FAMILY LAW ARTICLES
Half of the country has been glued to their computer devices, streaming the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial. While I briefly offered some thoughts on this earlier, I want to wrap up my thoughts as the trial concludes.
Overview of Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard
Let’s keep in mind that this is a defamation trial. A complete defense in this type of trial is whether what the person said was true.
So let’s look at what was said. Amber Heard is alleged to have said that she knows what it’s like to be a victim of domestic violence. Her defense could have been relatively straightforward that she was at any point in time a victim of domestic violence.
Mr. Depp’s lawyers have done an outstanding job of making the case that he was a victim of battery perpetrated by Miss Heard. He was the victim of assault perpetrated by Miss Heard.
Is that a defense to defamation under the laws of the state of Virginia? I’m not so sure. It may be going more to jury sympathy, and it may be going more towards the idea that when Miss Heard claimed she was the abused party, she was deliberately lying.
That’s probably the tack they’re taking. I’m not saying that is what the jury is going to find. But what the jury needs to see in the defamation hearing is this: was she a victim of domestic violence at any point in time?
The implication is that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence. And I think his attorneys have tried very hard to connect the domestic violence allegation made by Miss Heard to Mr. Depp. Indeed, they’ve made the excellent case that he suffered significant financial damage due to her allegations.
Her attorneys stepped in it when they tangled on the idea that, yes, he was the one perpetrating domestic violence. That she was referring to him when she was talking about this.
Is the jury going to find an instance during their marriage, during their relationship, when he perpetrated domestic violence upon her? And there has to be domestic violence under the laws of Virginia.
That’s interesting because I know the domestic violence laws from practicing in Texas and California. However, both are under the uniform domestic violence prevention act which has differences in how they are enacted and in the case law that has created them. Cultures from state to state are different.
The Particulars for a Defamation Hearing
Remember that this is a defamation hearing. Mr. Depp came forward and spoke very frankly. He’s produced a lot of witnesses about how he has been abused. Men are often the victims of domestic violence. Women are not the exclusive victims of domestic violence.
I think it is crucial for us as a society to recognize this. No one should get a free pass and be able to abuse another person, especially in an intimate and what should be a trusting relationship. I hope that you’re not going to listen to this verdict, whether it’s liable or not liable, and see that as any indication of your own life and situation.
If she is found not liable, that does not mean that he would not have had a perfect case for domestic violence restraining order or protection under that statute. Keep that in mind. Don’t think, whichever way this goes, that it applies to your situation. Or that you cannot get help or find safety.
If you are in a domestic situation requiring legal help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We can provide resources to protect your best interests.