It happened a couple weeks ago in Canyon County. Our client faced felony charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor malicious injury to property count. The case involved an argument between ex-spouses that ended with one spouse refusing to leave the other’s property. The "trespassing" spouse acknowledged she had been repeatedly asked to leave but she would not. Finally my client went upstairs and brought a handgun to the kitchen. She still did not leave. She had taken his cell phone so he could not call for help and he had a broken leg. Finally, he went next door and got help.
The case is really about a claim that my client pointed a gun at his ex and said he was going to kill her. That story had changed from when she told the police officers that he had said "nothing" while pointing the gun at her, to "you’re gonna’ die…." Good cross-examination using the prior "nothing" statement showed the inconsistency and the jury understood the facts were not as she portrayed.
The property that was alleged to have been injured was my client’s keys. So the essence of that charge was that he injured his own property.
Those are the nicest words at trial. Still, a lot of time and effort was required to get there. Fortunately our client could hang in there.
Here is a lesson I learned during the trial – do not go gently into that arena. Be nice and tell your story, but if you have to get a little tough with the complaining witness, be ready to do so. I don’t mean badger the witness for that never gets results, but be ready to stand your ground.
And tell your story. Our client’s story was pretty simple – she absolutely would not leave and she had taken his phone to prevent him from calling the police.
No time to rest on that little laurel, but happy to report the victory.