Gustave Flaubert said that “Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.” I just finished a criminal trial for my client in which the cops and “victims” couldn’t wait to jump to conclusions.
The basic facts are that my client was visiting a buddy who lives in unincorporated Pierce County where homeowners are allowed to shoot on their property as long as they don’t endanger anybody else. So client was shooting a 9mm pistol 300 yards from his neighbor’s home..in a different direction…with 600′ of woods between the properties. While he was shooting, someone elsewhere was shooting a rifle…in the direction of the neighbor’s house.
The poor neighbors were terrified trying to hide from the rifle fire that peppered the trees around their property, as well as their home. As there was a 200 yard stand of trees that concealed the neighbor’s home, they could only guess who was pulling the rifle trigger. Cops were called and they went to the property where my client was found standing with his buddy chatting.
My client made the mistake of telling Deputies that he was firing his pistol earlier in the day. That was enough for them to conclude that the bullets striking the neighbor’s home obviously came from my client’s pistol. The neighbors likewise concluded that my client must have been the shooter even though they never saw anybody firing any gun. The fact that my client didn’t have a rifle, and the fact that all the damage to the neighbor’s home was caused by rifle fire didn’t matter to the neighbors or the cops. My client and his buddy were charged with Reckless Endangerment.
My Client is a retired Air Force Security Officer who has been working for the Transportation Safety Administration since just after 9/11. He was also 10 months from retirement, and a guilty conviction would have cost him his pension.
We were fortunate, however, to have a couple of great witnesses. We hired an expert witness who analyzed the bullet damage and concluded that it was caused by rifle fire. He further testified that based on the bullet paths of rounds that struck the neighbor’s home, it was unlikely that my client or his buddy could have fired the rounds. Our second great witness was the client. He has 35 years of law enforcement/security experience, and a lifetime of firearms safety training. He was fantastic on the stand. As a result, he and his buddy were quickly acquitted by the jury.
It’s unfortunate that my client had to pay gun attorney to fight charges that the State should never have filed, but that’s the world we live in. We’re surrounded by stupid people leaping to stupid conclusions. Fortunately, the jury wasn’t stupid.
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Durflinger Oliver & Associates PS
Tacoma, WA 98402
James Edmund Oliver, Jr. is a criminal attorney with over 15 years of experience representing defendants in serious criminal cases. Some of the more common charges he defends against are drugs, firearms, assault, and theft. After serving six years in the Army Reserves, James completed his legal studies at Seattle University School of Law where he graduated in 1998 with a Juris Doctor degree. Jim has established himself as well respected and zealous advocate for a wide variety of clients.