Child domestic violencecase dismissed in court

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — With their pretend marriage in shambles, fifth-graders Cody Finch and Katie Rose Sawyer faced each other in domestic violence court on Monday and swore they’d never, ever speak to each other again.
In return, hearing commissioner John Dean agreed to dismiss their case, which landed in court after their make-believe wedding on a school playground fell apart with a real punch.
Did he ever really love her?
“Yeah, hmm hmm, I did,” 10-year-old Cody said outside court.
Before he and 11-year-old Katie were called to testify on Monday, their lawyers struck an agreement to dismiss the case in exchange for a restraining order keeping the children apart. Their parents can be fined $500 and attorney’s fees if either child contacts the other.
The case went before Dean after Katie’s family filed a complaint against Cody and his two teen-age brothers, alleging that Cody punched Katie and made a threatening call to her, and that her home was vandalized during the past two months.
New Mexico’s Family Violence Protection Act applies to anyone with a “continuing personal relationship.”
“This court always tries to err on the side of trying to stop people from hurting each other,” Dean said. “We’ve treated this case like any other case, even though this case wasn’t treated by other people as any other case.”
The “other people” were the media.
Both children and their parents spent the weekend in New York taping “The Montel Williams Show.” And about a dozen reporters from around the country on Monday crowded into the courtroom.
Katie, wearing a short white dress covered with blue, green and purple daisies, left the courthouse quickly, clutching her father’s hand.
“I really don’t want this to go any further,” said James Sawyer, blocking television cameras with his free hand.
Cody, sporting a fresh buzz cut and flanked by two older brothers, younger sister, parents and grandparents, patiently discussed the issues with reporters before he left for school.
Has he learned anything?
“Yeah, not to hit anybody, especially girls,” he said.
Did he still love Katie?
“No, just because of the fight we got into,” he said.
After their playground wedding, at which another girl acted as minister, Cody “was very much in love, for a while anyway,” his mother, Jinx Finch, said last week. But later “the little girl who performed the marriage decided she liked Cody and wrote up divores — that’s d-i-v-o-r-e-s — papers.”
The papers said Cody and Katie Rose were sick and tired of each other, Jinx Finch said.
Cody said on Monday that he didn’t think they should have gone into court.
“Her parents should have contacted my mom or dad. I think my mom could have taken care of this,” he said.
Katie’s mother and stepfather, teachers Melinda and Marty Moon, said they were glad both families had gone through the process.
“Domestic violence goes in cycles,” said Melinda Moon. “If it starts with your first relationship, it can either escalate from there or it can be stopped.”
But Cody’s attorney, Raymond Archambeau, said taking the case into domestic violence court was silly and damaging to people facing “real domestic violence.”
“This trivializes it and makes real domestic violence seem petty,” he said.