Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman is known for catching criminals — not being related to them. But in August, it was his daughter who ended up behind bars.
What led to her arrest, and does her self-defense claim hold up in her domestic violence case?
One Side of the Story
Cecily Barmore Chapman, 28, is the daughter of the late Beth Chapman who was married to Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman in 2006. Duane adopted Cecily along with her three other siblings after he married Beth. Duane and Cecily currently have a strained relationship, so he wasn’t involved in her recent arrest, nor has he commented on her situation.
On July 31, cops in Honolulu got a phone call from Cecily’s boyfriend, Matty Smith. Smith said Cecily was intoxicated, punched him in the face and back, and also bit him. He claimed it wasn’t the first time Cecily had psychically attacked him.
Police arrived on the scene and arrested Cecily for “misdemeanor abuse of a household member” as reported by Fox News.
The Other Side of the Story
While Smith made Cecily out to be the aggressor in the situation, Cecily tells another story.
According to Cecily, she only got physical with Smith as a way to protect herself. She claims Smith made disrespectful comments about her mother while attacking her.
“It’s truly sad that a woman who was attacked by a man and defended herself would be shamed for doing so. It’s gross. Let me be a voice of clarity for little girls everywhere, fight back before you become a victim,” she told Page Six.
“I was attacked. I defended myself. I’d do it again. End of story,” she added.
So, Who Is In Trouble?
Domestic violence incidents with conflicting stories are complex. The incident involving Chapman and her boyfriend happened in Hawaii and will be handled under their laws and guidelines. In Florida, domestic violence is defined under Florida Statute 741.28 as:
“Any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
Domestic charges can lead to penalties such as:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Loss of rights such as a concealed carry permit
- Enrollment in Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)
- No contact orders
At this time, Cecily isn’t facing any of these consequences. The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is not pressing charges, so the matter is considered resolved.
But, if the case was moving forward, would self-defense work?
Making a Case for Self-Defense
In Florida, there are laws that protect individuals from prosecution if they harm someone in an act to protect themselves. How this directly applies to Cecily’s case is complicated.
Florida has a set of laws known as “stand your ground” laws. These statutes permit the use of deadly force if someone, “reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
Cecily’s case likely wouldn’t have met the standard for “stand your ground” as it did not immediately appear that her life was at risk.
But, she could have still used a self-defense claim in Florida. To prove her claim, she would have needed to show that she faced an imminent threat, she did not provoke the threat, and that another reasonable person would have acted in the same manner.
Domestic disputes are often a case of “he said/she said.” It can be difficult to prove what really happened without concrete evidence or witness statements. If Cecily wanted to claim self-defense, she would need to have evidence.
At this time, neither Cecily nor her boyfriend will have the burden of proving their side of the story as the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is not pressing charges.
Work with an Attorney Who Will Fight to Protect You
If you have been involved in a domestic violence incident, make sure you have a criminal defense attorney who will collect all of the facts and get to the truth of what really happened. If you have questions or concerns about criminal charges, talk to TJ Grimaldi.
TJ Grimaldi is committed to getting to the truth and driving the best possible outcomes for his clients. If you need assistance, contact us today. Request your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.