Last week, we were able to secure a not guilty verdict in an Oklahoma County jury trial. My client was charged with violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act, but now he is once again a free and innocent man.
My client was accused of using a computer network to conduct a scheme to defraud Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores of money through false or fraudulent pretenses. If found guilty by the jury, my client was facing up to ten years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections AND a fine of up to $100,000.00. Now he is at home with his family, moving on with his life.
The client had previously hired a different criminal defense attorney, but decided to retain my office once he was ready to pursue a jury trial. Beginning representation after another attorney has handled the case for a lengthy period of time is usually difficult. In this case though, the previous criminal defense lawyer did a great job, and the foundation that he laid definitely helped in jury trial preparation.
Regardless, white collar crimes such as this one are always difficult to prepare for trial, as you are usually in a position where your litigation team has to crunch and review a lot of numbers. In this specific case, the difficulty was furthered due to the "document dump" that Love's provided us pusuant to our subpoenas. Love's gave us a TON of documentatation, and we had to spend a TON of time reviewing and organizing all of the evidence.
The specifics of the allegations are too technical to explain in a short blog post like this...you'd probably just get bored and stop reading if I tried.
The prosecution brought in witnesses, both local and from other states, in an attempt to strengthen their case. However, we were able to impeach or discredit the honesty of almost every one of the witnesses. The prosecution also admitted into evidence a document it alleged was a written confession from my client. My defense put on only two witnesses: one of my client's coworkers and my client himself. The jury trial lasted four days.
Any time your client testifies during a criminal trial, it is always a difficult situation. We do our best to prepare our clients, as testifying in their own defense is likely the first time the client has EVER testified as a witness. Moreover, we obviously cannot coach our clients as to what their testimony should be; we have to advise them to just tell the truth. That freedom, mixed with the anxiety of testifying for your first time with your behind litterally on the line, can sometimes end with undesired results.
However, in this jury trial, our client told his truth and did a great job informing the jury as to what actually happened, as opposed to simply letting the jurors rely on the facts as the prosecution's witnesses presented them.
All in all, it was a great result for a good man. There is nothing like the feeling of acquitting one of your clients at a jury trial. I am happy to say I had a hand in aquitting him of the charges he faced from the prosecution. The jury deliberated for less than thirty minutes before returning with a verdict in favor of my client: NOT GUILTY!