Not Guilty Jury Verdict in an Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer Case In Philadelphia
A young black musician was walking through a large shopping mall with his white girlfriend when he was approached by a Philadelphia police officer and stopped for questioning. Not believing the stop was justified, he objected, and the officer attempted to take him into custody, claiming his loud tone was a breach of the peace. During the officer’s attempt to handcuff and subdue the young man, he grabbed a baseball bat from a sporting goods store and both lives were forever changed.
The officer was struck once in the head by the baseball bat and a simple disorderly conduct charge escalated to the very serious felony charge of aggravated assault against a police officer.
While a charge of aggravated assault against police is very difficult to defend, things get even more complicated when the officer sustains major injuries. In this case, the blow to the officer’s head resulted in hearing loss and brain damage. The chances of negotiating any resolution without serious consequences for him did not exist. This case was going to trial and a guilty verdict would mean a very long prison sentence.
The young male hired Michael van der Veen, an attorney who has successfully handled many high profile and sensitive criminal cases. van der Veen was not intimidated by the facts or the charges and he readied this case for a jury trial. The key to van der Veen’s defense was his artful cross-examination of the prosecution’s eyewitness, which served to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury members as to how the incident really happened. In addition, van der Veen then called defense witnesses to testify as to the good character of this young African American musician, which corrected the negative image of the defendant that prosecution sought to establish.
Ultimately, van der Veen’s defense was successful. In what might have been an open and shut case against him in the hands of a less experienced defense attorney, van der Veen was able to persuade a jury to deliberate for a day and a half and return a verdict of NOT GUILTY in favor of his client. After the trial, he went on to pursue a successful music career, grateful for his decision to retain attorney Michael van der Veen.
One of Philadelphia’s foremost personal injury, criminal defense and commercial litigation law firms, van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin combine nearly a century of passion-driven comprehensive law practice and client-centered representation for the full benefit of their clients. Their experience fighting for clients, serving the community and excelling in litigation has earned them the reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s toughest, hardest-working law firms.