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Quick acquittal in domestic violence trial

A jury needed only 20 minutes to reach a “not guilty” verdict in a recent domestic violence case in Clark County District Court.

Attorneys Devin Higgins and Amber Cognata won the Oct. 5 trial for a client accused of assaulting her ex-boyfriend. She was charged with fourth-degree assault, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

A video of the July 17 incident, filmed by the alleged victim’s adult daughter, showed our client and her ex arguing about infidelity. The alleged victim got splashed with water off-camera, and then our client appeared to make a slapping motion toward her ex’s face.

The alleged victim’s daughter called 911. When Clark County Sheriff’s deputies arrived he told them he did not want to be a victim and he did not want his ex-girlfriend to get into trouble. A deputy who viewed the video explained that under the state’s mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence he had no choice but to arrest our client.

At trial, the alleged victim said he was hit in the back of the head. Before he was hit, he said he had been calling his ex a whore, a cheating slut and a bitch. He said he hadn’t wanted law enforcement involved and didn’t tell his daughter to call 911. He also said that before our client showed up at his house he told her he was going to “destroy” her.

The alleged victim’s daughter and her boyfriend testified. Both of them said they did not see any actual physical contact between the defendant and the alleged victim.

The client also testified. She said she went to the alleged victim’s house that day because she was concerned that he was going to get rid of her belongings. She and her ex-boyfriend, who’d been together for several years, got into an argument. She said when the water was splashed onto the alleged victim, it was because she’d been holding a water bottle and he had been grabbing at her wrist/forearm. She said when she made the slapping motions it was because he was in her face and using threatening language and she was scared and wanted him to get away.

The jury of four women and two men said they reached a verdict 21 minutes after they were excused to start deliberations.

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

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