violence against a defenseless woman who is just recovering from one of nature's most beautiful experiences, the birthing of a child."

     The convicted man's attorney, Gregory Nestor, told reporters that his client was "....quite remorseful about what he did." (If there's any remorse in this case, it should be on the part of the woman this man impregnated.) The lawyer, in speaking highly of his client, said, "That by coming into court and pleading guilty and accepting the sentence...indicates his acceptance of responsibility for his actions." (Pardon me--but that's one big load of defense attorney crap.)

    Tthe sentence in this case was a joke. If Davis was capable of hitting the mother of his 2-day-old baby, life for this mother and child could get a lot worse when he's released from jail.

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