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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two Day Jury Trial in Oakland Circuit Results in Not Guilty Verdict


Just before the holiday, I heard the words that a defense attorney craves; "not guilty". I was in a two-day jury trial before Oakland County Circuit Judge John McDonald. I think he's a great judge, mostly because I've never lost a trial in his courtroom. This one made four straight.

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.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking this would have been a read without the advertisment at the end. Now it looks like all you're doing is reporting a victory and spinning it into a commercial. What about cases you loose of equal or greater importance to the client.

November 15, 2009 at 8:42 PM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 16, 2009 at 7:09 AM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

Anonymous:
I think I know who you are, and respect your opinion. You've probably noted that I close nearly all posts with one form of invite or another for client prospects to contact the firm. Since I am in private business, one goal of the blog is to convert a prospect into a client through disemmination of our message to a target audience.

Just the same, perhaps I will tone down the commercial component of future posts, as I am also striving to maintain high-quality content for this blog. Besides, a post involving a jury trial victory is a walking advertisement to begin with. Your point is well taken; hope you still enjoyed the read.

November 16, 2009 at 7:15 AM 

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