Yesterday we had an amazing outcome on a federal criminal case where JUSTICE & FAIRNESS PREVAILED and I would like to share it with you guys.
It was dealing with a 19 yr old young girl who was charged with assault on a federal agent causing injury, we’ll call her Suzy to respect her privacy. It’s a sad case with a good outcome. Here it is….
Late last year Suzy was attempting to drive through the checkpoint with her mom and sister in the car. The dog alerted the CBP Officers and Suzy was asked to please step out of the car. The CBP Officers fully armed quickly surrounded the vehicle and began screaming at her to obey their orders. Suzy was also being screamed at by her mother not to open the car because according to her it was private property and they had no right to ask her to step out.
The CBP Officer after repeatedly asking her to open the door proceeded to break the window and tried to unlock the door. Suzy in a moment of panic and fear tried to forcefully remove the officer’s hand from the lock as he held his arm over the broken glass. The CBP Officer suffered cuts and lacerations on his arm as a result. There was no underlying crime that caused her to refuse to step out of the car such as drug smuggling or human trafficking. At the moment, there was no apparent reason why she was willing to put herself in this situation.
Suzy was charged with Assaulting an Officer under 18 USC Section 11 and faced 12-18 months of incarceration according to the sentencing guidelines. As we researched the case and Suzy’s background we found out she suffered from severe psychological trauma at an early age as a result of sexual abuse as a child. We also found out she stopped receiving counseling as a teenager and her mother had become her sole source of authority of what was right and wrong. We researched the medical journals and found out that victims who suffer this type of trauma have a tendency to react to male authority figures in a defensive manner or as being under attack. And at times they may act unreasonably obedient to other types of authority figures.
Here the puzzle came together and we made sense of why she reacted the way she did. Why she thought she was going to be harmed by the officers as her mom screamed at her not to follow their orders. The law spoke as to these factors as being the type of elements that establish an exceptional case and allowed the judge to depart from the sentencing guidelines. We presented the evidence to the court and made our arguments at sentencing. A conservative republican judge appointed by the Trump administration whom we expected to come down hard on her listened to every detail of my arguments. The federal prosecutor ultimately agreed with us that her emotional condition and diminished capacity were the basis for her reaction. The judge gave her 4 years of probation, counseling and community service hours. He departed from any confinement at a federal penitentiary or mental health institution. Even the Officer injured agreed that NO JAIL TIME was fair!
Practicing in federal courts has brought a renewed sense of admiration to the judicial system. I am thankful to the judges and their staff for being respectful, fair, just and diligent in their work. Of course, I am not always happy with their decisions especially in the 5th Circuit but it’s better than walking into a courtroom in a county where you don’t live and being ambushed by the judge because he is best friends with opposing counsel ?.
Thank you GOD for allowing reasonable minds to come together to help this young child. And thank you to the community for putting your trust in me and my team and thank you to my Dad, Attorney Adrian Martinez, for always having my back