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Shapiro, Swisher win District Court trial

Attorneys Micah Shapiro and Matthew Swisher won a trial Feb. 22 in Clark County District Court for a client charged with domestic violence assault and harassment.  

The charges, both gross misdemeanors, carry a penalty of up to one year in jail. Convictions would have also cost the client his 20-year career.  

Jurors deliberated 15 minutes before returning the not-guilty verdicts.

The client was arrested in September 2023 after he and his ex-girlfriend both called 911.

She told the 911 dispatcher she’d been assaulted and knocked to the ground and threatened. He called later, wondering when the officers were going to arrive and that none of what she had said was true.

His ex ended up telling three versions of the alleged incident: one to the 911 dispatcher, one to responding police officers and one to the jury. Under cross-examination by Swisher, she could not sufficiently explain the differences in stories. Swisher also got her to admit that she’d recorded the incident on the phone but did not provide the video to police officers.

The client maintained that the only physical contact he had with his ex was when he was deflecting blows. He testified that he defended himself against an attack from his ex-partner, and she fell to the ground because of her own momentum. He told jurors he was a trained martial artist and so he wasn’t afraid.

Since the client testified that he wasn’t in fear of his ex-girlfriend, a Clark County District Court judge wouldn’t allow Shapiro to argue that his client acted in self-defense.

During closing argument, then, Shapiro argued that the law defining assault requires the contact to be “offensive.” He said while his client may have had contact with the alleged victim while deflecting or blocking blows, it could not be considered offensive because a reasonable person who is throwing punches or shoving someone should expect such contact. 

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

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