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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27226
Experience:  Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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Is this a pretty surefire way of winning in this summary trial? A

Customer Question

Is this a pretty surefire way of winning in this summary trial?

A relative of mine got a summary trial notice in the mail regarding a private criminal complaint (it was filed by a neighbor). The criminal charge listed on there is Harassment. Disturbance and criminal mischief were also on there, but they got crossed off before the paper was photocopied and mailed. The complaint basically says that my relative put a concealed spike board on a shared driveway and that caused the neighbor's two tires to get popped. The complaint also lists a lot of other disputes that she had with my relative over the past few years. The complaints she has lack merit (things like there being dust in the air when my relative drives on the road, etc). Regarding this spike board, the neighbor is saying that she saw my relative doing stuff around the shared driveway and that my relative was "hiding something". My relative told me that he did not put a spike board on the road. On that day, he was doing yard work for the last time in the season. When he was by the shared driveway, he was rearranging a rock line that marks the end of his property, not what the neighbor is saying. He has two witnesses who were there and can back this claim up. My relative also said that he did not even hear about the spike board from the police, rather he only heard about it when he got the private complaint in the mail.

Does he have a good chance of being found not guilty with this type of defense?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

JD 1992 :

Is this going to be a trial to the judge or a trial to a jury?

Customer:

It's a summary trial at one of these little magisterial district courts, so no jury.

Customer:

Neither party involved has any prior criminal history

JD 1992 :

Based on what you have put forth then it does seem like he would have a good chance at winning.

JD 1992 :

The burden of proof is one the other side and it doesn't sound like they have anything other than "suspicion".

JD 1992 :

He should also move to strike anything that is not connected with this particular incident he is being accused of.

Customer:

Would having copies of the police reports be of any use to my relative or not really? Basically, this neighbor of his is saying that he's harrassing her and that she's afraid to use that part of the driveway. She has listed all of these other minute things as part of her evidence, as it appears on the complaint sheet.

Customer:

The bulk of the argument seems to be with the spike board

JD 1992 :

Not really, they're not admissible unless you subpoena a police records custodian to "prove them up".

JD 1992 :

She can certainly be questioned about other complaints that she called in and the police investigated and dropped.

Customer:

Yes, I'm just wondering why the police never even said anything about the spike board to him

Customer:

He is gone during most of the day, so maybe they knocked and left

Customer:

but they could have left a note in his mailbox or called him (since they have his number)

JD 1992 :

Probably because there is no evidence to support that he was involved in it in any way.

JD 1992 :

Did they file the charges or did she?

Customer:

He never heard a peep out of the police, he didnt even find out about the event until he got the private complaint in the mail over a month later

Customer:

she filed the charge

JD 1992 :

She probably filed because the police wouldn't. This isn't unusual in a case where there have been a number of unsubstantiated complaints. They start just doing a cursory investigation if they do any at all.

Customer:

alright, thanks for your help, this clarifies a lot for my family

Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27226
Experience: Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
Dwayne B. and 9 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
Criminal Lawyer
27226 Satisfied Customers
Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.