Walk Slowly And Carry A Big Stick
One of my clients was found not guilty of disorderly conduct and unlawful display of a weapon by a Clark County District Court jury on March 4, following a one-day trial.
He was arrested by a Vancouver police officer for harassment, but the charges were amended by the Vancouver City Attorney's office during the course of the case.
The case involved allegations that my elderly client grew irate during a traffic altercation involving another car that was occupied by two college-aged individuals. The alleged victims claimed that the
defendant threatened to kill the driver, got out of his vehicle on the highway and brandished a wooden club as a weapon. Police were called after my client followed the alleged victims' vehicle for several miles.
In addition to challenging the allegations, I defended the actions the defendant did admit to taking, which were in self-defense. I argued that the defendant only offered to use enough force as was necessary to protect himself from the threats being made to him by the other motorist (a standard established under RCW 9A.16.020.) I also argued that because one of the alleged victims, the driver, was the actual aggressor, the defendant followed the vehicle in order to get the license plate so that he could call the police himself.
The defendant testified he never threatened to kill anyone but after being threatened, he did show the alleged victims a club that he keeps in his vehicle for protection.
While the arresting officer apparently didn't believe the my client's version of events on the date in question, a jury of his peers were less certain that my client committed a crime and decided there was at least
reasonable doubt that he committed any crimes that day.
As a veteran of the armed services, the defendant was grateful that he fought to preserve the very system of justice that ultimately protected him in court that day. Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.