Last April, Amanda Arruda was brutally attacked by her lover, Vincent Deluca. After a night drinking on the town, Deluca became jealous and pulled Arruda away from the club and the two returned to Deluca’s Bonita Springs residence. Drugs were likely involved as well. The argument escalated at the home, and Ms. Arruda alleges that Deluca pulled a gun on her, put it to her head, and threatened to kill her. Arruda fled the bedroom and during the course of the altercation, was able to grab a knife. Deluca pursued her to the living room, threw her to the ground and jumped on her, at which point he was stabbed and Ms. Arruda was able to flee to the garage. Deluca followed her to the garage while calling 911. He opened the door only after law enforcement arrived.
This is not the first domestic situation that Mr. Deluca has been involved in. It was revealed at the Immunity hearing that he has two outstanding injunctions already in place. During one of the previous incidents, he also pulled a gun and threatened to kill the other victim. Mr. Deluca was not even allowed to be in possession of a firearm due to the active injunctions against him.
Mr. Deluca claims that Ms. Arruda attacked him. He had the benefit of making the first report to law enforcement, as she was cornered in the garage while he was calling 911. Sadly, law enforcement bought his story, and arrested Ms. Arruda for Aggravated Battery, a second degree felony putting her at risk of up to 15 years in prison.
This is a prime example of the value of the immunity provision of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Where a victim was erroneously arrested for exercising her right to defend herself, Florida’s law provides her with an outlet. At the immunity hearing this week, the court took testimony from Ms. Arruda, Mr. Deluca and the law enforcement officers who handled, or mishandled, the investigation. The court also heard testimony from Roy Bedard, an expert on the use of force and self-defense. Ms. Arruda, and her attorney Janese Carruthers, were also aided by an investigator they hired to fill in the gaps of the investigation.
As they say, the truth comes out in the wash. The court found Mr. Deluca’s testimony to be unbelievable. He found Ms. Arruda to be credible, and the physical evidence from the scene supported her version of the events. The judge was able to determine that she was, in fact, the victim, and dismissed the charge against her. Great work by Ms. Carruthers and her defense team to put on the case that made the facts clear for the judge.
It is unfortunate that the victim was revictimized by being arrested by reactionary law enforcement. She spent a month in jail before her family was able to raise the substantial bond to get her released. She plans to file a motion for the state to reimburse her attorney fees, which is specifically authorized by statute. It’s sad that the case even got to this point. It reminds me of the recent case in Punta Gorda where the judge threw out the case, commenting that the evidence wasn’t “even close”. These Defendants have a right to just compensation under the law, and the agencies that wrongly prosecuted them should pay. That’s the only way they will learn to be more judicious in their arrests in the future. Sadly, it’s our taxpayer money that pays for such errors. I shudder for the bill that could come due if George Zimmerman is acquitted.