On a hot day in San Diego, a 62-year-old man pulled into a bank parking lot to make an ATM withdrawal. On his way to the machine, a 77-year-old man pulled into a handicapped parking spot. When he exited the car, the older man did not appear to be disabled and there was no hanger or plate indicating the driver was disabled. The 62-year-old made a comment to the other man that he did not appear to need that spot. The man took offense and the two men had a verbal exchange as they approached the ATM. The bank surveillance tape showed the argument turned physical when the 77-year-old began pushing and clawing at the 62-year-old. The confrontation continued until both men fell to the ground outside of camera view. When both men came back into the frame, the 77-year-old gentleman was seen antagonizing the other individual and they re-engaged in a tussle. At this time, bank employees became involved and the police were called. When the police arrived to neutralize the situation, the older man claimed he was attacked and since he was visibly injured with a moderate cut on his head, the police believed the 62-year-old was the aggressor and charged him with felony elder abuse, which necessitated $100,000 in bail. With the seriousness of the charges and the convoluted nature of the incident, he reached out to San Diego criminal defense attorney Jessica McElfresh for assistance.
The charges were eventually reduced to the misdemeanor level of elder abuse, but attorney Jessica McElfresh explained the court process may take some time because misdemeanor charges are only resolved through the prosecutor’s decision to dismiss or after a trial. There was not an option for a preliminary hearing to dismiss the misdemeanor case like there is with a felony. The client understood and she began working on his behalf since they thought the case warranted a dismissal based on their interpretation of the video, showing the other man as the attacker or at most, the situation was an example of mutual combat. Our client’s legal troubles were compounded because he had a criminal history from his younger days; however, attorney Jessica McElfresh filed discovery motions that revealed the other individual also had a criminal history with examples of battery and harassment. After discussing the case with the prosecutors it was apparent they wanted to continue, despite the video evidence, both individuals’ records, and clearly embellished details because they claimed to have a witness that supported the alleged victim’s version of events. Attorney McElfresh was confident a trial would end in acquittal, but in the end, the prosecutor’s office could not produce the witness they mentioned and the case was dismissed. Our client was relieved to move on with his life after such an unfortunate incident.
The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.