Two Day Jury Trial in Oakland Circuit Results in Not Guilty Verdict
The odds seemed stacked against acquittal, as usual. The principal charge was assault with intent to do great bodily harm (less than murder). The second count, commission of a felony with a firearm, carried a mandatory two-year minimum prison sentence upon conviction.
My client was a middle-aged woman with no criminal record. The alleged victim, however, had done 15-years in prison for armed robbery. After an evening of drinking and socializing, the two (in an on-again off-again relationship) retreated to my client's home. An argument boiled over and two shots were fired from a revolver. One shot hit the victim in the foot.
At trial, my client took the stand and testified she shot the weapon toward the "victim" in self defense. The jury believed her, and she avoided the two-year mandatory prison sentence.
One of the keys to the acquittal was effective cross-examination of the so-called victim. He was made to look foolish, admitting to contact with and agression toward my client.
The case illustrates how the tough plea policies of the Oakland County Prosecutor's office can sometimes force a jury trial. In this case, the client was most concerned about doing two years in prison. She could appreciate the seriousness of the gun shots, and the significant injury one of the bullets did to her former boyfriend. Willing to do some jail time on an assault guilty plea, she could not bring herself to sign-up for two years in prison. But that's what the prosecutor wanted her to do. They did not offer to drop the felony-firearm charge.
So the defendant rolled the bones and exercised her right to trial. In this case, it was worth the effort. This client saved two years of her life.