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Baseball player faces domestic violence charges in Florida

Wladimir Balentien is not exactly a household name in the United States, except to diehard baseball fans. But he is a star in Japan, where he plays for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and last year broke the single-season home run record in that country. A native of Curacao, he played for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds before going to Japan.

Balentien recently made the news in America when he was arrested in Florida on domestic violence charges. The criminal charges include a felony charge of false imprisonment as well as misdemeanor battery.

The incident that led to the arrest took place at the home of Balentien's wife. The couple is in the process of divorcing after six years of marriage. According to the allegations of police, that Balentien went to his wife's house in the Miami area. When she did not answer the door or her phone, he allegedly removed the screens from some windows and entered the home. Police claim that once inside, he grabbed his wife by the arm. When she went into a bedroom he followed her and locked the door. Balentien was arrested after an alleged witness called the police.

False imprisonment means restraining or holding someone against their will. As in any criminal case, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a case like this, arising in the context of an apparent argument, there may be reasonable doubt as to whether the alleged victim was truly restrained. And consent is a defense; if the evidence shows the alleged victim chose to remain in the room, the charge should be dismissed.

Source: Boston Herald, "Japan home run leader Wladimir Balentien arrested in US," Jan. 14, 2014

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