We went to trial in Pottawatomie County this week in defense of a client charged with child abuse by injury in violation of 21 O.S. 843.5. Yesterday, the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty," acquitting our client of the charge.
This was the first case in which we were able to argue our client's right to self-defense in regards to a child abuse allegation. Our client was an older gentleman, close to sixty-years old, who was charged with physically abusing a teenage girl with a physical handicap.
Talk about some tough facts.
As if those facts alone weren't difficult enough, the prosecution also brought allegations that our client was drunk when the abuse allegedly occurred.
Even though the prosecution was able to present photos of the complaining witness's injuries to the jury, we were also able to show the jury injuries that our client had sustained. Through vigorous cross-examination, we further explained to the jury that the complaining witness's version of the events was physically impossible compared to our client's account of what happened. In the end, the fact that both parties were injured during the altercation placed the jury in a position to decide which person started the incident and which person was simply protecting themselves.
Luckily for our client, we were able to impeach the prosecution's primary witnesses on multiple issues using their own prior testimony, and we also brought to light the history of the alleged "victim" and her many self-destructive tendencies and prior altercations with adults. Ultimately, we were able to show the jury that the complaining witness was not assweet and innocent as the prosecution would lead them to believe.
Cases that revolve around allegations from teenagers and young children are never easy to defend, and they are always chock-full of emotion. There is a fine line you have to draw as a criminal defense attorney; you will often lose a great deal of credibility with the jury if you beat-up on a younger witness, but at the same time, you have to zealously defend your client's innocence. Sometimes that means you have to point out the lies when you spot them, no matter who's mouth they come out of.
All in all, this was a great win for us, as we have been defending this client against these allegations for almost two full years now. Moreover, the stakes were extremely high in this case, as the charge of Child Abuse by Injury carries up to life in prison and is considered an "85% Crime" (which means that if the client were found guilty, he would have to serve a minimum of 85% of the sentence imposed by the jury prior to becoming eligible for parole or any earned "good-time" credits). Those facts left our client subject to a lot of potential liability, but he had the courage and wherewithal to maintain his innocence until the very end.
After two days of testimony and one hour of deliberation, the jury made the right call. They found our client not guilty and sent him home with the chance to start rebuilding his life without the label of "child abuser" attached to him forever.
If you or a loved one has been charged with child abuse, you need to act now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C. at 405.778.4800 and speak with a qualified and aggressive child abuse defense attorney. We will fight your fight for you.