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Client acquitted of assaulting grandmother

Attorney Gregger Highberg won a not-guilty verdict this week in Clark County District Court for a client charged with assaulting his grandmother.

Based on the 911 call alone, the evidence seemed to favor the prosecution. Both the grandmother and her daughter (the client’s mother) sounded scared during the 911 call, which was played twice during the Nov. 15 trial. The grandmother says her grandson won’t leave, and “I want him arrested, he’s in here badgering me, abusing me, and everything else to me, and I want him outta my house, I want him arrested.” Her daughter gets on the phone with the emergency dispatcher, says her mother needs to go to the hospital and can be heard saying, “Don’t touch her, don’t touch her!”

Responding deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office noted in reports that our client appeared intoxicated and they could smell alcohol emanating from him. They also noted, however, that the grandmother didn’t have any visible injuries.

The grandmother told deputies that she and her grandson had been arguing because she believed he had taken her car keys, and said at one point he grabbed her by the face and by her arms.

Deputies arrested our client and took him to the Clark County Jail.

He was charged with fourth-degree assault domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

But after the Sept. 18 incident, the grandmother said she would like the criminal charge dismissed against her grandson. At trial, she and her daughter explained to jurors that they were both not feeling well that day. They began to panic when the grandmother, who has several health issues, started experiencing vertigo for the first time. The grandmother said she didn’t understand what was going on. They wanted to go to the hospital, but thought our client had his grandmother’s car keys.

The grandmother said our client did grab her by the arms, while the mother mentioned it was to try and keep the grandmother upright as she tipped sideways in her chair. The grandmother said when he grabbed her head it was to bring her in close and get her attention, explaining he didn’t have the keys.

An assistant Vancouver city attorney replayed the 911 call during closing arguments, and told jurors that the victim and the witness minimized what happened when they gave their testimony. The prosecutor went so far as to say our client was acting like an “asshole.”

Highberg, during his closing argument, said the grandmother and mother just gave jurors a broader perspective of what happened and explained why they sounded so hysterical on the 911 call. Highberg also said his client may have acted like an “a-hole” but that doesn’t make him guilty of assault.

The six-member jury deliberated 30 minutes before unanimously agreeing to vote not-guilty.

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