defense lawyer

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Caroling, Cocoa… and Lawsuits?

For most, the Christmas season is a time to be jolly, but for some others, it’s time to go to court.

They’re dreaming of anything but a white Christmas.

One North Carolina jeweler made a wager with its customers in 2010, promising free baubles for all if Asheville saw a white Christmas. It was a gimme they figured. No way. Much to the owners’ chagrin, six inches of snow fell that day. Sure enough, they made good on their offer of free jewelry. This wasn’t enough for one customer, however, who received a $7000 refund minus tax and sued the store for the remaining $600. A judge found in favor of the defendant.

Include Hannukah, or else.

Poor Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday so often forgotten in favor of its more mainstream, Christian counterpart, Christmas. Ornamented trees and poinsettia dominate the landscape, and often there’s nary a menorah to be found. Over this, a retired lawyer and resident of Leesburg, Florida sued the Lake County Retirement Community. And he won, too. His prize: an ornate menorah erected on the grounds of the neighborhood.

In the pacific northwest, executives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport outright refused to include a menorah in their holiday display, and disgruntled travelers threatened to sue. Instead of complying with the request, SeaTac dismantled the display entirely — only to reinstate it some time later. They never added a menorah.

Gone caroling with instruments of torture…

Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been sued no fewer than six times over what some have considered cruel and unusual treatment; Arpaio would stream holiday music through prison speakers for as many as 12 hours per day. To date, the courts have found in the sheriff’s favor each time.

Have yourself a happy holiday season.

In 2013, an elementary school in South Carolina was forced to cancel its Operation Christmas Child toy drive after receiving correspondence from the American Humanist Association on behalf of a parent apprehensive about the program’s association with a Christian-based organization. This isn’t the first time concerns over religious undertones led to the end or banning of certain holiday tidings. One Texas principal denied a student from handing out candy canes with evangelical notes attached, while another school administrator in Texas confiscated pencils that read, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

They’re basically Clark Griswold.

Except the name is Osborne. Mitzi and Jennings Osborne were sued in the 90s over an excessive light display that comprised more than 3 million lights. The Griswolds have nothing on these people. Six neighbors came together to demand the Osbornes’ light show be limited to certain hours of the day for a limited number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. From local and district courts to Washington, and despite the defendants’ appeal, the plaintiffs’ request was granted.

Client Found Not Guilty Of All Charges

Client acquitted on all charges.

Criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel patted his client on the back as she in tears while the jury foreperson read the verdict.  After what must have seemed like an eternity (approximately 4 months), the nightmare was finally over.  Our client had been found not guilty on charges of Felonious Assault, Domestic Violence, and two counts of Malicious Destruction of Property.  It took the jury an entire 15 minutes to reach their verdict…though to be fair, they were not given a verdict form until approximately 10 minutes into the deliberation. 

The charges stemmed from allegations made by the “victim” that Mr. Kessel’s client had punched and scratched and thrown a heavy dinner plate and a large stick at him, all of which caused several cuts and bruises.  After that, the “victim” said that our client broke several windows and caused extensive damage to “victim’s”.  Our client claimed that the only injuries that her (now) ex-boyfriend sustained we as a result of her defending herself against his attack.  During cross examination, defense attorney Chris Kessel pummeled the complaining witness with all of the changes in his story.  The ex could not keep straight from where he had been before he came home, what damage had been done to his car, how our client had sustained injuries to herself, and even how many children he had in common with our client…the answer of which is actually zero.  At one point, while Mr. Kessel questioned the complaining witness, the judge, jury and audience burst out into laughter at some of the explanations given for the inconsistencies. 

The mood turned serious as Mr. Kessel’s client took the stand.  She testified how the “victim” had been abusing her for years while the two had been in a relationship.  She described, through tears, how the “victim” had come home intoxicated and began yelling at her.  When she told him she wanted to leave him, the verbal assault became a physical one, as he cut her wrist and knocked a tooth out.  Our client even brought the short she had been wearing, covered in blood, to show where she had bled after she had been attacked.

Thankfully the jury was able to see the sincerity in the client’s face.  When contrasted against the ridiculous story of the “victim”, as shown by attorney Kessel, there was no doubt in the jury’s mind. 

Assault charges are often fueled by emotional and hostile witnesses.  More often than not, a verdict will hang solely on the testimony of a complaining witness.  The means that you need an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross examination, who can force a witness to admit things that may contradict earlier statements, police reports, hospital records, and other witnesses.  Other times a case will turn on what the defendant’s intent was during the alleged assault.  It can often times be difficult if not impossible to prove what someone’s intent was.  At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the experience needed to persuade a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you did not have the necessary intent to convict.