Fort Lauderdale William R. Moore

Sleep Disorder A Defense in A Domestic Violence Case

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore is familiar with all sorts of legal defenses, including the defense of sleepwalking or a sleep disorder. A 37-year-old man was arrested at his residence in Coral Springs on Sunday night for domestic violence, according to local police. Mark Kaplan is the principal of Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston, Florida, inland of Fort Lauderdale. On Sunday night, his wife called police because her husband was strangling her.
When Coral Springs police arrived at the Kaplan home in response to an emergency domestic violence call, they found Alyson Kaplan, 36, bruised on her neck. Coral Springs police photographed the injuries and the police report indicated that officers believed she was likely to be harmed again in the future. Alyson Kaplan told police that she was sleeping at the time the strangulation began. Further, she explained, she had been the target of a number of attacks by her husband over the past year and a half: poking, scratching, and verbal abuse – even threatening to stab her.
Interestingly, Alyson Kaplan’s account to Coral Springs police on Sunday night was in line with the statements by Mark Kaplan’s criminal defense lawyer on Monday. Alyson Kaplan described the repeated attacks as always happening during the night and, although her husband’s eyes are always open, he seems vacant or asleep. She does not believe he is typically awake during the violence, although she was unable to tell police if he was awake or not during the strangulation.
Mark Kaplan’s criminal defense attorney has said that he hopes the Broward State Attorney’s Office will drop the criminal charge in light of this information. The criminal lawyer contends that Kaplan suffers from a sleep disorder and that he is not aware of his actions during these episodes. Alyson Kaplan, who has been married to Mark Kaplan for 12 years, agreed with the criminal defense lawyer. As she fervently explained to reporters, “I am not pressing any charges, I’m not prosecuting, we are not divorcing. He has a diagnosed medical condition. It is all due to that. He is receiving treatment. I don’t feel in harm’s way whatsoever.”
At this time, the Broward State Attorney’s Office has refused to comment on the case, but criminal charges are still pending. Mark Kaplan stayed at the jail for the remainder of Sunday night and posted a $3,500 bond early on Monday.
In order for a sleep disorder or sleepwalking to be an effective legal defense to a crime, it should be inconsistent with the person’s normal waking behavior. For instance, a jury will more likely believe that a man who is known as gentle and kind was sleepwalking when accused of extremely aggressive or violent behavior at night. Although rare, instances of crimes occurring under these circumstances are documented, and the sleeping perpetrator typically has no memory of the incidents upon waking. In some cases, regular violent behavior may be documented by physicians in a sleep laboratory, but instances of extreme violence may not occur frequently enough for such a method to be a practicable determination of the sleep disorder.


Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore has experience in a wide range of criminal defense situations. An arrest can damage all aspects of your life, including your employment prospects and custody and visitation of your children. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., which is an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is not intended to imply representation of any individual discussed herein.