Zoom court proceedings will soon be a thing of the past here in Minnesota assuming all continues to go as expected in terms of the pandemic, but they are still being used across the country to help conduct key criminal hearings. Yesterday, one of those Zoom trials went viral because one eagle-eye attorney was able to save a victim from witness intimidation and potential harm.
Lawyer Helps Save Victim
The whole thing began in St. Joseph County District Court in Michigan in a case overseen by Judge Jeffery Middleton. According to court details, Judge Middleton was hearing the case of Coby James Harris, 21, who was accused of assault with intent to commit bodily harm less than murder. During an altercation, Harris was alleged to have assaulted Mary Lindsey, who he was dating at the time. Harris was out on a no contact bond while his case was being heard, meaning that he was to have no contact with Lindsey.
All parties appeared on Zoom for the trial, but prosecuting attorney Deborah Davis could tell something was amiss a few minutes into the hearing. Lindsey appeared flustered, kept looking off screen and answered questions in such a way that it made Davis believe that Harris was actually inside the same residence, potentially intimating the witness. We’ll explain what happens next below, or you can watch everything unfold for yourself beginning at the 7:25 mark and with the biggest payoff at the 13:30 mark.
After giving as weak excuse as to why Harris couldn’t walk outside and verify that he was at a different location than the victim in the case, police arrived at Lindsey’s residence to perform a welfare check. A few minutes later, Harris appears on screen with a cigarette in his mouth as he’s being handcuffed, trying to explain to the judge how both parties want the no contact order dropped. Judge Middleton quickly advises Harris that’s he’s at rock bottom and should stop digging before postponing the trial and nothing that Harris will now likely face additional charges.
This was a great catch by Davis, and props to her for speaking up when she believed that something was wrong. Witness intimidation or witnesses saying something other than the truth because they fear repercussions from an abuser are far too common in abuse cases, especially because they can be tough to police. We’re glad Davis was able to help Lindsey, and we want to do our part to help anyone embroiled in a domestic abuse situation. If you need legal help or advice, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.