Nicole Holder, the alleged girlfriend of Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, did not show up for court in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on Thursday, May 15, 2014 according to the Charlotte Observer. Holder claims she was beaten in a drunken dispute with Hardy on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Hardy, in calls to 911, claims Holder attacked him with a shoe and refused to leave his apartment.
Holder and Hardy were due in court today for a hearing on Holder's civil restraining order. Restraining orders are typically granted ex-parte (without one of the parties being present) and then set for a hearing in order to determine whether the temporary order will be extended, and for how long. The hearing also gives the restrained party an opportunity to be heard. A civil restraining order actually requires that a party,or his or her attorney, be present to pursue the case. In a not so unusual turn of events, Holder did not show up for the hearing today. Holder also consented to releasing her attorney, who did appear with a motion to withdraw from the case.
Since Holder was not present, Judge Charlotte Brown had no other choice but to dismiss the case for failure to prosecute. The civil hearing is separate from the criminal charges Hardy is facing in connection with the incident.
Whether Holder will appear for the criminal case against Hardy is unknown. Although it will be hard for prosecutors to get a conviction without a complaining witness available, it is not impossible. When there are alleged instances of domestic violence, it is common for complaining witnesses to not show up. Sometimes this happens due to fear, and often due to couples reconciling.
Charlotte sports radio station WFNZ, where Hardy has appeared as a guest on several occasions throughout his career with the Panthers, initially reported Hardy's arrest. For the last couple of days on-air personalities have speculated about the outcome of the matter. Prior to this domestic dispute, the most recent story regarding Hardy, prior to this incident, was that the Carolina Panthers had given him the franchise tag, which amounts to a one year contract worth $13 million dollars. It also gives the Panthers the right to sign Hardy to a long term deal after this season ends.
On Tuesday, Hardy turned himself into authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest, following his domestic dispute with Holder. According to sources, police initially made no arrests when they arrived at Hardy's N. Tryon Street condo. Apparently, Holder subsequently swore out a complaining warrant with a local magistrate. It was at that time, that Hardy was charged with two misdemeanors, communicating threats and assault on a female. Having a charge is not the same as being convicted. In a situation such as this, it is just as plausible for Hardy to seek charges against Holder. Both men and women are punishable and protected under domestic violence laws.
Domestic violence is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. The problem in this situation is that alcohol was involved and there are competing 911 calls. The true story of what occurred in this situation is only known to the individuals involved. Hardy being involved in a domestic dispute shadows the efforts the Panthers are making with domestic violence awareness. A domestic violence awareness breakfast was held on Wednesday at Bank of America Stadium,where the Panthers call home.