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Attorney James Knox Discusses Domestic Violence in the NFL

Personal Injury Attorney James KnoxWith recent media attention on domestic violence in the NFL, we spoke with Attorney James Knox, with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP. Here’s what he offered about California Law and the legality around domestic abuse in the NFL.

With recent media attention on domestic violence in the NFL, how has it affected the way the general population and prosecutors view domestic violence cases?

James Knox: I would say that any time that we see a lot of media coverage regarding a specific event – in this instance, domestic violence – and on the criminal side of a court, you do tend to see more prosecutions. The prosecutors that we deal with typically receive a copy of the... Read More »

What constitutes domestic abuse in California?

James Knox: There are two different ways to answer that because there are two different areas of the code that talk about domestic violence. The criminal code, which is the penal code in California, has different sections that discuss domestic violence type cases. The one that is the most frequently charged tends to be... Read More »

What brought about the recent changes in how California handles these cases?

James Knox: I don’t know if it was recent. I would point to – it’s almost 20 years ago now, probably is exactly 20 years ago – the O.J. Simpson case. That case changed everything as far as the laws that were in place regarding domestic cases here. In the past, prior to O.J.... Read More »

Why are domestic abuse laws and penalties different from state to state?

James Knox: I’d probably say because each state is its own sovereign entity. They have the ability to dictate how you’d want to both classify and punish particular crimes, again, on the criminal side and on the civil side in the family law setting. So I think that’s probably the only definite answer I... Read More »

Considering different cultures and upbringings, what’s the line between how a parent disciplines children and the law?

James Knox: I don’t think that the law takes into account a particular person’s culture or race regarding how to discipline a child. And we’ve seen that recently in the Adrian Peterson case, which is out of Texas. Again, that was his defense through his attorney was that that’s how he was raised and... Read More »

In addition to Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald all in the recent past have been alleged to have committed crimes of domestic abuse or domestic violence. Why has it taken the NFL so long to recognize the magnitude and frequency of abuse charges among its players?

James Knox: I don’t know that I can answer that. To me, the issue regarding those issues really is one, it’s an employment issue. It’s the NFL and its players as employees of the league. I would believe if I were standing in the shoes of the NFL that they have to be very... Read More »

Why do some teams like the 49ers allow an accused player to stay on the active roster while teams like the Vikings and the Panthers have suspended or inactivated players?

James Knox: I would guess that it has to be – it’s got to be their own discretion as to whether or not they want to, again, take any sort of employment action. I don’t handle employment law cases, but I think there has to be some area that you have to be careful... Read More »

How are professional athletes treated differently when it comes to plea bargaining?

James Knox: I don’t know that there is an answer to that. I think that plea bargaining tends to be the facts and circumstances of the case and it tends to rely heavily on both the defenses that are available to the defendant and the prosecution’s willingness to either prosecute the individual, maybe in... Read More »

From what you’ve seen in your practice, why are women prone to stay in an abusive relationship and what is the tipping point for someone to request help and say, “Enough is enough?”

James Knox: I don’t know that I could say that as far as my criminal cases, and I don’t know that I have a general answer for you in the family law cases that we handle when I’m representing the victims of these cases. I think it’s specific to that individual. I don’t think... Read More »

How should a victim safely try to extricate themselves from an abusive relationship?

James Knox: The most immediate thing is, of course, to call the police and then get away from the individual as quickly as possible. Law enforcement is specifically trained to deal with these types of domestic violence situations. The officers typically respond to the scene, separate the parties, assess the situation, and in most... Read More »