And he was not happy about it at all!!!!! He gave my client a thorough lecture on his conduct, told him he might have put him in jail, but instead had to send him on his way. Very simple case. Client strikes his neighbors fence. Neighbor in the house and hears it. Client drives away. The issues that justifiably angered the judge are not relevant to the guilt or innocence of the charges. The client was charged with leaving the scene of an “unattended” property damage accident. Was the fence unattended? The owner was right there inside her house and heard the crash. Unattended is not defined in the Code. The only reference in the Code to “unattended” is getting on a bus without a driver and failing to pay a fare or entering a bus facility where no one at the entrance. The State argued that section defined the term unattended, the judge disagreed, and I did not have to respond that the owner of the house was present at the entrance of the house, so that bus section actually supported my contention. I brought the dictionary definitions of “attended” and it includes being present and hearing the sound of in this case the crash.
The judge has his law clerk bring him some cases and do some research. I opined the State should have done this prior to trial. As the books stacked up on the Judge’s bench and his demeanor remained perturbed, I knew he was going to find him Not Guilty. After giving the State another chance to convince him, he rendered the Not Guilty verdict. He told my client he was fortunate to have me as his lawyer. We went upstairs and filed for the Expungement. The client had apologized to the neighbor and the damage to the fence was minimal and repaired. No harm in the long run.