Anderson wins assault trial
Attorney Neil Anderson won a misdemeanor assault trial this week for a client accused of hitting a stranger with a metal rod.
Jurors deliberated about 30 minutes on Oct. 16 in Clark County District Court before returning the “not guilty” verdict.
The client was convicted of misdemeanor bail jump for missing a scheduled pre-trial hearing. He received credit for the time he spent in jail following his arrest.
Had he been convicted of assault, he faced up to one year in jail.
In April 2018, the alleged victim reported to a Vancouver police officer that he’d been hit with a metal pipe by a man while taking his dog on a morning walk through his neighborhood. He said the man had been in a car and yelled at him and called him a racial slur before throwing the metal pipe, which hit him in the leg. He showed the officer the reported weapon, which the officer noted was a metal rod.
At trial, the client told jurors that at the time of the alleged assault he was homeless and living in his car. He’d often park in the Father Blanchet neighborhood, where the alleged victim lives, because his mother lives there. He said the alleged victim would often walk by his vehicle and harass him.
He said he never threw a metal rod at the man.
Because the client decided to testify, an assistant city attorney was able to tell jurors he has criminal convictions for “crimes of dishonesty.” A defendant’s criminal history isn’t admissible at trial unless the defendant testifies and has convictions for crimes that involve taking someone else’s property or identity, such as theft, burglary, fraud or forgery.
Under questioning by Anderson, the client explained his convictions for second-degree burglary and third-degree theft and said he’d pleaded guilty in those cases and didn’t take them to trial.
During closing argument, Anderson told jurors that it didn’t make any sense his client would call the alleged victim – a while male in his 60s – a racial slur. Anderson said that of all the insults to describe the alleged victim, the racial slur in question was the last one that would come to mind. He also noted that although the metal pipe had been entered into evidence by the police, it was never presented at trial.