Prosecutor dismisses case day of trial, makes defendant pay jury costs
Well, this sucked.
A Vancouver assistant city attorney dismissed a charge of fourth-degree assault domestic violence Friday, the day of trial, after realizing what he should have known had he been properly prepared (that his victim was lying). Because our client was ready to assert his constitutional right to a jury trial, however, he got stuck with the $350 jury tab.
The alleged victim had been saying she was so drunk the night of the incident that she blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened. She spoke with the assistant city attorney and attorney Jeff Barrar this morning, prior to trial, and reiterated that she doesn’t recall much of what happened. She did remember biting our client on the face.
Deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded to the woman’s apartment on July 15 because a neighbor called 911 and said he could hear a male and a female arguing. According to CCSO reports, both our client and the woman had red marks.
Barrar had been ready to argue self-defense.
After Barrar’s client was arrested for assault in July, he made three calls from the Clark County Jail to his girlfriend, two of which were made after a no-contact order had been issued. He was arraigned Sept. 11 on charges of violating the order and scheduled for trial next month.
The assistant city attorney said he would dismiss the assault charge if our client pleaded guilty to violating the no-contact order. The client agreed to the deal. He pleaded guilty to violation of a no-contact order, a gross misdemeanor, and was given credit for the 59 days he’s spent in jail and ordered to be released from custody.
But the assistant city attorney asked District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman to make our client pay approximately $350 in jury fees. Barrar argued his client shouldn’t have to pay for exercising his right to go to trial, but Zimmerman ordered him to pay.
As he’s indigent, it’s unlikely he will be able to afford the fee, but like all other Clark County District Court fines and fees it will go to a collections agency if unpaid.