• Home
  • Jury doesn't hold son responsible for mother's actions

New on the Barrar Law blog...

Jury doesn't hold son responsible for mother's actions

Attorney Allison Widney’s 17-year-old client was facing about three years in prison.

He’d been accused of helping his mother rob, assault and threaten to kill his grandmother, and was charged with robbery in the first degree domestic violence, assault in the second degree DV and felony harassment DV.

On the day of the incident, his mother had taken him to his grandmother’s residence to presumably just move out their belongings.

Since he was younger than 18 he could have been tried as a juvenile, but since he didn’t want to plead guilty to crimes he said he didn't commit, the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office tried him as an adult so the consequences of a conviction would be much more severe. (Keep this tactic in mind whenever you hear that 90-plus percent of cases resolve without going to trial.) Not only would he have been sent to prison for years instead of a few months in a juvenile facility, a conviction would have been counted as two strikes under the state's three-strikes-and-you're-out law that mandates life sentences for a third serious offense. 

Before taking the case to trial, Widney argued her client should be tried separately from his mother, as the evidence against the mother was substantially worse than the evidence against the son. It was clear that the mother instigated the incident and her son should not be judged for the outrageous conduct of his mother, Widney argued.

A Clark County Superior Court judge denied Widney’s motion for separate trials. Mother and son went to trial together in late June. While the mother was convicted on all counts, her son was found not guilty of assault and harassment.

As for the robbery charge, the 12-member jury couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on whether to convict or acquit the son.

Rather than retry Widney’s client on the robbery charge, a Clark County deputy prosecutor amended the robbery charge to malicious mischief in the third degree domestic violence and disorderly conduct DV.

Her client pleaded guilty to the charges, both misdemeanors, this month.

So instead of spending years in prison, Widney’s client was given credit for time served, which was the one day he’d spent in custody following his arrest. He was ordered to take an anger management class and be on probation for two years.

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

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