Case Conclusion Date: August 9, 2010
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict
Description: People v. A.R. was a criminal domestic violence case. The District Attorney in charge of prosecuting the case had elevated the status of the case to a “strike” felony after the preliminary examination by adding an enhancement for the use of “a deadly or dangerous weapon” in the commission of the offense. This case was not only important because of the severity of the charges, but also because the outcome of the case would directly impact A.R.’s spousal support and custody rights in her pending divorce. If A.R. was convicted in the criminal case, she could expect to go to jail, have an extremely difficult time finding a job with a felony conviction, would be presumptively ineligible for spousal support and also custody of her children. In brief, the factual background of the case was that A.R. smashed a wine glass in her former husband’s face during an argument, causing minor lacerations but heavy bleeding. A.R.’s husband claimed that A.R. simply “lost it” and attacked him. The investigating officer arrested A.R. at the scene due to the victim’s injuries and transported her to the hospital. However, under cross-examination, the arresting officer testified that he believed that A.R. was not the perpetrator of domestic violence, but rather, the victim. The investigating officer even admitted her made a mistake arresting her and that he offered A.R. an Emergency Protective Order after she was under arrest. Additionally, the victim admitted under cross-examination that he was using the criminal domestic violence case against A.R. to gain full custody of his children and to avoid paying A.R. spousal support. A.R. testified that she acted in self-defense and supplemented that theory with the history of abuse she suffered at the hands of her former husband. Finally, A.R.’s neighbor testified about several inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony and how his later actions to try and have A.R. set up for violation of a Restraining Order evidenced his plan to discredit A.R. in their divorce by using the criminal system against her. After deliberating for approximately 45 minutes, the jury came back with a not guilty verdict.