Readers of this blog are likely aware that we have been following the arrest of NFL player Justin Scott Hunter, who was arrested earlier this summer at a Virginia Beach bar. Initially charged with felonious assault, in our last post on the matter we wrote about those charges being reduced to a misdemeanor count of assault and battery. Specifically he was accused of breaking the jaw of another individual involved in a melee at the bar. The reduction in charges followed an investigation that failed to uncover evidence to support the more serious charge.
Since that post, the case went to trial in a Virginia Beach General District Court. At trial, both sides introduced surveillance videos that were taken inside the bar. The videos, described as being poor quality, showed the incident from different angles. Though the prosecution and defense both admitted that the incident started following a seemingly unintended brush between the accused and the victim, both sides then used the video to support their versions of what happened.
While the prosecution asserted the video showed Hunter threw the first punch and placed the victim in a chokehold, when he testified, the victim admitted that he did not know who actually threw the punch that took place outside of the bar away from the camera, and resulted in his broken jaw. At the end of the four hour trial the judge entered a not guilty verdict.
As this case illustrates , there are many things that could happen after someone is criminally charged. Working with a criminal defense lawyer who recognizes these opportunities when they arise is vital to securing a positive outcome.