Background: Conscientious Virginia judge James Michael Shull, who smoked out a woman who sought to extend a restraining order based on false charges of domestic violence, was just removed from the bench by this Virginia Supreme Court ruling. To learn more about the case, see my blog posts In Defense of Judge James Michael Shull (Part I), Part II, Part III, or Part IV, or read my co-authored newspaper column defending Shull here.
In the Shull case, Tammy G. had obtained a domestic violence protection order against her husband Keith G., claiming that he had stabbed her. At the time of the G. hearing, the couple”s two young children, then ages three and five, were staying with their paternal grandmother. Keith testified that he hadn”t harmed Tammy, and that if she did have a wound, she had cut herself. Keith also testified that Tammy had committed a similar act on March 22, 2006, harming herself and then calling the police to report that Keith had attacked her.
Shull examined the wounds and found that they were four nearly identical razor blade-like slices in two sets of parallel lines spaced evenly apart–hardly the type of wounds one would receive in domestic combat, and entirely consistent with Keith”s allegations that Tammy had cut herself. Shull also examined the Wise County Sheriff”s Incident Report about Tammy G.”s March allegations. According to the report, Tammy “gave a statement that she had done this to herself to get attention,’ and “admitted that she had self-inflicted her wounds.’
Shull concluded that Tammy G.’s claims were false, and he ruled against her. Despite the later controversy over the case, no party in the dispute is even claiming that Shull made the wrong decision in finding that the wounds in question were self-inflicted.
In this case, Tammy G. attempted to inflict great harm on her husband and their children by falsely accusing her husband of stabbing her. Yet while the judge who worked hard to discover the truth has been relentlessly persecuted, Tammy G. faces no consequences for her false allegations.
The list above is a partial list of the various crimes Tammy G. faces charges for. I have one question–why can we criminally charge her for credit card fraud but we can’t charge her for attempting to defraud the court? Why can we charge her with identity theft, but we can’t charge her for attempting the theft of a father’s children?