Peter was a fifty-five-year-old man with no prior criminal record
when he called me for help after charges of assault
in Dallas County
. Peter had gone to work for a man he quickly learned was dishonest. After just two days on the job, Peter quit. He returned at the end of the week to collect his paycheck. The owner refused to pay Peter the small amount he was owed, so Peter threatened to call the state Labor Board. The man became irate. He wrote Peter a check and then began screaming at him and chased him out to his car. During his tirade, the owner called 911. Peter finally started driving away. The next thing Peter knew, the man screamed, "He just hit me with his car!" and threw himself to the ground. Peter drove home and called the police. When the police arrived, they arrested Peter for felony
aggravated assault. I prepared a presentation to the Grand Jury
. I asked the Grand Jury
to review the video of the incident, which clearly showed Peter turning to the right as the man flung himself to the ground on the left side of Peter's car. After reviewing the evidence, the Grand Jury rejected Peter's criminal case
Riyad accused of assaulting his wife and had two misdemeanor family violence
cases filed against him as a result. The filing of these charges of assault
also made it impossible for Riyad to visit his daughter without being supervised by strangers. Riyad was adamant that the assault never occurred, so I set his case for trial. The Court heard from several witnesses during the trial who knew his (soon-to-be-ex) wife's volatile nature. By the end of the trial, the judge had serious doubts about the wife's story and she found Riyad Not Guilty of assault family violence
. He has been re-united with his daughter.
Lily had been married to her husband for almost twenty-five years when she caught him cheating on her. When she confronted her husband (who was with his girlfriend at the time), she slapped him once across the face. Because of this, she was arrested for a family violence
assault. I explained to the prosecutor the philandering story behind the slap, and he agreed that no jury would convict her under these circumstances and dismissed the charges of assault
Al was charged with felony aggravated assault
with a deadly weapon after getting into a fight with several other college students on a campus recreational field in Dallas County
. After numerous conversations with the Grand Jury
prosecutor, he came to understand that Al was actually defending himself against a group of men who confronted and surrounded him. The case was never presented to the Grand Jury
and the charges were dropped
wife filed a family violence
assault case against him the same week she filed for divorce and sought custody of their children. Further investigation into her background and the complete lack of physical evidence made the DA realize it would be a difficult case to win at trial. Quincy was also legitimately concerned about the risk of a conviction, because a family violence
finding would mean a family court could never name him primary custodian of his children. Quincy agreed to take batterer's intervention classes in exchange for a dismissal of the criminal case
Stan is a legal resident who has been in this country for more than twenty years. While headed to work in his taxi early one morning, he became involved in a road rage incident with an off-duty Dallas police officer (who he said reeked of alcohol). The encounter resulted in a car accident, and Stan was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. I subpoenaed officer's Internal Affairs file, and what I found gave weight to Stan's claim that the encounter was racially motivated. The Dallas County
DA was in a difficult position because his victim was a police officer, but he doubted the officer's credibility enough to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor assault
. This protected Stan's ability to stay in the country.
Brandy was indicted on felony charges of assault
on a public servant following an argument she got into with a female DART officer. After I looked into the officer's history, it became clear that she would not be a likeable, and maybe not even a believable, witness for the State. The DA agreed to reduce the felony assault to a simple misdemeanor
and give her deferred probation so that her criminal case was ultimately dismissed
Hannah was arrested on felony charges of assault
with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to hit her husband with her car while he was driving in his car. I prepared a Grand Jury
packet to explain that Hannah had recently left her husband after years of abuse and that he had placed all of her legal papers in his car and was attempting to flee with them as she was following him. Hannah's case was rejected by the Grand Jury
, and her husband was later indicted on a related felony
Kathy was charged with felony aggravated assault
and misdemeanor possession of a prohibited weapon
after being attacked by her boyfriend. The arresting officers weren't able to see the extent of Kathy's injuries because her bruises didn't appear until two days after the attack. I provided the DA with photos of Kathy's injuries as well as a confession from her boyfriend, admitting that he had attacked her. The prosecutor rejected Kathy's assault
charge but accepted the weapon charge against her. (The weapon she used is widely sold as a self-protection device for women.) Once the misdemeanor reached the trial court, I was able to convince that DA to DISMISS it with proof that Kathy completed 24 hours of community service. Both charges against Kathy were dropped.
Kendra was a young woman living at home and working her way through college when she was charged with Assault Family Violence.
Kendra was accused of assaulting her older brother after he refused to help clean the house they shared with their mother. By pulling 911 call records from the house, I was able to establish that the family often had to call the police because of her brother's violent behavior. This corroborated Kendra's claim of self defense.
I was also able to provide the Dallas County DA
with photos of the bruising she received during the scuffle. The evidence I provided the DA secured a DISMISSAL
Christopher was having an argument with his girlfriend when she started beating
him in the face and chest. He grabbed her wrists to try to stop her, but she continued to flail about until she lost her footing, taking both of them to the ground. (This is a fact pattern I have seen many times.) Her young son, who heard the loud argument, ran into the room weidling a kitchen knife.
Christopher took the knife
from the boy, left the room, and tossed it into the kitchen sink. Christopher then left the house so everyone could calm down. While he was driving home to cool off, his girlfirend was calling the police.
She reported that Christopher attacked her and pushed her down. She also told them about Christopher holding a knife
at one point during the argument (failing to mention that her son brought it into the room and Christopher simply disarmed him). She gave them Christopher's name and address, and they promptly arrested
him for a misdemeanor assault family violence
against her and an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
against her son. After reviewing the discovery
in the case I found that, because there were no physcial injuries, the only evidence
the State had was the statements by the girlfriend and her son (oh, and a photo of the knife
in the sink). I told the DA I was planning on setting both cases for trial.
Understandably, she wanted to talk to her witnesses personally before deciding her position on the case. Setting after setting, Christopher and I appeared at court
to find out that the DA
was not getting any response from the girlfriend. She left voicemails, sent letters, had her investigator track down alternate phone numbers. She and Christopher didn't see each other again after his arrest,
but he was hearing through friends that she lied to the police
and felt bad about it. But of course, she didn't want to get in trouble for filing a false report.
So apparently she decided her best move was to disappear. (There was a rumor she moved to California.) The DA
was never able to get ahold of her to question her about the events of that night. When I asked her if she was ready to set a trial
date, she handed me a DISMISSAL.
I had to repeat the entire process with the misdemeanor DA
, but after nearly two years the misdemeanor assault case
was also DISMISSED.WIlson was arrested on charges of assaulting his wife after she found evidence he was having an affair. On the 911 call produced by the DA, Wilson's wife can be heard calmly stating that he had assaulted her FIVE weeks earlier and that she now wanted a restraining order because she believed he was having an affair. The police interviewed Wilson's wife and issued an arrest warrant based on her statements. Wilson reported to me that his wife was a very jealous person who often became hysterical when he spoke to or about any other women, even his neighbors and coworkers. He was adamant that, on the day of the incident, his wife attacked him and that the only actions he took were in self-defense. Wilson began to record his conversations with his wife, and the audio I received was consistent with the behavior he had described. Based on Wilson's self-defense claim, I entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf and set his case for trial. Although Wilson's wife had several conversations with the DA about the assault charges, ultimately she refused to appear at court and testify under oath. I don't know if she was embarrassed to face the audiotaped evidence I had, or if she didn't want to repeat the lies she had told the police. Whatever the reason, without her testimony the State was forced to dismiss the charges against Wilson. Miguel came home to find his long-time boyfriend in bed with another man. Of course, an argument followed, and of course, it was not pretty. Miguel's boyfriend blocked the door to the bedroom as Miguel tried to enter. As Miguel banged on the door repeatedly, trying to force his way in, the other man called 911. When the police arrived and interviewed everyone, Miguel's boyfriend did not allege any assault. Nevertheless they arrested Miguel on charges of assault family violence, because the other man stated that the door knob was banging into the boyfriend's head as he tried to hold it shut. After he posted bond, Miguel hired me to represent him on the Felony Assault charge. Although the two did break up following the affair, Miguel's boyfriend felt that the entire incident was blown out of proportion, and he provided me with a sworn statement for the Grand Jury. I included his statement in my presentation to the Grand Jury, and they rejected the case as a NO BILL. George's on-again/off-again girlfriend called the police when he locked her out of his apartment with her laptop inside. (She had become violent for at least the fifth time, and he was not about to open the door to her again.) When the police arrived, they noticed a small scratch on her leg. She said it must have happened when he forced her outside of the apartment. (He had actually sat her dog out in the yard so she would go out and then slammed the door on her when she tried to run back in.) Neither George nor his girlfriend actually knew how she got the scratch. Ultimately a female officer (who explained that her sister was the vicitm of domestic abuse) made the decision to arrest George. When George hired me, he told me stories of numerous attacks on him by his girlfriend over the past year. Luckily, he had photos of many of his injuries (bite marks, bruises, bloody clothing, black eyes). Several of these assaults took place in front of witnesses--one of whom was a police officer. I was able to get written statements from some of the witnesses and provide all of this evidence to the DA (along with the police officer witness's name and badge number with his permission). While the DA was reviewing my evidence and making a determination, George's girlfriend let herself into his apartment with a duplicate key she had made. Of course, an altercation occurred when she refused to leave, and George ended up with a black eye. When George called me, I instructed him to drive directly to his local police station and ask for their assistance in removing her from his home. When they saw his condition, they told him that they had to arrest her for the assault. Her arrest was the final decision-maker for the DA, who ultimately chose to reject his case. The girlfriend, on the other hand, is still facing assault charges.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.