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Spencer wins DV assault trial

Attorney Marina Spencer won a not-guilty verdict Oct. 14 for a client accused of assaulting the mother of his child.

A jury deliberated an hour in Clark County District Court before unanimously deciding to acquit her client.

Fourth-degree assault domestic violence carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

As Spencer told jurors during closing arguments, the woman made the allegation when she was frustrated things weren't going her way in family law court. 

At the time of the alleged assault, the client’s ex-girlfriend had been trying for months to get the parenting plan amended in Superior Court.

The assault was alleged the day after a failed mediation session, when Spencer’s client was picking up his young son during a scheduled custody exchange.

The alleged victim arrived with her father. The child was in his car seat, behind the driver’s seat.

First, Spencer’s client tried simply to open the rear driver’s side door to get his son out of his car seat, but the door was locked. His ex-girlfriend said she did not want to give Spencer’s client access to her vehicle.

Instead, she and her father, who filmed the custody exchange, got out and went around to the passenger side. The alleged victim said she planned to open the rear passenger side door and lean across the backseat to get her son, and then hand him to Spencer’s client.

Instead, she and her father stalled. Spencer’s client finally leaned into the car and got his son. His ex-girlfriend was in the backseat. The video showed Spencer’s client leaning into the car while his ex-girlfriend and her father yelled at him but did not show an assault.

During a pre-trial interview, the alleged victim said she could not say where exactly their bodies touched. She was not injured.

Once Spencer’s client left with his son, his ex-girlfriend and father got back into the car. The audio was still recording. The alleged victim called and left a message for her family law attorney, saying she had just done an exchange and had been threatened. She did not mention being assaulted. Then she called 911, and told responding officers that she had been assaulted by her ex-boyfriend (who stands over 6 feet tall.)

An assistant city attorney said during closing arguments the client had “used his body” to get his child.

During her closing, Spencer said of course her client used his body. What was he supposed to use to get his child, she asked jurors. His brain? 

Spencer said the real reason the alleged victim called 911 was that she was not getting what she wanted out of her family law attorney, so she tried to get free help from another attorney: the prosecutor.  

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

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