Tucker wins acquittal in domestic violence case
Attorney Koji “Ricky” Tucker won a trial last week for a client charged with misdemeanor domestic violence assault and making a false statement.
A deputy prosecuting attorney went ahead with the March 6 trial in Clark County District Court despite the fact only two witnesses, both law enforcement officers, showed up to testify.
The alleged victim, the client’s wife, didn’t show up.
The charges stemmed from last summer, when one of the couple’s children called 911 and said his father was hitting his mother. Another child, 10, told a responding officer from the Vancouver Police Department that she’d walked by her parents’ closed bedroom door and heard them fighting. She said she’d heard her father hit her mother.
The judge allowed jurors to hear a portion of the 911 call.
An officer testified the alleged victim didn’t have any noticeable injuries, and she declined medical treatment.
The alleged victim also refused to write a statement for officers about what happened and didn’t return calls from the prosecutor’s office to schedule a pre-trial interview.
One officer testified our client initially lied when asked his name, which led to the charge of making a false statement.
However, English isn’t our client’s first language and officers didn’t use an interpreter, as Tucker pointed out to jurors. His client may not have understood what he was being asked.
The deputy prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments there are many reasons why a domestic violence victim may not want to testify against her alleged abuser, namely that she’s scared.
But Tucker said with no witnesses and no victim, the state couldn’t meet its burden of proving the assault charge beyond a reasonable doubt. He said he believed that the 10-year-old child heard her parents arguing but questioned how certain jurors could be that the child heard her mother being physically abused.
He asked, would you rest your fate on the word of a child?
Jurors deliberated less than an hour before returning “not guilty” verdicts.
Had Tucker’s client been convicted of assault in the fourth degree and making a false statement, both gross misdemeanors, he could have faced up to one year in jail.