Questions raised after elderly woman detained, accused of slapping adult daughter

Volusia County sheriff's deputies slapped the handcuffs on 70-year-old Laura Falls, hauled away to spend the night in jail.  She was arrested for allegedly slapping her adult daughter during an argument.

Legal expert, Bob Fisher, who is a criminal defense attorney, said the deputy did not need to make the arrest.

"The two chapters that address domestic violence do not require an arrest, they give the arresting officer the discretion. May arrest, without a warrant under certain circumstances," Fisher said.

Fisher said this was not one of those circumstances. Volusia County's own policy also states that if a deputy doesn't think it's necessary to make an arrest, they can get a supervisor to call it off.

"I'm surprised an arrest was made, given the circumstances of this case," Fisher said.

It's not the first time this has happened in Central Florida. Last May, Daytona Beach cops were criticized for arresting a 95-year-old grandmother after she allegedly hit her granddaughter in the face with a slipper. The incident led authorities to clarify their policy, giving officers more leeway in making arrests.

In December 2017, Eustis police dropped charges against a 94-year-old woman who was hauled off to jail for refusing to leave her assisted living facility, after being evicted. Fisher expects a similar outcome in the case against falls.

"There is no way," Fisher said, "based on what I know about these facts, that I would have prosecuted her."