Statement Regarding the Domestic Violence Arrest of Judge Thomas Ricci
By Judith Earle, Executive Director, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, and Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence
We are deeply concerned about the charges in the domestic violence case involving Judge Thomas Ricci. According to reports, the victim is his girlfriend and showed physical evidence of strangulation. While we do not know all the facts of this developing case, we do know that the law is very clear regarding this serious domestic violence crime.
In 2012, the Rhode Island General Assembly revised the domestic violence law by classifying the crime of strangulation as a felony. A domestic violence victim who has been strangled is 10 times more likely to be killed than one who has not1. Prior to this legislation, strangulation was treated as a misdemeanor simple assault. Thankfully today, our criminal justice system has a tool for holding all batterers accountable and helping protect victims from this potentially lethal act of violence.
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