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Barrar wins not-guilty verdicts in DV trial

Attorney Jeff Barrar won a domestic violence trial this week in Clark County District Court for a father accused of assaulting his adult daughter and punching a hole in a wall.

The client was charged with fourth-degree assault and third-degree malicious mischief, both gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail.

The client’s daughter, 24, called 911 on March 1 to report that her father had pushed her, and then had made a fist at her and punched a wall next to where she’d been standing. Her father was arrested.

Barrar’s client was born in Moldova and used a Russian interpreter during the trial, as did his ex-wife, who was subpoenaed to testify by the prosecutor. The language barrier may have caused a misunderstanding with officers who responded to the scene, Barrar told the jury. 

The client's ex-wife testified they divorced several years ago but reconciled and were living together at the time of the incident. 

The client's daughter told responding officers that her father was drunk and had been yelling at her mother, and she asked repeatedly for him to be quiet so he wouldn’t wake up her brother and sister. She said her father told her to stay out of it, then pushed her and punched a hole in a wall.

A deputy from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, who spoke with the client’s ex-wife the night of the incident, wrote in his report that she confirmed her daughter’s version of events.

The daughter and deputy told their stories to the jury during the June 13 trial.

The client’s ex-wife, however, testified to the jury that her ex-husband did not push their daughter. She said he put his hands up and walked toward their daughter, but she never saw him push her or cause her to fall. She said he did punch a wall, but it appeared he was acting out of frustration, not anger. She said after he punched the wall he turned away and she saw tears in his eyes.

She also said that while the home is in her name, she and her ex-husband own it together.

During closing argument, Barrar said it was possible the language barrier may have been the reason the deputy sheriff mistakenly thought the mother was supporting the daughter’s story.

The conflicting accounts from the mother and daughter weren't enough evidence to convict his client of assault, Barrar said.

As for the malicious mischief charge, his client damaged his own property, Barrar said. The definition of malicious mischief is to cause damage to “vex” or “annoy” someone. He said his client didn’t intend to punch a hole in the wall to vex or annoy anyone. He was just frustrated and hit the wall.

The six-member jury deliberated approximately 45 minutes before returning the not-guilty verdicts.

Tags: criminal law, not guilty, assault, domestic violence, Clark County, malicious mischief

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