Can't spell Whitney without "W"
Attorney Whitney Hawke won not-guilty verdicts this week for a client charged with two counts of violating a domestic violence no-contact order.
Hawke’s client and the alleged victim in the case share custody of a child. Hawke’s client lives near where her child’s father works, and in April she was pulled over by a Vancouver police officer because her vehicle had one headlight burnt out. The officer ran checks on people in the vehicle and discovered there was a no-contact order prohibiting the driver from being with the passenger. He arrested Hawke’s client for violating the order.
Two months later, a different Vancouver police officer stopped Hawke’s client, this time for failing to wear her seat belt. Again, her child’s father was in the car, and again she was arrested for violating the order. The child’s father had asked a judge to lift the order after the first arrest, but his request was denied.
At the Sept. 13 trial in Clark County District Court, a deputy prosecutor from the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center called the two VPD officers to testify. She did not call the alleged victim to the witness stand.
Hawke, however, did have him testify. He’s 6-foot-3 and weighs more than twice as much as Hawke’s client. He told the jurors that the first time he was found by police in the vehicle, he had been walking home from work and saw her drive by and when she was at a stop sign he got in and told her to give her a ride. The second time, she had showed up at his sister’s house to pick up their child and he got in her vehicle and demanded she give him a ride.
During closing arguments, Hawke asked jurors what her client was supposed to do when her child’s father got into her car. Each time, her young child was in the car.
She also discussed what the phrase “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” means, and told jurors that if they felt her client was under duress at the time and felt as though she had no choice but to give her child’s father a ride, that was reason to find her not guilty of knowingly and intentionally violating the no-contact order.
The jurors deliberated about 35 minutes before returning the not-guilty verdicts.
Violating a no-contact order is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. The no-contact order that led to these two cases was eventually lifted.