Update 4:08 p.m., Thursday:
A Stamford prosecutor who specializes in domestic violence cases said one of the recurring difficulties in prosecuting those cases are spouses who withdraw allegations against their partners.
Nancy Dolinsky, a senior assistant state's attorney who handles domestic violence cases in state Superior Court in Stamford, said she very well could have been the prosecutor that reviewed the police bid to arrest Darien's Rob Morrison on a warrant.
But she can't recall the January incident, she said, so she couldn't say why the case was declined. Dolinsky said she prosecutes and reviews many hundreds of cases a year.
She is prosecuting Morrison now, she said, but didn't know who he was until this week when his arrest caused a media ruckus.
Senior Assistant State's Attorney David I. Cohen, in charge of the Stamford prosecutors office, also had no knowledge of the January incident involving Morrison. But he agreed that, in general, spouses recanting their earlier allegations "is one of the issues that comes up in domestic violence cases."
Original article, 1:52 p.m.:
Former WCBS-TV Anchor Rob Morrison, arrested Sunday on domestic violence-related charges, was nearly arrested by Darien police on a similar accusation in January, according to police.
Capt. Fred Komm, a department spokesman, said town police submitted an application for a warrant to arrest Morrison, a Darien resident, but state prosecutors declined to take the case to court.
According to pages of an incident report provided by town police to Darien Patch, police were called by Rob Morrison on Jan. 19 about a domestic incident between him and his wife.
When police officers spoke with his wife, she started telling them about a Jan. 14 incident in which she initially said her husband choked her.
After she was told police intended to apply for an arrest warrant for her husband, Morrison's wife said her initial account of the incident was incorrect and that her husband had not behaved nearly as badly as she had first told them, according to the police report.
Asked whether Darien police applied for the arrest warrant, Komm replied, "An arrest warrant application was submitted, but the state's attorney’s office denied the application, citing prosecutorial discretion."
The police description of the Morrisons' statements shows how difficult it can be for law enforcement officials to sort through conflicting accounts of domestic violence incidents—including conflicting accounts from the same person at different times.
All of the following statements and quotes are directly from the police incident report.
Ashley Morrison's initial version, according to police
Here's the account Darien police gave of what Rob Morrison's wife, Ashley Morrison, told them on Jan. 19 about events on Jan. 14:
On Jan. 14, she was upset with how much her husband was drinking while out to dinner with friends on Jan. 12, so she tried to speak with him about it. Her husband then began videotaping her with a cell phone as she was speaking, which bothered her. She told him the videotaping made her uncomfortable and asked him to stop. When he refused, she tried to grab the phone, but her husband threw her to the ground.
She got up and tried to get the house phone to call police, but her husband then threw her into the dining room and started choking her from behind with the inside of his right arm around her neck, and she nearly passed out.
She began hitting her husband on the head with the portable phone in order to get him to stop.
At that point, the Morrison's live-in nanny came downstairs. Rob Morrison told the nanny to go back upstairs, but Ashley Morrison told the nanny to stay because Ashley was afraid of her husband. The incident came to an end when Rob Morrison said the dispute had gotten out of hand and they both needed to calm down.
Ashley Morrison provided police with a sworn, written statement, according to the incident report. (The incident report was released by Darien police to Patch, not the sworn, written statement.)
Police said Ashley Morrison showed them bruises on her arms that she said she received in the Jan. 14 incident (six days before talking with police). Police took pictures of three bruises—one on her right elbow, another on the insie of her left forearm and one on the underside of her left forearm.
"These bruises were consistent with injuries that occur as a result of a person's arms being grabbed and/or squeezed by another person," Officer Nicholas Aranzullo stated in the police incident report.
Rob Morrison's account, according to police
Rob Morrison gave police this different version of the same incident:
Ashley Morrison was in a rage when she was arguing with him about the dinner two nights before. He started videotaping her so that he could show her how she was acting. When he refused her request to stop videotaping her, she tried to grab the phone and both of them fell to the kitchen floor.
He got up and asked her to get up, when she did, she grabbed the house phone and hit him on the head with it, and the incident ended.
One of the investigating police officers "afforded R. Morrison numerous opportunities to provide a sworn, written statement to this effect, which he stated he preferred not to do," according to the incident report.
Both husband and wife "admitted to being under the influence of alcohol during the incident on 1/14 as well as during the time when they provided the above-mentioned statements," the report stated.
Ashley Morrison's second version, according to police
Later, when another officer spoke with Ashley Morrison, she "became slightly upset." She told that officer that she and her husband had had a difficult week and were upset on the day they first spoke with police.
They were also both intoxicated when they spoke with police, she said, which caused her to exaggerate her description of the Jan. 14 confrontation. She also said that she wasn't sure if her husband had thrown her to the floor or whether she actually just fell.
She thought he was trying to get the phone from her "so she would not bring unnecessary attention to their problems by getting the police involved," the incident report stated.
When told that interfering with an emergency call is illegal, she replied that neither she nor her husband knew that and she didn't think her husband "was doing it to avoid getting himself into trouble."
Ashley Morrison also retracted her statement that her husband had tried to choke her and said she thought he was only trying to get the phone from her, and because of their position his arm may have been inadvertently around her throat.