Commonwealth v. H.A – Abusing Domestic Abuse

HA was charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault stemming from allegations from his estranged wife. She stated that at one time he burnt her with a hot iron. Another time she was choked until she almost passed out. Yet another time she was locked in a room without a key. She was able to have a picture taken showing the iron burn mark on her side.

Despite numerous generous probation offers and the hammer of state incarceration hanging over his client’s head, Mr. Shaffer took the case to trial. He was able to bring out several damaging points. First, that none of these incidents were reported in a timely manner. Second, that these allegations only came to light after his client began initiating divorce proceedings. Not happy with just the facts, Mr. Shaffer also had an expert witness come and testify about U Visas and how HA’s wife would potentially be able to get a green card and citizenship if she were a victim of domestic abuse.

Continuing to ensure that his client received a favorable verdict, Mr. Shaffer was able to receive information from an attorney whom the complainant contacted and who directly contradicted what she said at the preliminary hearing. Though extremely rare, the attorney was able to break her attorney-client privilege and provide information about the constantly changing story.

During closing argument Mr. Shaffer pointed to his client’s lack of record, the constantly changing story, and the need for the U Visa. Despite the photographs of the burn marks, the judge agreed with Mr. Shaffer and found his client NOT GUILTY of all charges.