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Domestic battery charge dropped against Hernando County sheriff's detective

BROOKSVILLE — Prosecutors have dropped a charge against a Hernando County sheriff's detective who was accused of assaulting his wife at their Spring Hill home.

Jeffrey Swartz, 34, faced a single count of misdemeanor domestic battery and had been placed on administrative leave after his Oct. 3 arrest. But in an Oct. 8 memo, prosecutors recommended the charge be dropped.

"In essence, there wasn't any crime," Assistant State Attorney Paul Norville said Thursday. "Two other people who were at the home back it up."

A spokeswoman with the Sheriff's Office said Swartz has been assigned to a non-sworn position pending an internal investigation. She declined further comment about Swartz or the case.

Swartz has worked at the Sheriff's Office since April 2001 and was assigned as a detective in the District 2 office.

According to the arrest report, Swartz was hosting a get-together at his home in Spring Hill where alcohol was being served. During the night, the report said, Swartz and his wife, Joyanna Swartz, got into an argument that turned physical.

Swartz pushed his wife to the floor of their bedroom and placed his arms around her neck, but she was able to break free, the report said. Swartz tried to restrain her by grabbing her arms, but she was able to fend him off and call the Sheriff's Office for help, the report said.

Neither Swartz nor his wife required medical attention in the incident.

But according to the memo from Norville, Swartz's wife had been drinking heavily that evening while in the company of another married couple.

Joyanna Swartz told Norville that "she got intoxicated and blew up and got out of control," the memo said. "She admitted that she had almost a complete black out of the events."

During the evening, Swartz's wife reportedly became angry and despondent and wielded a butcher's knife and a razor. Swartz said he grabbed his wife to prevent her from harming herself, and his wife later had trouble recounting the events of the evening.

The couple's friends both told Norville that Joyanna Swartz had gotten "out of control" and that Jeffrey Swartz was merely trying to calm her down.

Also, Norville's memo notes that Joyanna Swartz was clearly intoxicated during her 911 call and couldn't even recall her home phone number. The photos of her injuries were "consistent with someone having tried to gain control of" her.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Domestic battery charge dropped against Hernando County sheriff's detective 10/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 15, 2009 7:51pm]
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