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Anderson gets another "third strike" dismissed

Prosecutors dismissed a potential “third strike” case this month that attorney Neil Anderson had been preparing to take to trial.

A Clark County deputy prosecutor acknowledged at a Jan. 2 pre-trial hearing that she did not have enough evidence to prove her case beyond a reasonable doubt. She dismissed a charge of second-degree kidnapping domestic violence, a felony.

Had Anderson’s client been convicted, he would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison under the state’s “three strikes and you’re out” law for serious, violent crimes.

Anderson’s client was arrested by Vancouver police officers on Nov. 1 and booked into the Clark County Jail, where he remained – unable to afford to post bail – for two months until his case was dismissed.

On Nov. 1, the client’s girlfriend called 911 and reported that her boyfriend of nine months had been keeping her against her will in their home. She said he’d finally left the house and she was able to call for help. She told officers that her boyfriend was violent and extremely controlling and she was frightened. She said earlier in the evening she’d been in her boyfriend’s car and had asked to get out and he refused.

When contacted by officers, the client said his girlfriend had called him from Portland and asked him for a ride home because she’d run out of gas. He said after he picked her up she never asked to leave. They’d stopped by a friend’s home and socialized before returning home. He later left to do errands and returned home to find multiple Vancouver police vehicles. Officers spoke with the friends that the client and his girlfriend had visited with earlier in the evening, both of whom told officers that nothing seemed wrong.

On the night of the client’s arrest, his girlfriend wrote a statement for officers, saying after they arrived home he’d locked the door and closed the blinds. She said he’d threatened to hurt her and after he left the home she went outside and hid in the bushes and called 911.

After his Nov. 1 arrest, her story changed. In a Dec. 11 email to Anderson and her advocate at the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center, she said she wasn’t scared of her boyfriend. She explained that it took him much longer than she thought it should have taken for him to pick her up on Nov. 1 after she ran out of gas, and then she was annoyed again when he left the house that evening. “Feeling hurt and thinking I was no longer a priority to him I got angry wondering what it was he had been doing for hours knowing I was stranded,” she wrote. She wrote that she wanted to leave the house, but since her car was still in Portland and her keys were in her boyfriend’s car she felt the best solution was to call the police.

“Had I known the possibility of things going so wrong, I would have done things differently and on my own,” she wrote. “I never thought we would find ourselves fighting charges, because no crime had been or was committed.”

The girlfriend agreed to be interviewed by Anderson and a defense investigator on Dec. 20th at the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center, but did not appear for the interview. On Jan. 2 Anderson filed a motion for the girlfriend to submit to a deposition in court -- during which she'd have to testify under oath --  and hours later the dismissal was filed. 

Tags: criminal law, domestic violence, Clark County, dismissal

Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.: Vancouver Defenders Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.
Vancouver Defenders