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Trial ends abruptly after key witness acknowledges mistake

Attorney Tim Murphy won a dismissal this week for a client, whose trial on a theft charge came to an abrupt end when the state’s only witness, a Wal-Mart security officer, admitted that the store may have actually overcharged the defendant.

Murphy’s client was cited in June 2016 for stealing $21 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart. She was charged with theft in the third degree, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The case dragged on for 17 months. At one point the city of Vancouver dismissed it, but then decided to refile the charge.

The allegation was made by a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer, who claimed that our client was “looking around nervously” while selecting items and accused her of taking $3 clearance stickers off items and placing them on regularly priced items.

After paying for the items, our client, who denied putting the discount stickers on them, looked at the receipt and noticed she was charged both the regular and discounted prices.

Despite the fact that our client had been overcharged, the loss-prevention officer insisted our client hadn’t paid the correct price and called police.

At trial on Dec. 7, the loss prevention officer testified that she made a mistake after Murphy showed her a copy of the receipt and told her to do the math.

After she acknowledged the mistake, Murphy asked Clark County District Court Judge Chad Sleight to dismiss the case for a lack of evidence. An assistant Vancouver city attorney agreed that the case should be tossed. 

Tags: criminal law, Clark County, theft, dismissal

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