We recently obtained a not guilty in a jury trial verdict on an assault and battery charged for a deserving client.
Our client was charged with assault and battery and attempted interference with electronic communication.
Our client was in a heated argument with his sister. His sister had called him some choice words that cannot be repeated on paper. The client was understandably upset, and poured his soda pop on her. In return, she pushed him, and he slapped her back.
The client also pulled the phone cord out of the wall when a third-party tried to call the cops. The client took responsibility for this on the stand, but didn’t care. Our goal was to beat the assault and battery charge, which we viewed as more serious of the two charges. The facts weren’t in dispute. Both the client and his sister agreed on what happened.
Interfering with Electronic Communication
So often in these assault and battery or domestic violence cases there is an accompanying charge. That charge is usually something like interference with electronic communication or malicious destruction of property. It usually has something to do with a phone. Prosecutors often will add these charges because it increases the likelihood they’ll get a conviction as the charge is more cut and dry than whether an assault took place.
The jury delivered a not guilty verdict on the assault and battery charge. The jury found the client guilty of the attempted interference with electronic communication.
The case was sort of a self-defense/mutual combat situation. Although the sister didn’t physically touch the client before he poured the pop on her, her choice words to him could have been considered fighting words. The jury may have viewed it as a brother-sister tussle that should end as a wash.
In an assault case, we often look at which party was responsible for escalating the conflict or drama. In this case, it was the sister who kept escalating. The sister spoke the fighting words first, then escalated by using disproportionate physical response to the client’s actions with the pop.
In a self-defense case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant did not act in self-defense. Self-defense is not an affirmative defense such as proving you were somewhere else when a crime was committed, called an alibi.
Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense lawyer in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
For More Information
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