Fight ignited over fireworks fizzles out for prosecutor
Allison Widney won a trial on Sept. 30 for a client charged in Clark County District Court with domestic violence harassment and assault.
It was a he-said, she-said case.
On July 1, the alleged victim called 911 and said her estranged husband had just tried to run her over after they got into an argument over fireworks.
She told responding officers from the Vancouver Police Department that her husband, who she was in the process of divorcing, had come to her residence to pick up their two children for a scheduled visit. She said they got into an argument because he wanted some fireworks that were left over from the previous Fourth of July, and she didn’t want him to take them because she’d planned on setting them off on the upcoming holiday. She claimed that he raised his fist and threatened to hurt her and that she was scared he was going to follow through with the threat.
She also accused him of trying to run her over when she went outside to tell the children to get out of his vehicle and said he threatened that he'd put her car up on blocks.
She wouldn’t let officers interview the two children, ages 11 and 8, because she said they were too upset.
Widney’s client was arrested for misdemeanor harassment.
Neither police nor prosecutors followed up with trying to interview the children, so they weren’t called as witnesses.
On the morning of trial, an assistant Vancouver city attorney filed an additional charge of misdemeanor assault, seemingly as retribution for the client exercising his constitutional right to a trial.
Widney’s client testified that he and his estranged wife got into an argument over the fireworks but denied threatening her, trying to run her down or saying he'd put her car up on blocks.
As Widney told the jury during closing argument, the burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her client committed the acts of assault and harassment.
The fact that he went to his estranged wife’s house and irritated her isn’t enough to convict him of those crimes, Widney said.
After deliberating about an hour, the six jurors unanimously agreed and voted “not guilty” on both charges.