In Pensacola last week I represented a Escambia County Deputy who was charged with felony battery on a handcuffed suspect. The Pensacola News Journal reported that my 300 pound former deputy client stomped on the suspect’s head while handcuffed causing severe wounds to his face, a fractured nose, and then was body slammed against a door as he was being taken out of the building he had been hiding out in. The paper pointed out there were two other deputies who testified they witnessed these acts of brutality. The paper made some reference to me persuading the jury to find reasonable doubt and the fact that the jury returned a not guilty verdict in 15 minutes. The article reads as if the jurors were either fools or I had some magic wand that I waived around the courtroom to ameliorate the facts of the case so the jury could find reasonable doubt. One readers comment even spoke of the prosecution “throwing” their own case just not to convict a cop. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The evidence adduced at trial actually revealed that the witnesses could not have seen the area where the fight occurred from the area where they claim to have been when they say they witnessed the brutality. Also, most importantly, the emergency room physician who testified in the prosecution’s case said that the injuries caused to the 26 time convicted felon’s scalp were actually quite minor ( one inch and one centimeter respectively) and that they were totally inconsistent with being inflicted by the military style sole of a boot of a 300 pound man or any man for that matter. She stated the wounds were consistent with being hit with a flashlight, as the suspect claimed when he entered the E.R., or that was struck by some type of blunt object. Earlier in the evening the suspect had been struck in the head by a cement lawn ornament by someone trying to get the suspect to release his girlfriend who he was beating. Based on the evidence adduced at trial the extremely attentive jury did exactly what they should have done and found the deputy not guilty. Journalists, readers and even lawyers often forget that the indisputable facts of the case are what is most important in determining what verdict a jury renders.