Ms. Johnson’s client was accused of domestic violence crimes. He had been eligible for the Washington County Deferred Sentencing program. However, he decided to go to trial instead. The key to this case was having a better understanding of the evidence rules. Through evidence objections and arguments, Ms. Johnson was able to prevent the jury from ever seeing the photographs that the prosecutor wished to enter into evidence. Additionally, Ms. Johnson was able to successfully block the prosecutor’s arguments since he wished the jury to speculate in order to fill the holes that were left of his case after the conclusion of evidence. The jury was left with no option but to find Ms. Johnson’s client Not Guilty.
Mr. Beach’s client was accused of multiple counts of Assault 4, Menacing, and Harassment. Mr. Beach’s argument was that the ‘victim’ was lying. Mr. Beach proved at trial that this ‘victim’s’ motivation was money. During her first interview with the police she twice asked how much money should would get from the domestic violence grants given to victims of domestic violence. Mr. Beach also proved that her story kept changing during each interview with the police and in court. The only thing she seemed to keep consistent was her request for money. Additionally, the photographs contradicted all of her stories. The jury returned a Not Guilty on everything!
This case was another domestic violence case that was eligible for the Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing program where Ms. Johnson’s client declined that option and went to trial. This case was dismissed the morning of trial because the prosecutor conceded he didn’t have the evidence to convict. This happens to have been the seventh dismissal, or not guilty finding, on a DVDS declined case in a row for Ms. Johnson. We thought we should mention the streak.
Mr. Beach’s client was accused of two counts of Assault. The defense argument was that Mr. Beach’s client was only defending himself from an aggressor who was attacking Mr. Beach’s client. The key to this case was cross examination of the person calling himself a victim. Through cross examination Mr. Beach caught this person in multiple contradictory stories about what happened. Ultimately, the only explanation of the facts that made sense was Mr. Beach’s explanation. Accordingly, the jury returned a Not Guilty times two decision.
Mr. Goldman’s client was accused of attacking his wife and 15 year old child. Based upon that accusation, his client was accused of two felony assault charges. If convicted, his client was facing a maximum prison sentence of ten years. The trial occurred days before Christmas (yes, we are running late sharing these cases). After the prosecutor finished presenting his case, Mr. Goldman made a motion for judgment of acquittal based upon the evidence so far submitted. Mr. Goldman convinced the court that there was no way for the prosecutor to win the case at this stage. Accordingly, the judge dismissed both charges. Mr. Goldman then loaned his cell phone to his client so he could call his wife and let her know that he could spend Christmas with her and their seven kids (something she wanted)!
When someone commits a crime and that crime causes someone else to lose money or value to property, the person who lost money or value can ask the court to make the criminal defendant pay for the loss. This request and obligation is called restitution. Unfortunately, people know that there is little oversight over this process and often this process if abused. Mr. Beach had a case where we agreed that our client had caused $14,000 in medical bills. However, the person decided he wished to receive $41,000. Mr. Beach, naturally challenged that number reversal. Through cross examination, Mr. Beach convinced the judge that this was a falsely excessive claim. The judge accordingly reduced the amount to what was actually supported by the bills – just as Mr. Beach wanted from the beginning.
A shelter care hearing is the first hearing that occurs after the department of human services removes a child from that child’s family. At this one, Ms. Johnson represented a parent and challenged both the government’s claims for why this child should be in foster care and why the government should have any involvement in this family at all. Ms. Johnson completely won causing the child to be returned home and ‘temporary jurisdiction’ (the power of the Court and DHS) to be dismissed!
Mr. Goldman’s client was facing driving under the influence convictions number five and six. Due to the dates of convictions for numbers one through three, these new charges only faced 364 days of jail each (for a total of two days short of two years). The evidence was so strong that although Mr. Goldman would normally pursue a trial under such circumstances, he instead focused on pre-trial motions and sentencing mitigation. At the final stage, the prosecutor was demanding that Mr. Goldman’s client serve at least six months of jail. After Mr. Goldman’s presentation, the judge imposed a total of 4 days of jail with 16 more days of custody, but with eligibility for all programs (work release, etc). Since, Mr. Goldman’s client has already done that time prior to this stage of the case, Mr. Goldman’s client faced no additional jail time.
Mr. Thiesen’s client is a mother who tested positive at the hospital for methamphetamines. The Department of Human Services (child welfare) asked the judge to allow them to remove her child from her care due to this test. This mom denied using methamphetamines and had no idea why that one test indicated she had used. At the hearing called a ‘shelter care hearing’, DHS presented their case for removal of this child from this family because of that test. Mr. Thiesen argued that even if that test was accurate (something he also disputed) that DHS presented no evidence that the child was being harmed or that mother’s care of the child was harmed at all. Accordingly, this child got to stay at home with mom!
Mr. Goldman’s client appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He was also waiting alone in a parked car. Mr. Goldman’s client told the four police officers who arrived that he hadn’t driven and that the driver was in the building ‘right over there’. The police chose not to believe him and arrested him for DUII. At trial, the police testified that that there was no evidence that there had been another driver. So, Mr. Goldman cross examined the primary officer using the officer’s own report that confirmed they were told exactly where the actual driver was (walking distance). The officer denied that having that information along with the clear denials of driving were evidence and they didn’t feel they should check if there was actually a driver in the building. Since the officer’s report didn’t support the officer’s testimony, the jury was unable to resolve the case and a mistrial was declared.