Deborah Davis, a prosecuting attorney in Michigan, is currently receiving ample praise after deftly recognizing an abuser was in the same house as his victim during their online court hearing.
Due to pandemic restrictions still being in place, a court hearing for Coby Harris and Mary Lindsey took place via live-stream on YouTube.
Harris was facing charges of assault, specifically to cause bodily harm to his girlfriend, Lindsey.
Harris was out of jail for the time being on bond and was required to observe a restraining order held against him to keep Lindsey safe.
During the first seven minutes of the online hearing, Prosecutor Davis asked Lindsey questions about the night of the incident.
Lindsey noticeably gave vague, short and cut-off answers, and she also repeatedly looked off to her right side, appearing nervous.
Blue curtains could be seen over Lindsey's right shoulder, as well.
Harris was more blunt, but also brief, in his responses, and the wall behind him was simply blank.
When Prosecutor Davis asked Lindsey what happened to her when the police arrived at her home that night, she did not like Lindsey's physical reaction.
Davis paused for a moment and then stated:
"Your honor, I have reason to believe that the defendant is in the same apartment as the complaining witness right now, and I'm extremely scared for her safety."
"The fact that she's looking off to the side, and he's moving around, I want some confirmation that she is safe before we continue."
The judge, District Court Judge Jeffrey Middleton, asked Lindsey to confirm where she was during the call, and Lindsey said she was in her home and confirmed her address.
Davis immediately contacted the police, who quickly went to Lindsey's house.
In the meantime, Judge Middleton turned to Harris and asked him to confirm where he was.
Middleton demanded Harris take his phone outside with him and show the address on the front of his house, to confirm he was actually at the location he had suggested.
Harris was indignant.
"Why? I don't even think this phone has the charge for that. I'm hooked up to this wall charger right here."
When the police arrived, Lindsey went to answer the door. Davis directed her to stay on camera, so they could confirm she was safe.
After answering the door, Lindsey's camera feed startlingly went blank.
Davis warned Harris the cops were at Lindsey's door. He nervously looked to his right, just as Lindsey had done, and then he stood up from where he'd been sitting. Before he turned off his camera, blue curtains came into view.
Seeing all of this unfold, Davis ran her hand down her face and said:
"We may need to adjourn this, your honor. We would ask that his bond be canceled."
More than a minute went by before Lindsey's camera turned back on. But instead of Lindsey holding her phone, it was Harris.
As the police arrested him, Harris said:
"Your Honor, we both don't want the no-contact order."
"I asked that it be dropped."
"I'm sorry I lied to you. I knew the cops were outside. I don't know why I lied to you."
Judge Middleton warned Harris:
"Mr. Harris, my advice is don't say anything else."
"Take the cigarette out of your mouth."
"You've hit bottom, and you're continuing to dig."
You can see more about the hearing here:
The video was originally shared to the "Public Freakout" subReddit, but the original YouTube video has since been taken down.
Before the video came down, the Redditors reflected the same praise for Davis as the rest of the internet.
"Well done, Madam Prosecutor." - Peakedattwentytwo
"Wow, that was some stellar work by Attorney Davis to pick up on that!" - billybobghandi
"Damn, give this prosecutor a medal. That was incredible." - bubbygups
"That was Sherlock Holmes level deduction on a zoom call, well done!" - VeryVeryVorch
It truly was impressive to see Davis piece together Lindsey's nervous behavior so quickly. It inevitably impacted the direction the hearing could have taken, as Lindsey undoubtedly was softening her answers that would be held against her abuser.
Harris had already been charged with assault, which is punishable with up to 10 years in prison. After this stunt, however, Harris will be viewed as a repeat offender, ultimately with a charge of persuading a witness.
Harris also was taken back to jail because of violating his bond based on the restraining order. He will have another hearing on March 16.
Lindsey has not commented on the situation, but she confirmed she has escaped her abuser and is looking forward to her and her child starting a new, peaceful life together.
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