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Lawyer sentenced to one year incarceration, for false affidavit in family violence case

On Sun, 09 May 1999 in aus.legal <mhamill@donet.com> wrote:

Affidavit falsely put man in jail

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Walnut Hills lawyer was sentenced to one year in prison Tuesday for filing a false affidavit that resulted in the arrest of an innocent man.

Calling her conduct "reprehensible", Judge Steven Martin told Doris Houser Allen that her actions warranted a prison sentence.

Ms. Allen was convicted last month in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court on charges of perjury, tampering with records and tampering with evidence. She faced a maximum possible sentence of two years.

Prosecutors say Ms. Allen filed an affidavit on behalf of client Sylvia Huff that included false charges of domestic violence against Ms. Huff's boyfriend.

They say Ms. Allen told her client that the accusations would help her win custody of her children.

As a result of the affidavit, Ms. Huff's estranged boy friend spent a night in jail.

The charges against Ms. Allen were filed last year after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a recommendation from the Cincinnati Bar Association to suspend her law license.

At Ms. Allen's sentencing Tuesday, Ms. Huff said Ms. Allen misled her and snared her in a legal mess.

"I want the court to know the great pain she has caused me," Ms. Huff told the judge. "I can understand an honest mistake, but not once did I see any remorse. Not once did I get an apology."

Ms. Allen's attorney, Bernard Wong, urged the judge to consider probation.  He said his client was not a threat to the community and had already suffered the loss of her law practice.

The judge, however, said the sentence is necessary because she broke a cardinal rule for lawyers and sent an innocent man to jail.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, April 28, 1999

Submitter's note: In all likelihood, the practice for which Ms. Houser-Allen was convicted has occurred thousands of times here in the U.S.; she was a rare one who got caught.

A generation ago, police and prosecutors didn't want to get involved at all in domestic violence scenes. Now the legal system in many places has moved to overzealous enforcement. In family law courts, the thing to do for a long time has been to go into court on an "emergency" hearing (where the purported offender is not present), allege abuses or threats, then have the other spouse (read: husband or boyfriend) removed from the home because of the imminent threat. Naturally, few if any judges will admit they goofed in issuing the original order at the required follow-up hearing later on, where the alleged offender gets to be present and represented.

Things are pretty dismal in regards to criminal law enforcement, too: many local prosecutors often bring charges (against men, of course) based on nothing more than allegations. Typically these weak charges are later dismissed. But it gives many a chance to be vicious.

The goal in all this is not protection from violence; it is to get a guy thrown out of his home and/or neutralized in any possible child custody dispute. All the while trying to seem like a victim.


My note:  It will be interesting to see how much of her sentence Ms. Doris Houser Allen will actually serve, if any time at all. --WHS

See also:

1999 06 04
2001 02 04 (format changes)
2013 03 08 (removed reference to dvstats.org -- website no longer functions)