Case Conclusion Date: July 7, 2008
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict/Lesser Crime
Description: L.P. was charged with two “strike” felonies. After jury trial, she was acquitted of both felonies, and the jury found her guilty of a lesser misdemeanor for brandishing a weapon. In 2007 after a festival, L.P. was leaving in her car when she became invovled in a verbal altercation with another car. The conversation quickly turned racial in nature and the other individuals began to insult and taunt L.P., her boyfriend and their infant child. L.P.’s boyfriend eventually exited the car to confront the other men. A fist fight ensued. As her boyfriend was mercilessly beat by two other individuals, L.P., fearing for his life, hit both of the other men with a carpenter’s hammer to end the fight. Both men were injured and bleeding. When the police arrived, their brief investigation led them to conclude that L.P. was the primary aggressor. She was arrested and charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon. At trial, the men involved in the fight lied to protect themselves from prosecution. They claimed that only one of them was involved in a fight, it was “fair” and that L.P. went crazy and attacked both of them for no apparent reason. At first, the jury believed their story because there story was corroborated by the testimony of their other friends who watched the entire incident from the car. However, under cross-examination, the one man who denied involvement in the fight was confronted with evidence we discovered that he was involved in a gang beating only three years earlier. We successfully painted the picture that this man had a tendency to involve himself in gang fights. This began to turn the jury in our direction. Finally, the nail in the coffin was that our private investigator found a witness that the police totally ignored during the course of their investigation. The third party witness provided an unbiased account of what occurred, which substantiated our theory of the case that L.P. acted in self-defense.