New attorney wins assault, malicious mischief trial
New attorney Isabelle Askanas won a trial Sept. 13 in Clark County District Court, only a month after receiving her Washington state bar license.
Her client was arrested March 30 after a neighbor in his complex called 911 to report he could hear people screaming and crying in the apartment, specifically a woman yelling at a man to get out.
The client, 47, was accused of grabbing his fiancée’s 20-year-old niece during an argument, threatening to kill her and destroying her cell phone. He was charged with fourth-degree assault, harassment and malicious mischief in the third degree.
The harassment charge was dismissed before trial by an assistant Vancouver city attorney, who acknowledged the alleged victim was not going to show up and testify. He would have needed her testimony to prove she was threatened by the client.
Instead of dismissing all charges, however, the assistant city attorney went forward on the misdemeanor assault and malicious mischief charges. He called three officers from the Vancouver Police Department, who all responded to the neighbor’s 911 call, and one witness -- the client’s fiancée.
According to the police reports, the fiancée told officers that she saw the client grab her niece and pull her towards him. At trial, however, she said she never said that. She also said that the phone her niece claimed had been damaged was an old phone, and she was using a different phone at the time of the altercation.
The jury saw photographs of the damaged phone, which the client allegedly threw on the ground. The damage was so extensive, though, that Askanas said during closing argument her client would have to be a pitcher for the New York Yankees to be able to throw that hard.
Askanas was assisted at her first Clark County trial by attorney Gregger Highberg, who cross-examined two of the police officers.
If convicted, her client faced up to one year in jail. The six-member jury deliberated about an hour and 15 minutes before returning the “not guilty” verdicts.