Domestic violence victim questions Tulsa judge's 'slap on the hand'

Saturday, November 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa woman says a judge's decision to reduce a jury's sentence of one year to just 30 days is a slap in the face to domestic violence victims everywhere.

The judge's decision not only upset the victim in this case, but also domestic violence advocacy groups. News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright looks at both sides of the story. Was this a gross miscarriage of justice or was it a fair, legal decision, based on a unique set of circumstances, it all depends on who you ask. Neysa Minnick had been married 10 months, when she had dinner out with her girlfriends and came home to an angry husband, she remembers him kicking her in the face. Neysa Minnick, "When I came to, I heard the crunching, so I thought that's when he kicked me. I heard the crunching and there was blood all over my hands, over the floor."

Minnick's broken jaws have required two surgeries, she and her husband divorced and a jury found him guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery. They recommended the maximum of a year in jail and $3,000 fine. But, at the sentencing, Judge Darlene Crutchfield reduced the sentence to 30 days and said he could serve it on weekends. "With me standing up for myself for the first time in my life, it's a slap in the face. It's basically patting him on the back, saying, what he did was no big deal to you." Domestic Violence Intervention Services says it was shocked and disappointed by the judge's decision. Felecia Correia Collins with DVIS: "We've worked so hard for victims to be safe and batterers to be held accountable and this goes in the face of everything we've been working to accomplish in the last few years."

Shannon McMurray was Randy Cranmer's attorney. She says he had just been in a terrible car accident, and the combination of his head injury and prescription painkillers caused an explosive outburst. “This was a one time incident, 8 days after a massive head injury on schedule II narcotics. It had not happened before and did not happen after." McMurray says judges change jury sentences everyday because it's their job not to be swayed, but to make decisions based only on evidence and law. "If what DVIS or any advocacy group wants to do is constrict a judge's decisions, that' goes against our very legal system."

Neysa plans to keep speaking out about her case in an effort to bring more attention to the number of spouses who suffer physical and mental pain at the hands of a loved one.

Judge Crutchfield couldn't comment about her decision because Randy Cranmer is filing an appeal of his guilty verdict. He's out of jail until then; Neysa Minnick has a protective order against him.