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Hotel heir charged with domestic violence in Boca Raton

Recently a 53-year-old man was arrested on domestic battery charges in Boca Raton. The case is a good illustration of the fact that domestic violence accusations can be made against anyone, rich or poor. In this case, the man is the grandson of the founder of the Hilton Hotel chain and lists his occupation as "philanthropist."

The incident happened at a restaurant after the man and two friends, a man and a woman, allegedly refused to pay a $531 bill for their meal. The man's two companions allegedly told restaurant employees to put the bill on "Mr. Moe's account." The restaurant replied that there was no such account and called police when the group allegedly still didn't pay.

When officers arrived, one of them allegedly saw the accused and his girlfriend get into an argument. According to the officer, who was looking through the window of the restaurant, he saw the man, who was sitting at the bar, stand up. The man allegedly then grabbed the woman by the shoulders and pushed her. The woman was forced to take several steps back. The man was arrested on domestic violence charges and taken to jail.

Charges like this can have serious consequences, not the least of which is a damaged reputation. But those who are charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The police officer's allegations sound pretty clear when they are read uncritically. But defense counsel in a case like this will question exactly how much the officer was really able to see. It is also interesting that the officer claims he observed the incident through a window from outside the restaurant, which suggests he was unable to hear what was said between the man and the woman. Perhaps this was a case of innocent conduct being misinterpreted by someone who did not have the full context of what happened.

Source: Broward Palm Beach New Times, "Hilton Hotels Founder's Grandson Arrested on Domestic Battery Charges," Chris Joseph, May 6, 2013

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