Two weeks ago, after seven hours of deliberation, seven jury questions, and six rounds of votes, a jury acquitted my client of PC 245 (a)(4) felony assault by force likely to cause great bodily injury and hung on the lesser included offense of PC 240 simple assault. Two separate counts of PC 243(e)(1) domestic battery resulted in a hung jury and were dismissed the following week. The case had some bizarre facts and, at times, felt like a circus. My client spent roughly four months in jail to contest his innocence, so this victory was particularly sweet.
Putting on a jury trial, no matter the verdict, is draining. Trials require an undivided attention to detail, you must know the case inside and out. Who said what? When did they say it? Who did they say it to? What did they say? Have they ever said something different? Thorough case preparation is essential for truly “knowing” your case. My investigator also provided some real gems to attack the credibility of the complaining witness. Sometimes, such dedicated preparation still feels inadequate.
The vast majority of cases resolve without a court or jury trial, but you never forget the ones that go to trial. Entrusting your client’s freedom to 12 strangers, leaves you with a profound sense of confidence in the jury system when the verdict is “Not Guilty” . Our system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got.