Mirca Gallumette was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for arson, burglary, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and violation a protective order. The arrest happened yesterday after a series of escalating events between Gallumette and her ex-boyfriend.
According to police, Gallumette had a physical confrontation with her ex-boyfriend at North Folk Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale. Gallumette and the man supposedly have two children together. According to police, Gallumette attacked the man and fled the scene before police arrived. At this point, Gallumette is merely facing allegations and is innocent until proven guilty. (Photo: Broward Sheriff’s Office)
In a second altercation, Mirca Gallumette went to her ex-boyfriend’s house, tried to run him over with her car and then set fire to his house and another car located at the residence. The ex-boyfriend and is two children are now homeless. As a result, the family is receiving help from the American Red Cross. Because he is the victim of domestic violence, the ex-boyfriend’s name is not being released to the public.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you that domestic violence cases typically come in two different types. The first type of domestic violence case is the most common. In those situations, people who have generally never been in trouble before get into heated fights, voices are raised, tempers are flared, and maybe someone made the situation physical by hitting the other or flinging a piece of furniture around. No serious injuries are incurred, but things did get physical.
In the second type of scenario, one or both parties have some underlying mental health problem, whether it is due to anger management issues, bi-polar disorder, or drug abuse, they act out in an uncontrollable fashion. As a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you it is these situations that result in the serious injuries and arsons. Cases where normal “couple fights” are magnified by underlying mental health problems are the ones where people get stabbed, shot to death, strangulated, or beaten severely. It is not unusual to see domestic violence accompanied by acts of arson.
For some reason, the drama of arson goes hand in hand with the drama of domestic violence. After all, nothing says “I’m angry” like burning down someone’s home. Strangulation is another common offense that seems to correlate with domestic violence.
Again, passions run high in domestic violence cases and that is why the physical aspects of the serious cases tend to have very dramatic aspects. In other words, victims of domestic violence are rarely shot once. They are shot 17 times. They are rarely stabbed one time, instead they are stabbed 82 times.
From the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer, I can tell you it is important to immediately assess a client’s case to determine if he/she falls into the first or second category. To be clear, I am really only referring to those cases where guilt is obvious. Since I do not know the details of Gallumette’s case, I cannot tell you if she is guilty or innocent. All I can say is that she is presently facing allegations of criminal conduct and that she is considered innocent until proven guilty.
However, it is rare to see arson cases that are not the result of intentional acts.
This being the case, it is important for Mirca Gallumette’s criminal defense lawyer to begin thinking of alternative strategies. In other words, when challenging guilt at trial is not an option, a criminal defense attorney may want to consider a downward departure or some other means to obtain a mitigated sentence.
More important than that, I think a criminal defense lawyer in a case like this needs to have his/her client assessed for mental competency. Frankly, the allegations in this case make Gallumette sound crazy. Before any criminal defense attorney can proceed with representation, it would be necessary to make sure Mirca Gallumette is in fact competent to proceed.
If Gallumette is not competent to proceed and her attorney fails to have her evaluated, she may have grounds for an appeal later on.
Regardless, this case is a sad example of what can happen between couples. At the end of the day a man and his two children are now homeless. Whether Gallumette is guilty of setting that fire or not is yet to be seen. However, the effects to the alleged victim and his children of losing their home will undoubtedly be very long lasting.