Posted on Jan 23, 2012
In a rare move, a Seattle judge has deferred the domestic violence charges of a Seattle detective who was arrested by police at a beer festival in 2011. Judge Nancy Harmon said that the man will avoid prosecution if he successfully completes an alcohol treatment program over the next two years. 

According to the Seattle Times, 55-year-old Ronald Lee Murray was charged with fourth-degree domestic violence assault when he was seen dragging his 44-year-old live-in girlfriend by her hair through the parking lot of an Oktoberfest event in October 2011. The man, a detective sergeant with the Seattle Police Domestic Violence Unit, was arrested after Chelan County sheriff’s deputies observed the assault. 

Murray admitted to being an alcoholic and struggling with addiction. His girlfriend has pleaded with authorities to release the man. His two years of addiction treatment will be followed by three years of court supervision. It is unclear whether he will return to the Seattle Police Department. 

While deferred sentences are common with some types of cases, they are almost never heard of in instances of domestic violence. The move has led some to believe that the Seattle police detective received special treatment for a serious crime. Others add that while domestic violence can be exacerbated by addiction, alcohol use should not be blamed for a domestic violence assault.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington