Bad Ideas, Crime, Violence, Weddings, Weirdness

Black Eyes and Bliss: A Courtroom Marriage Proposal, Domestic Violence Style

Perhaps this is something that you’ve noticed: women who are newly engaged tend to brag about the way their fiancé proposed to them. And whether the proposal was bland or spectacular, it’s all these women seem to want to talk about.

So, what happens when you’ve got two criminal cases pending against you, and your boyfriend is just dying to pop the question? What happens when that same boyfriend has an order of protection against you due to allegations of domestic violence? Is that the kind of backstory you’d want to tell all your friends before spilling the beans on how your fiancé asked for your hand in marriage?

Apparently, the answer to the last question is “yes,” because this unlucky couple’s engagement tale was published in the local paper for all the world to see….

This divorce-waiting-to-happen was picked up by the Syracuse Post-Standard in a column that focused on “odd, unusual and humorous” events in the legal system. That’s not exactly the way that most brides-to-be would want their proposal story to be categorized. How did it happen?

Last week, Nicole Osbourne stood before Judge Stephen J. Dougherty facing a felony assault charge. She and Judge Dougherty knew each other well — the judge was also presiding over Osbourne’s domestic violence case. Osbourne’s attorney, Aurora Flores, then informed the judge that her client’s boyfriend, Theodore Murphy, had “an unusual request.”

That’s when Flores said Murphy had asked her to ask Osbourne if she would marry him. Osbourne started crying upon hearing that.

Dougherty said Flores could ask Osbourne. But with a big smile on his face, the judge noted that the court-issued order of protection directing Osbourne to have no direct or third-party contact with Murphy would prevent the lawyer from sharing her client’s answer with Murphy.

Dougherty said the prosecution moved at that point to amend the order of protection to allow non-criminal contact between Osbourne and Murphy. The judge then asked Osbourne if she wanted to answer the question and she tearfully accepted the marriage proposal.

Good Lord. You’ve really got to be in love with a girl if you’re willing to propose to her while she’s being arraigned on felony assault charges. We think that Osbourne must be a certified hottie — or great in the sack. Otherwise, Murphy would have no reason to risk a lifetime of exposure to Osbourne’s alleged fists of fury.

So, when’s the wedding? Not anytime soon, says Judge Dougherty. Osbourne is still in police custody, waiting for someone to pay up: her bail is set at $2,500. Would anyone like to get this couple an engagement present?

Court Notebook: Man offers courtroom marriage proposal through girlfriend’s lawyer [Syracuse Post-Standard]
Domestic Violence Defendant Accepts Boyfriend’s Courtroom Marriage Proposal [ABA Journal]

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