Only in Florida — A man accused of shoving his wife, putting his hand on her throat and raising his fist to her during an argument learned his fate during his initial court appearance earlier this week – a romantic dinner with the wife at Red Lobster.
“He’s going to stop by somewhere and he’s going to get some flowers,” Judge John “Jay” Hurley said at 47-year-old Joseph Bray’s bond hearing. “And then he’s going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster. And then after they have Red Lobster, they’re going to go bowling.”
Bray’s wife, who was present at the hearing, said the couple began arguing after Bray neglected to wish her a happy birthday. At some point during the spat, Bray allegedly shoved the woman against a couch and placed one hand on her throat, raising the other as if to strike her. Fortunately, he did not.
Judge Hurley asked the woman if she was hurt or in fear of her husband. When the woman answered no, Hurley continued probing.
“Do you have something you like to go to?” he asked. “Is there a restaurant you like to go to?”
After hearing the woman’s response, bowling and Red Lobster, Hurley made his decision, adding that the couple must seek counseling within a week.
Hurley later defended the sentence, emphasizing that he would not have ordered such “whimsical conditions” for Bray had the domestic violence charge been more serious, or if it appeared that his wife had been injured or in danger of future harm. He also cited Bray’s lack of criminal history.
“It was a minor incident, in the court’s opinion,” Hurley said. “The court would not normally do that if the court felt there was some violence but this is very, very minor and the court felt that that was a better resolution than other alternatives.”Tags: bowling, Domestic Violence, Florida, Joseph Bray, Judge John "Jay" Hurley, Red Lobster