Crime or kink? Jury acquits man who tied up girlfriend
Attorney Zeed Meyer won a Clark County District Court trial March 9 for a client charged with assaulting his girlfriend.
Based on police reports, this did not appear to be a strong case for the defense: a woman called 911 to report that she woke up to her boyfriend pulling down her pants; her wrists had been in restraints. A responding officer photographed her bloody lip, which she said was caused by her boyfriend stuffing a pair of underwear in her mouth. She also said her boyfriend headbutted her, and, after the restraints were removed, pushed her to the ground during an argument.
So how did Meyer get “not guilty” verdict, which was reached by the Clark County District Court jury – all of whom were women -- after 20 minutes of deliberations?
He emphasized during closing arguments that the couple, who have been together for five years and have two children, had a history of consensual kinky sexual behavior. The woman had been tied up before, and, as his client testified, she was the one who was more into the kink and he was trying get on her level.
Both his client and the alleged victim said they’d got into an argument before bed.
The woman said before she went to sleep her boyfriend asked, “If this was your last day on Earth, how would you like to spend it?” and she said she ignored him and went to sleep. She woke up at 1:30 a.m. in restraints, but didn’t call 911 until 4 a.m. She said she was only tied up for a few minutes, and after she got out of bed they argued off-and-on until she called 911.
During a pre-trial interview, the woman said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to happen with the case. She wanted the no-contact order dropped and wanted to continue couples’ counseling.
At trial, she testified that the bloody lip could have been accidental, as it happened after she kicked her boyfriend’s legs out from under him while she was on the bed and he was leaning over her. She also said the subsequent push to the ground, after she was out of the restraints, was an accident.
Meyer’s client testified that the question he asked before bed, about how she would like to spend her last day, was inspired by the fact their counselor was always telling them that they need to really think about if they are happy. He said he never intended to hurt his girlfriend, and he thought his gesture would cheer her up after their argument.
During closing argument, Meyer asked the jury to answer a key question: Did the assistant Vancouver city attorney prove that his client had intended to commit an assault? Jurors needed only 20 minutes to unanimously decide that burden had not been met.
Had Meyer's client been convicted of fourth-degree assault domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor, he would have faced up to one year in the Clark County Jail.