A Rare Perjury Charge for Woman Claiming Domestic Abuse
BROOKSVILLE – It’s not uncommon for litigants of domestic violence cases to lie on official documents, or during a court proceeding; however, in most cases, judges rarely pursue contempt charges against the perjurer.
That isn’t the case for 33-year-old Daniela Morrical, after a near year-long investigation into allegations that she falsified reports and lied under oath, Morrical now faces a felony charge for perjury.
Investigators first opened the case last May, when a woman walked into the Sherriff’s Office and asked to make a report. The complainant, Jessica Holland, met with deputies at the front desk, where she explained that she was just served an Order of Protection for Domestic Violence. The only problem – Holland says she didn’t even know the petitioner. Turns out, contention between an ex-boyfriend resulted in another woman requesting the courts to issue a fraudulent domestic violence injunction against her.
According to reports, Holland discovered the plot through a mutual acquaintance – a woman who Holland says didn’t really like her. That woman, Tracey Brown, contacted Holland and warned her that her ex-boyfriend, Scott Kirkland, was acquiring an injunction to have Holland removed from the home they shared. That very day, May 10th 2015, Holland was served the injunction – forcing her to vacate the residence. The woman making claims of the domestic violence… Daniela Morrical.
Prior the DVI hearing that was scheduled to be held on May 22nd; a Pasco County Deputy contacted Kirkland to serve an injunction granted to Holland (reasons unknown). During a conversation with the Deputy, Kirkland stated that Holland and Morrical had an affair, and that Morrical claimed Holland was abusive. Holland denies ever having an intimate relationship with Morrical.
On the day of the hearing, Detective Jill Morrell, with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office met with Judge Stephen Toner in his office. That morning, Toner’s office received a call from Kirkland, stating that he would not be able to attend the hearing, due to being hospitalized in Tampa. Kirkland stated that he was on the 3rd floor, in room 346, at Trinity Hospital. Toner’s secretary contacted Trinity Hospital and learned that Trinity Hospital doesn’t have a third floor and didn’t have a patient by the name of Kirkland. Kirkland later admitted that he lied about being in the hospital.
At 9:00 a.m., the scheduled time of the hearing, Morrical failed to appear, and the case against Holland was dismissed. Holland’s case against Kirkland, which was heard at the same time, was granted.
When detectives began reviewing Morrical’s petition, they noticed that she had listed Holland’s work address as her own work address – which temporarily prevented Holland from going to work. She also listed Holland’s mother’s address and claimed it was Morrical’s school – thus preventing Holland from going there either. She did the same with Holland’s mother’s work address.
Holland believes her break up with Kirkland and a dispute over a vehicle is what led to false reports.
On March 7th 2016, Detective Morrell traveled to the Hillsborough County Jail, where Morrical was incarcerated on unrelated charges, and transported back to Hernando County, where she was booked on one count of Perjury in an Official Proceeding. She remains behind bars at this time – held on a $10,000 bond. If convicted Morrical could face up to 5-years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
It’s unknown at this time if Kirkland will face charges for making false statement.
Many believe the process of acquiring a domestic violence injunction is flawed, because domestic violence cases are civil, and do not require the same burden of proof that criminal cases do. However, the consequences can be just as devastating to the respondent, even if the allegations are proven to be false.
A recent Judiciary Committee, a panel of Florida Judges, reported that up to 80% of all domestic violence injunction petitions are false, and many of those are dismissed.
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