State v. G.A.; Case No: 312008CF000865 (Indian River County)
Violent and Gun Crimes
Indian River County Sheriffs Office
Our client was at a gas station that had an “arcade” style slot machine where you try to win actual cash money. Under Florida law, the gas station wasn’t supposed to pay out cash to winners, but in an effort to attract customers they did anyway. While playing the slot machine and after consuming a few Budweiser tall boys that evening, our client somehow managed to upset the cashier in the store to the point where the police were called in to remove him. Needless to say our client was on a hot streak and the police refused to help him collect his winnings. Instead, the police dragged our client out of the store and a one sided scuffle ensued. Two armed cops in their 20s vs. a 140 pound middle aged man with a slight buzz from those five tall boys that he had lawfully consumed. You guessed it. Not only did the cops win the fight, but they also charged my client with two felonies and a misdemeanor. The defense was hired to step in and represent G.A. We decided on a two-tiered strategy. First, we pulled the personnel files on both the cops. Turns out they both had some previous citizen complaints for excessive force. We followed up with those citizens and had them ready as witnesses for the defense. If we could show that the police used too much force during the arrest, then we felt we had a chance to secure an outright acquittal. Second, we set the store manager for a deposition and made it known to him that our independent investigation had uncovered some “unusual” payout procedures for the slot machine inside the store. All of the sudden our client’s actions weren’t as egregious as they had been portrayed on the night of his arrest. After our investigation and the depositions, discussions with the State ensued. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, our client decided to avoid the risk of a trial. The client pled no contest to two misdemeanor charges of battery and the trespass charge was dropped. He agreed to one year of probation, with a special condition that he undergo treatment for substance abuse.