A ZLF client was falsely accused of simple assault and the intimidation of a victim in Allegheny County, facing a maximum sentence of up to 4 years in prison, along with a permanent criminal record. We are pleased to report that he and his co-defendant were found not-guilty after a 1 day non-jury trial. The underlying dispute in this case stemmed from a custody dispute between two parents, to which members of the extended family became involved. At both the preliminary hearing and at trial, the alleged victim testified that she was punched, kicked and beaten for 5-minutes by the co-defendants and a juvenile, causing her to sustain a broken wrist, back injuries, neck injuries, and tearing of the shoulders.
ZLF was able to obtain copies of the alleged victim's medical records from the incident date, which did not support the majority of her injury claims. During cross examination, the lead officer on the case confirmed that the victim did not report any wrist, back, neck or shoulder injuries and declined medical treatment on scene.
On the preliminary hearing date, the alleged victim was seeking reimbursement for thousands of dollars worth of medical bills. Medical billing statements offered into evidence established that the bills were paid in full by her health insurance before the preliminary hearing.
A relative of the victim claimed to have witnessed the assault. We were able to obtain a copy of a certified PFA signed by this witness, where he noted that the victim's injuries were caused by the mother of his child, and not the co-defendants. Testimony also established his racial bias against our client, as he directed a racial slur towards the client during a previous court appearance.
Defense witnesses testified that the victim approached a co-defendant and threatened to kill her, which prompted her to act alone in self-defense. Further testimony established that our client and the juvenile co-defendant did not attack the alleged victim.
At the close of the Commonwealth's case, the Court granted the defense's motion for judgment of acquittal as to the intimidation of a victim offense, and entered a not guilty verdict on the simple assault count at the conclusion of the defense's case.