San Diego Charger’s stud linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested on September 6 for allegedly choking his girlfriend Tila Tequila Nguyen at his home and holding her against her will. Both charges were felonies under California law as according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Gary Steadman,Tequila signed an arrest warrant against Merriman. Merriman was released from jail that morning shortly after 11 a.m. According to authorities, Tequila Nguyen did not appear to be hurt, but because she signed a formal complaint the police had no choice but to take Merriman into custody. Merriman contended he was trying to assist an imbibed Tequila Nguyen; to prevent her from driving, while facilitating her desire to get home safely. Clearly, this was a high profile case of he said, she said.
Fast forward to September 11 and it took all of five (5) days for District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to dismiss Tequila Nguyen’s allegations and No File the charges against Merriman. The DA’s office called the case closed stating “After a thorough review of the investigation into the September 6, 2009 incident at the Poway home of Shawne Merriman, our office has determined there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed.”
The State of California admits they can’t prove Merriman committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, so they can’t charge him by Information and take him to trial. But, it’s okay they can take Tequila Nguyen’s words on paper as the gospel truth that Merriman physically assaulted her and “establish probable cause and reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed so he can be placed in handcuffs and booked.” Incredible! Welcome to the world of “you’re under arrest although we have no independent and objective corroborative information.’
According to a report from Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Violence Reporting (RADAR) – post 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), California passed legislation that targeted preferential/mandatory arrests in alleged domestic violence cases, and men as the primary aggressors. So, Merriman now knows why Lady Justice was unfair to him when the police arrived. Sure, in the end he was legally exonerated, but his reputation and character have been sullied due to the negative media exposure.
Because he physically towers over Tequila Nguyen, I’m quite certain that somebody out there thinks he beat the system and got away with beating his paramour. To the contrary, Shawne Merriman was falsely accused of domestic abuse charges, but may always carry a scarlet letter emblazoned upon his name.Dean Tong, MSc., is a Forensic Trial Consultant and expert witness who has been retained by parents and attorneys in divorce, custody, dependency, criminal, administrative and appellate cases from 46 states and Canada.