A 3rd District judge has dismissed a case against a former police officer accused of violating a protective order after his wife asked the judge to dismiss it.
Darcy Stowe appeared in court Monday and asked Judge Anthony Quinn to dismiss the case against her husband, John Stowe, 33, who was charged in January with violating a protective order, a class A misdemeanor. Quinn agreed to Stowe's request, saying that he believed the dismissal was in Darcy Stowe's best interest, said West Jordan City Attorney Greg Curtis, who was prosecuting the case.Quinn's ruling comes within a month after the Utah Court of Appeals ruled that victims of domestic violence can ask a judge to dismiss the criminal complaint against the defendant.
In a unanimous opinion that affirms trial court action, a three-judge panel said Utah law "clearly and unambiguously" gives judges the authority to dismiss domestic violence complaints at a victim's request when it's in the victim's best interest.
Quinn arrived at his decision after interviewing Darcy Stowe with her attorney in his chambers, Curtis said. Prosecutors and defense attorneys were then allowed to question her.
"She articulated to the judge why it was in her best interest to have the charges dismissed," Curtis said. "Even if the allegations were proven, they are technical violations. If there had been violence after the protective order was issued, maybe (Quinn) would have ruled differently."
Quinn "indicated that she was articulate and that she understood the legal proceedings, that this incident was an isolated incident and not a historical pattern," Curtis said.
Curtis said Darcy Stowe obtained a protective order against her husband after an incident of "domestic violence and physical abuse."
Darcy Stowe told police that on Nov. 14 her estranged husband verbally and physically abused her by shoving her, twisting her arm behind her back and shoving a necklace into her mouth. Darcy Stowe sought a protective order against her husband shortly after the incident.
The order was filed Jan. 5, but 10 days later her husband allegedly tried to contact her.
John Stowe was charged with the violation, but by February the couple had reconciled and she asked that the protective order be repealed, Curtis said.
John Stowe, a 10-year veteran of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, was fired about a month after the violation allegedly occurred.
Defense attorney Ron Yengich said charges stemming from the complaint have also been dismissed.