ATLANTIC CITY — A domestic violence case against suspended Philadelphia Phillies outfielder David Odubel Herrera was dismissed Tuesday morning in the city’s municipal court.
Herrera, 27, walked hand-in-hand with Melany Martinez-Angulo, the woman who alleged the May 27 simple assault at a resort casino — and who decided not to testify against him — out of the Public Safety Building after a brief court appearance.
“We believe that the complete dismissal of the misdemeanor charge was the right result,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Herrera’s attorney, outside the Public Safety Building. “And Ms. Martinez and Mr. Herrera are looking forward to getting on with their lives and on with their loving relationship together.”
Instances of domestic violence are on the rise in the state, according to the New Jersey State Police 2016 Domestic Violence Report, released last year, with 63,420 domestic-violence offenses reported in 2016, a 3% increase from 61,659 in 2015. Eight in 10 municipal domestic violence cases in the state are dismissed, according to 2015 New Jersey Courts data.
Both Herrera and Martinez appeared before Judge Billie J. Moore for less than 10 minutes. During the hearing, Moore told Herrera to take his hands out of the pockets of his suit pants. An interpreter stood between Herrera and Martinez, who was wearing a white blazer over a floral dress.
“It’s my understanding that the state is not able to proceed because the victim does not, the plaintiff does not want to go forward. Is that correct?” Moore asked, looking at Martinez. “Is anybody forcing you to tell me that you don’t want to go forward?”
Martinez said no.
Herrera must finish counseling as a condition of the dismissal, Moore said, and has to provide a certificate of completion within 60 days.
When police arrived at Golden Nugget Atlantic City that evening, they found Martinez, 20, speaking with security officers, with “visible signs of injury” on her arms and neck that police said she sustained during a dispute with her boyfriend, whom they identified as Herrera.
“There were no other witnesses present,” Chief Municipal Prosecutor Kelley Hasson Blanchet said during the hearing. “Because Miss Martinez does not wish to testify, the state also looked at whether or not we could prove the case independent of her testimony, and there’s not sufficient evidence to do so.”
However, Blanchet said Martinez was provided additional resources here and in Pennsylvania “in the event that there are any additional problems.”
Despite the charges being dropped, Herrera’s future with the Phillies is still up in the air.
A spokeswoman for the team said Wednesday they will not be issuing a statement until MLB concludes its investigation, which is ongoing.
Herrera was suspended from Major League Baseball shortly after his arrest. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced that Herrera had been placed on administrative leave, pursuant to MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Herrera will remain on administrative leave through Friday, according to a spokesman, and the organization will address his status once his leave has ended.