MIAMI (CBS4) - A Broward County judge ordered a Plantation man to perform an unusual release condition after he was arrested for domestic violence: take your wife out to dinner and bowling.
Judge John "Jay" Hurley made the unorthodox ruling after Joseph Bray, 47, was arrested for allegedly pushing his wife onto the couch in their home and putting his hands on her neck. The arrest affidavit stated that Bray lifted his hand to strike her, but never did.
Bray's wife, who was also in court, said the argument began after Bray did not wish her a happy birthday.
After that, they learned Hurley's release condition.
"He's going to stop by somewhere and he's going to get some flowers," Judge John "Jay" Hurley said during the first appearance 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."
Judge Hurley emphasized that he would not make such a ruling had the charge been more serious, or Bray's wife was in any danger She told the court that she did not fear for her life.
"It was a minor incident, in the court's opinion," he 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."
"This is a joke," said Mary Riedel, president and CEO of Women in Distress.
Riedel sent Judge Hurley a letter Wednesday saying she was disappointed in his decision.
"And I was apalled. This is a response to what could be a very dangerous situation?" she said.
Riedel wants Judge Hurley to visit the Women in Distress campus in Deerfield Beach to learn more about family violence.
"Today's push could become something very serious and lethal tomorrow," she said.
In addition to the "date", Judge Hurley ordered the couple to undergo marriage counseling.
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