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Los Angeles Federal District Court - Jury Acquittal Of Felony Assault

Client was charged with a violation of 18 USC 113(6)-Felony Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury, an accusation carrying a sentence of up to ten years. The incident involved a dispute between passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from LAX to San Francisco.

The victim, seated directly behind our client, reclined her seat prior to takeoff. She ignored our client's request to put her chair in upright position, as required, prior to takeoff. The victim reclined again just after takeoff. When our client attempted to engage her in conversation, the two argued, and the victim then called our client an expletive.

Our client then assaulted the victim. Testimony at trial revealed that client either ‘choked and punched her head' or simply ‘took hold of her shoulders and shook her' in frustration. The government presented testimony that the victim suffered a concussion, which included symptoms of headaches, loss of memory, nausea and anxiety.

The defense called five witnesses: The EMT/fireman who assessed the victim on the plane; a passenger who characterized the assault as shaking the victim from her shoulder area;, and two character witnesses who had known our client both personally and professionally, who both testified about his good character, including character traits for non-violence and law-abidedness.

Client also testified on his own behalf. The jury acquitted our client of Felony Assault, the indicted charge. They found him responsible for simple misdemeanor assault, 18 USC 113(5), a charge carrying a maximum sentence of six months. The case was covered in the media.

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