Husband found not guilty of domestic violence
Attorney Katie Kauffman won a trial this week for a client accused of assaulting his wife.
Jurors deliberated approximately 30 minutes before returning the “not guilty” verdict following a daylong trial Oct. 3 in Clark County District Court.
Our client, who had no criminal history, was arrested in July after two women who’d been driving on Fourth Plain Boulevard called 911 to report that a man and a woman were having a physical altercation in a field next to a parking lot.
The first caller, who testified for the prosecution, told a dispatcher that she saw the man grab the woman and pull her hair. The second caller, who testified for the defense, said it looked as though the woman was stumbling and the man was trying to keep her from falling over.
Kauffman’s client was charged with fourth-degree assault domestic violence, a gross misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office who responded to the 911 calls said our client acknowledged that he “bear hugged” his wife but said he was only trying to calm her down. He said they had been arguing while they were driving and had stopped to take a smoke break to try and calm down. He said his wife tried to run away, and he didn’t want her to get lost because they aren’t from Vancouver. He said his wife has mental health issues.
His wife told deputies the same version of events. She said they had been arguing over money and after they stopped she tried to leave, so her husband grabbed her to get her to stay. She refused to write a statement for officers and told them it was “crazy” that her husband was being arrested for assault, a deputy wrote.
Deputies noted that our client had a fresh scratch on his cheek and his wife had redness on her lower neck. Our client said he didn’t know he’d been scratched, while his wife said the redness on her lower neck was due to the fact her husband had his hands there when he wrapped her up in a bear hug. She told officers that at no point was her breathing ever restricted.
She testified at trial that the incident had been a misunderstanding over what the 911 callers thought they saw, and that she wasn’t assaulted.
Prior to trial, she told her advocate at the Domestic Violence Prosecution Center that she wanted the case dismissed.