In April of 2017, a ZLF client employed as a tow truck driver was scheduled for a non-jury trial in Allegheny County on charges of Simple Assault and Harassment. The Commonwealth alleged as follows: (1) that the client had rammed the victim's vehicle on multiple occasions, causing damage to the vehicle and (2) that the victim was punched once and shoved into the side of the client's tow truck, causing broken ribs.
At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution would not resolve the case with a plea to summary offenses. After conducting a preliminary hearing, the charges were held for court and scheduled for trial. No plea offer was made in advance of trial.
As part of trial preparation, ZLF obtained copies of the emergency room records from the incident date, where the CT scans and physical examinations of the alleged victim revealed no evidence of bruising, swelling or fractures (i.e. broken ribs). Although the prosecution is not required to provide evidence of serious injury to prove a simple assault case, the medical evidence helped demonstrate that the alleged victim was not credible. Towing records also revealed a lack of damage to the alleged victim's vehicle, contradicting the claim that the vehicle was rammed.
On the date of trial, the client accepted a plea offer where the misdemeanor Simple Assault charges were withdrawn in return for a guilty plea to summary crimes of Harassment and Disorderly Conduct for probation.
Although this was a case that the prosecution should have agreed to resolve at the preliminary hearing, proper trial preparation helped achieve the proper result.