The domestic battery charges that led a 31-year veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to resign rather than be fired have been dropped. The State Attorney’s Office said the victim in the case has recanted her story, leaving the state without enough evidence to prosecute the case, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. While the St. Augustine criminal case is now gone, the damage is done for Randy Wayne Capo, whose law enforcement career is likely over even though he wasn’t found guilty of any crime.
Capo was arrested in St. Johns County in May after neighbors heard a disturbance and called police. At the time, his girlfriend told police Capo slammed her face into the floor several times and head-butted her in the rib cage, the newspaper reported. The two had been struggling over Capo’s cell phone, which he wanted back after his girlfriend accused him of cheating on her. When police arrived, the girlfriend had blood on her nose. Capo was arrested for domestic battery, which in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, and was released the following day. His arrest touched off an internal investigation within the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office that recommended Capo be fired. Capo resigned before the sheriff could sign the termination papers. Unfortunately in an employment situation, workers do not have the same rights they have as citizens in the criminal justice system. Capo is innocent until proven guilty in the court system. But by the time that case played out in court, he was already assumed guilty by his employer – guilty enough that they were prepared to fire him. Capo could choose to fight the action in a civil case, and perhaps he will, but in the end he chose to resign – forced or not.
Domestic battery cases in Jacksonville are often sticky situations for the state. Alleged victims that tell police things in the heat of the moment can sometimes change their story – or even recant completely, as Capo’s girlfriend did in this case. This could be because the victim is afraid of the suspect, or it could be because the victim is in fact lying. The only people that know that are the two involved. The state could decide to go forward anyway, but it doesn’t play well in front of a jury to have the victim on the stand saying she doesn’t want the case prosecuted. If she doesn’t care, why should a jury? As challenging as it may be for Capo to piece a career back together following a domestic battery arrest, it would be infinitely more difficult after a conviction. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney has represented hundreds of domestic battery clients in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, many of which were “he said, she said,” cases such as this. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in St. Johns County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our St. Johns County Domestic Battery Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.