Cincinnatus man faces more charges for allegedly threatening woman

The City of Cortland Police Department (Photo: Provided)

City police decided Tuesday to press additional charges against a Cincinnatus man arrested for threatening a city woman for the second time — threats the man made less than four hours after his release from police custody, according to the department.

Michael Maricle, 20, of 2795 Maricle Road, Cincinnatus, will be charged with a second count of first-degree criminal contempt, a felony, when he appears at 9 a.m. April 24 in City Court, said Lt. Michael Strangeway. That is an enhanced charge for threatening an 18-year-old woman on Saturday. Police say Maricle was arrested for threatening the same woman on Friday and had only been released for less than four hours before he made the new threats.

Maricle was initially charged Friday night after he threatened to choke an 18-year-old woman at a residence on North Church Street and grabbed her phone from her to prevent her from calling the police, said Lt. Michael Strangeway.

When police were called at about 9:50 that night to the residence, they found she had a valid order of protection against Maricle barring him from having any contact with her, Strangeway said.

Maricle was arrested, for the first time, Friday night and charged with felony, first-degree criminal contempt, as well as misdemeanor, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment, a violation.

After spending the night in the city police station, Maricle was arraigned at 9:40 a.m. Saturday in City Court and released to reappear at 9 a.m. April 24, Strangeway said.

At 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, less than four hours later, Maricle repeatedly called the same 18-year-old woman, again violating her order of protection against him, Strangeway said.

Maricle was arrested for a second time Saturday afternoon and charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, he said. Maricle was arraigned again in City Court and re-released.

City police decided Tuesday to upgrade the charge from his second arrest to felony, first-degree criminal mischief, Strangeway said.

“It’s a serious matter to violate a court’s order,” Strangeway said. “Orders of protection are strictly enforced by the city police department.”

Both Strangeway and Linda Glover, program director of the YWCA’s Aid to Victims of Violence, said it is common for a person to violate an order of protection more than once.

“The police are called in to respond to situations like this on a regular basis,” Strangeway said.

Sometimes the person violating the protection order thinks he or she is above the law, or won’t get caught, Glover said. Or the protected person may feel guilty about calling the police and invite the other person over.

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the person ordered to stay away to actually stay away, she said.

While an order of protection cannot stop an offender from returning to a protected person’s home, it does allow police officers to take action against an offender, Glover said.

Some criminal charges — like felony, first-degree criminal contempt — can only be levied if an order of protection is in place, according to state law.

“There’s a lot of power in that piece of paper,” Glover said.

Glover described Maricle’s repeated calls to the woman four hours after being released from police custody as “bold” and “concerning.”

“Wow, he’s got a lot of nerve,” she said. “I’m not certain our family court judges or city judges like having their orders ignored.”

If a person is willing to violate an order of protection again, and so quickly after the first arrest, what actions that person might take after leaving custody the next time is a concerning matter, Glover said.

“I think the judge has a difficult decision to make in these things,” she said. “It’s a criminal behavior and it’s serious to us and to the victims.”

It should also be serious to those ordered to stay away, Strangeway said.

“When the court deems it necessary to issue an order of protection, that should be taken seriously by the person against whom the order was issued,” he said.

There are some practical steps an individual can take to protect themselves from someone violating, or re-violating, an order of protection, Glover said.

Telling your neighbors that person is not allowed near you or your home, and possibly showing them a picture, can help protect you, she said. While enlisting the help of your neighbors can be painful, it can provide you with friends who can call the police for you if necessary, Glover said.

“No one wants to say they’re a victim of domestic violence,” she said. “(But) Neighbors can be your best allies sometimes.”

Changing your locks and getting a spotlight camera are also good ideas, but can be costly, Glover noted. Some people may qualify for those costs to be reimbursed by the state Office of Victim Services if they were purchased in response to a crime, such as a violated order of protection, she said.

For more information about Aid to Victims of Violence, visit their website here. Those in crisis can call their 24/7 hotline: 1-800-336-9622.

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