This was another case where Mr. Beach’s client was accused of Assault 4 (364 days jail possible) and Harassment (6 months jail possible). The case involved arguing spouses throwing the toddler’s toys at each other. The prosecution wanted Mr. Beach’s client to attend a minimum of thirty-six weeks of domestic violence batterers intervention classes due to the allegation. Mr. Beach took it to trial. The jury took twenty-six minutes to return a verdict of Not Guilty!
Ms. Johnson’s client was arrested for DUII and the evidence showed that he had a 0.25 blood alcohol content. Her client had been found parked alone in the car. He said that he drank alone in the car while parked there but the police didn’t believe him. Since he was alone, it was his word against the police (and Ms. Johnson’s client didn’t have any alcohol bottles in her car) – not a great position to be in. Ms. Johnson went looking for a corroborating witness. There was a gas station by where her client had been parked. The employee who had worked the shift when her client was arrested, no longer worked at the gas station. But, Ms. Johnson found him anyway and obtained a detailed witness statement confirming her client’s explanation. Seeing the likely result from a jury, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
Mr. Goldman’s client was accused of opening the front door of his ex-wife’s home, rushing in, and threatening to kill her. When the police investigated, Mr. Goldman’s client explained that he went over there to talk with his adult son (who lived there), knocked on the door, and when the door was opened never even entered the home much less make any threats. At trial, the ex-wife’s story fell apart when Mr. Goldman cross-examined her; and Mr. Goldman was able to argue to the jury that not even his client’s toe entered the home. The jury returned a Not Guilty verdict.
Mr. Beach’s client has spent around half her life in the United State and all of her immediate family also live here. However, she was born in the UK and never obtained US citizenship. Her boyfriend claimed to the police that she hit him on the side of the face causing him pain. The prosecution filed a charge of ‘Harassment’ against her. This caries up to six months of jail. They classified the case as ‘domestic’ due to the relationship of boyfriend-girlfriend. We obtained an immigration evaluation which concluded that the only resolution of the case that would ensure her ability to stay with her family here in the US was to be found not guilty (no plea bargains would protect her). So, Mr. Beach never considered anything other than trial.
At trial, Mr. Beach argued that when his client was grabbing at her boyfriend, her intention was to keep him from leaving and that the boyfriend didn’t actually know if or how she had hit him in the face. The case was won during Mr. Beach’s cross examination of the boyfriend. Twenty-six minutes later, the jury announced a ‘Not Guilty’ finding.
Ms. Johnson’s client was the victim of domestic violence. Accordingly, to protect the child from domestic violence, the State (DHS – child welfare) wished to have ‘jurisdiction’ over the child. However, Ms. Johnson’s client left the abusive man and obtained a restraining order. Ms. Johnson pointed out that there wasn’t any more that her client could do – what did DHS want her to do to demonstrate that she was protective of the child?. Whether the abuser is prosecuted is a decision of the prosecutor, not Ms. Johnson’s client. Just before the start of the trial, the State gave up and agreed to dismiss the case against this victim of domestic violence.
Sometimes the best defense witness is a police officer. Occasionally, the police will write something in their report that is quite useful in establishing that maybe the accused didn’t do the crime for which he or she is accused. So, the defense attorney calls that officer to the stand before the jury. Then, sometimes, the officer will respond to the defense attorney’s questions with ‘I don’t remember.’ In this case, there was a video of the portion of facts that the officer ‘couldn’t remember.’ However, pursuant to evidence law, that video could not be offered itself to the jury. So, Mr. Beach asked for a break in the trial and for the officer to review the video so that he could ‘refresh his memory.’ After that, the officer belatedly testified to what he did and saw and heard as was recorded in the video. The prosecutor then got her turn for cross examination of the officer. Her first question was a statement that the defense attorney was hiding evidence from the jury by not giving the video to the jury (something Mr. Beach could not do). Of course, the judge had to end the trial due to the statement of the prosecutor. We thought we should include this trial here.
At birth, a child tested positive at the hospital for methamphetamines. However, nothing about the mother appeared to fit the normal experience of a methamphetamine using mother. So, the hospital retested the sample. The result showed no drugs present. The first test was in error. Nine months later, DHS contacts the family and told them they must now submit to DHS decisions regarding their child’s placement (where the child may live) and they must engage in drug treatment pursuant to DHS instructions. The family told DHS the hospital’s initial test was a mistake (as the hospital said). However, DHS still filed for a court order to remove their now nine month old baby and place that child in foster care. Mr. Thiesen challenged the legitimacy of everything DHS was doing to this family at the ‘shelter care hearing’ - this is the first court appearance when DHS wishes to enforce power over a family. Mr. Thiesen won and the family was allowed to stay together without DHS control of their lives.
The prosecutor filed a Harassment charge against Mr. Beach’s client because he was accused of throwing one of the toddler’s toys at his wife during an argument. “Intentional offensive physical contact” was the allegation. Due to this flying stuffy, the government wanted to keep him out of the home for a minimum of three months for a domestic violence no-contact order and to require him to attend a minimum of thirty-six sessions of domestic violence interventions. Mr. Beach convinced the jury that when his client threw the stuffy, his client did not intend it to be ‘offensive physical contact’. After 26 minutes of deliberation by the jury, a Not Guilty was announced and this family was restored!
Ms. Johnson’s client was accused of contempt of court for not paying money as required by a prior court decision. For that allegation, he was facing up to six months of jail. However, Ms. Johnson proved that ever since that prior judgment, her client had been ‘chronically homeless’. People without any income, who live under bridges, and eat from dumpsters do not have a lot of money to pay court ordered judgments. Those facts didn’t stop the prosecutor from prosecuting Ms. Johnson’s client; but, by proving those facts, Ms. Johnson obtained a dismissal of the charge from the judge.
Mother and father of a child are divorced and the father was awarded custody of their daughter in the divorce. This occurred in Mexico. Father is a Mexican citizen and mother is an American citizen. During a visit, mother took their daughter and came to Oregon (without Father’s knowledge). Once in Oregon, mother claimed father was abusing their daughter and that is why she ran with the daughter to Oregon. Father is not allowed to enter the United States. Oregon’s DHS (child welfare division) supported mother and asked the court to litigate an abuse allegation based upon what mother claimed happened in Mexico.
Mr. Thiesen represented the father in Mexico. Mr. Thiesen immediately reached out to the Mexican child welfare office and asked them to investigate. They found no evidence of abuse. Of course, neither father nor the witnesses in Mexico could come to the Oregon courtroom from Mexico. So, if this went to trial in Oregon, none of father’s witnesses could have testified. However, Mr. Thiesen convinced the judge that under both Oregon law, US law, and international treaty obligations the court that should be dealing with allegations of abuse in Mexico should be the Mexican court. Accordingly, the Oregon case was dismissed and the daughter was returned to her father.