Late Saturday night, August 11, 2012, social media erupted when the news broke that Chad Ochocinco Johnson had been arrested for allegedly head butting his wife of less than 2 months, Evelyn Lozado. Lozado, whose grown famous for her role on the VH1 hit show Basketball Wives, told the couples neighbor that Johnson head butted her and asked the neighbor to call 911. The police report states, that the couple got into an argument over a condom receipt that Lozado found while the couple was unloading their car. Johnson has given statements alleging that Lozado was the aggressor and that she head butted him. The police report further alleges that Johnson drove around the subdivision numerous times in search of his wife after she jumped out of the car and ran to the neighbors house for help. Less than 24 hours later, the Miami Dolphins announced that Chad Ochocinco Johnson had been released from his one year contract with the team.
Domestic Violence is a sad, yet common crime that occurs everyday, and nearly every minute in households across the country. The lawyers at the South Florida Law Firm of Berman and Tsombanakis, LLC have over 25 years of combined experience in handling domestic violence cases all over the State of Florida. It does not matter if domestic violence cases involve famous couples or everyday citizen, they are taken very seriously by the State Attorney’s Offices in Florida, as well as in other states. The State of Florida has what is called a Victim’s Advocate assigned to each and every domestic violence case, as well as many other serious cases.
Most domestic violence (DV) cases that do not involve a weapon or have no serious injuries, are often charged as first degree misdemeanors. First degree misdemeanor, DV cases, carry up to one year in jail. Most first time offenders receive one years probation, followed by the requirement that the parties attend counseling, domestic violence classes for the offender and in some cases drug test, fines and court cost. If however, there are serious injuries and/or a weapon was involved, the DV case maybe charged as a felony. If charged as a felony then he may be looking at sometime in prison, unless during plea negotiations the victim agrees to probation or of course if the defendant wins at trial.
Nearly two years ago, Ochocinco who most recently changed his name back to Johnson, met Lozado while she was filming the first season of Basketball Wives. Basketball Wives was created and produced by Shaunie O’neal, former wife of NBA and Miami Heat great Shaquille O’neal. At the time Johnson was still playing for Cincinnati Bengals. They instantly fell in love and began a romance that would be played out on Basketball Wives, the social media, and the cover of many in store magazines. Lozado is known for being fiesty, aggressive and has been apart of many fights on the often criticized show because of the fighting and bitter arguments between the women on the show.
Even with all of the negativity surrounding Lozado and Basketball Wives, everyone who follows the show or who are fans of Johnson were awaiting their new show, Ev and Ocho which followed the couple as they prepared for their 4th of July wedding. Now the show will no longer be, it was cancelled by VH1 and Lozado has filed for divorce from Johnson following the domestic dispute. The 911 calls were just recently released as well. On the recording you can hear the neighbor mostly speaking and explaining to the 911 operator that they were a very high profiled couple and please try to keep the media away. Lozado can also be heard saying in the background that Johnson head butted her. Johnson contends that Lozado head butted him and in his press conference following his release, he was so adamant about it that he began to curse and became very upset, actions which were later used against him as additional reasons for the Miami Dolphins to cut him after just a few weeks into training camp.
Many fans of Ochocinco, foes and followers of the VH1 series Basketball Wives are wondering how Lozado’s reputation will effect the outcome of this case. There is an old saying that a man should never hit a woman under any circumstances, even if he is provoked and even if she hits him first. In this case, Lozado’s reputation for being a bully, aggressive, and outspoken has been played out for over two years on television. Experts and laymen alike, are calling for Johnson’s Attorneys to use the many episodes of Lozado fighting and aggresive nature, as a way to attack her character and reputation for violence, if this case goes to trial or at the very least during plea negotiations.
On many talk radio shows across the nation, as well as television sports and entertainment shows, experts and callers believe that there is a very good chance that Lozado did indeed head but Johnson and that in return, she received the worst of the injuries. Also, no pictures have been released of Lozado and/or her injuries. This leads many people on the outside to wonder if this situation is being played up for some type of publicity stunt on her behalf. Lozado has a reputation for being a bully and has been involved in numerous fights and arguments on the popular, yet controversial show, Basketball Wives. Johnson has no criminal history and has never been arrested for anything. He does have a history of being outspoken and flamboyant, but neither of those have landed him behind bars. They have, however, resulted in fines and suspensions for excessive celebration and other violations related to his flamboyant style of play.
If the press conference, 911 calls, cancellation of his upcoming VH1 show Ev & Ocho show was not enough, a few days ago, HBO aired the second episode of Hard Knocks featuring the Miami Dolphins and showed on international television, Chad Ochocinco Johnson being cut from the dolphins. During this episode, Johnson appears remorseful and even states to the coach that he’s never been in trouble before. Again, as stated above, Johnson gave a press conference and proclaimed his innocence. He has also given brief statements on his website and facebook, where he has had mostly support from his fans, with some criticism mixed in as well.
Only time, and possibly a trial, will determine the truth in this case. It is very likely that this case could result in a plea and being that Johnson is a first time offender, he may very well avoid any jail time. However, many believe that given the reality show history of the parties, that this case may be played out in the media, court tv stations, and possibly VH1. The lawyers at the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Law Firm of Berman and Tsombanakis, LLC have handled hundreds of cases where our clients were charged with Domestic Violence at both the Misdemeanor and Felony levels. We have also represented both the plaintiffs and defendants in Permanent & Temporary Injunction cases (restraining orders). This cases mirrors many of our cases with one major difference, most of our clients are everyday people. Johnson’s and Lozado’s popularity will indeed complicate this case and may very well taint the outcome of it.