helps people win back their lives
Felony Assault with a Dangerous Weapon Charge Dismissed – Professional License Saved!
In this case our client was charged with the crime of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 750.82. If we were not successful in our defense, and had the client been convicted, he would have been facing up to 4 years in Prison and up to a $2,000 fine.
Our client had no criminal record and was a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holder for 20 years. He was also a business professional with professional licenses. Therefore, a conviction would mean loss of his freedom, his CPL and gun rights, and have monumentally negative professional consequences. Knowing what was at stake, we set out to help this client win back his life.
As it relates to the facts of this case; on the night in question our client had been woken up from the fireworks being lit off at a neighbor’s home. This did not take place on the 4th of July, so he was confused and afraid. The home from which the fireworks could eventually be traced was known to be frequently rented as an AirBnB. This house had developed a notorious reputation because it has continually caused issues in this residential neighborhood.
Our client is a firearms enthusiast and carries his firearm daily. This night, after being awakened, he put on his day cloths, which included his holster and hand gun, and walked across the street to address the issue. Upon arriving he was immediately approached by several people. Emotions and words were elevated, and our client was assaulted by one of the individuals. This assault consisted of being physically pushed in the chest. As he stumbled back the aggressor continued to approach him while making threats. The aggressor was accompanied by several compatriots who proceeded to surround our client, who instinctively unholstered his pistol and voiced a command to back off. He then retreated from the driveway and returned home. Because of the fireworks and the affray, 911 had been called by multiple neighbors before, during, and after this incident.
The police arrived and interviewed two people from the house at issue and met briefly with our client. Our client became frustrated with the tactics police due to the leading nature of the questioning. Also, the questions were filled with innuendo and it soon became clear that the police were not seeking to assist him but rather interrogate him for possible criminal activity. Further, the officers did not interview any of the neighbors that had called 911 and who had remained on scene which would have included one who witnessed the event and the assault on our client, and one that recorded it with her phone. Their “investigation” was infused with “confirmation bias” as they had already decided, without a full investigation, that our client was the wrongdoer. Their questions were designed to “confirm” what they had already wrongfully concluded.
The officers did not make any arrests that night but prepared their report and submitted it to the prosecutor’s office, which ultimately authorized a felony charge for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. We were retained prior to the authorization but charges were issued within days of our being retained.
Barone Defense Firm Gun Crimes Attorney Michael Boyle was assigned to the case and was able to make contact with the detective in charge for purposes of coordinating a walk-in arraignment on the warrant. This allowed our client to avoid having the police come to his home to arrest him. Thereafter, Mr. Boyle immediately began working with our client to understand his experience that night and doing his own investigation. He sought out the neighbors to interview them and inquire what they heard, saw, and experienced. Through this process Mr. Boyle was able to obtain a helpful supportive statement and an exonerating video of the incident.
Both were significant because the police report painted a distorted and frankly false version, all of which was based on the police “interview” of the perpetrators, also known as AirBnB “renters”. They claimed our client was verbally abusive in his language including using racial slurs, that he pointed the pistol at them, and that they all ran and hid after this “assault” with the gun. However, the video clearly shows our client with his pistol down in a defensive position walking backwards as multiple people from the home are coming at him. The video also showed one of the renters, the so-called victim, being physically held back as he was screaming curses and threats. This included yelling at the neighbor who was recording video. He was calling her a f____ b_____ because she stated she called the police.
We immediately reached out to the prosecutor to begin a dialogue. We wanted to do this prior to our upcoming Probable Cause Conference (PCC) and Preliminary Exam. The prosecutor was prepared and did offer a misdemeanor assault and battery charge, including no Jail or probation. This was not acceptable, so, being unable to resolve the matter, we did standby our request to hold the preliminary exam.
A preliminary exam is like a mini trial except there’s no finding of guilt or of acquittal. Instead the only issue is if the case should be “bound over” to the circuit court. Also, the burden of proof is much lower, and only requires the prosecutor to present witnesses and evidence to support their contention that (1) a crime was committed, and (2) that our client probably committed it. This is a very low burden of proof. Usually defendants present no evidence at a preliminary exam, but this time we were ready to present the results of our own investigation. However, we presented our witness statement and video to the prosecutor prior to the exam, and then passionately articulated why the charges were misplaced. Being persuaded by our accurate and true portrayal of what really happened, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case on the spot. No exam was necessary.
Our client had many emotions upon receiving this news. Positive emotions at the outcome but negative emotions for the experience he was forced to endure. He asked Mr. Boyle, “is this common?” The context of the question was not whether a dismissal is common, which it is not, but common that a law abiding citizen protecting himself faces life altering charges based upon lies and lack of full investigation, not talking to witnesses, and up-ending someone’s life. My response, “it’s more common than it ever should be”.
The lack of a thorough investigation by the police led to an inaccurate report and in turn caused the charges to be issued by the prosecutor. The prosecutor’s case was built on a faulty foundation. These charges should never have been issued, and if the investigation had been done properly our client would have been recognized as the victim, and who properly acted in self-defense. Instead, he faced serious life changing charges, and had to experience the nightmare of going to jail, putting on the jail scrubs, being processed, and fighting for his freedom.
If you have been wrongfully charged or facing an allegation of assault with or without a firearm in self-defense, contact the team at Barone Defense Firm to protect your rights, protect your freedoms, protect your life.