Judge orders husband to dinner date with wife

Suspect accused of pushing his wife

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward County judge is facing backlash after issuing a ruling ordering a husband who was jailed on domestic violence charges to take his wife on a dinner date. 

Judge John Hurley ordered Joseph Bray, 47, of Plantation, to take his wife to a belated birthday dinner after a domestic violence arrest Monday. 

"He's going to get flowers, and then he's going to go home, pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster, and then after they go to Red Lobster, they're going to go bowling," Hurley said.

In Bray's first court appearance, his wife pleaded for clemency. Bray was released on his own recognizance because he had no criminal past. 

Still, Plantation police said when they went to the couple's apartment Monday, things were heated. 

"The victim indicated she wasn't wished a happy birthday, and because of that, as a result, she got upset with him, and in turn, he apparently pushed her over the back of the couch, grabbed her around the neck and cocked his fist back as if to punch her," said Detective Robert Rettig, of the Plantation Police Department. 

Bray was charged with one count of simple battery. Hurley ordered him to take his wife to dinner as a condition of his bond. 

Bray did not want to comment.

Hurley is going to get a letter from Mary Reidel, of Women in Distress. Reidel gave a statement to Local 10 saying, "I am very disappointed at Judge Hurley's ruling and the frivolous nature; to trivialize this is disturbing. Strangulation is one of the strongest indicators for lethality in a relationship. A push today can be deadly tomorrow." 

Hurley is not allowed to comment on an open case, but his supporters said he did not take this lightly, even if his unorthodox bond makes it seem like he does. 

"I need to make sure that we're not going to have any repeat incidents here," Hurley said.

Women in Distress said there were six domestic violence murders in Broward County in the first three weeks of 2012.

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