Self defender wins legal fees under a nifty statute
Defendant was a serviceman charged with assault with a firearm; defense was that he had drawn it to ward off an angry group menacing him and his girlfriend. Jury found for him. Now the State finds itself liable for his legal fees, perhaps $25,000, under a Washington state law providing that "When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense..."
The article fills in some details. He and a friend and their girlfriends were accosted by a group of seven. The group threatened them. His friend had the gun, but dropped it and there was a scuffle and he came up with it, and warned them to back off. Prosecutor said they went with it because he hit one of the group with the handgun. The jury foreman noted they presented no evidence of this. One of the prosecution witnesses said he was so drunk he couldn't recall much of the event.
A nifty statute, although as one attorney points out, since the State rather than the county pays, it's not much deterrent to a county prosecutor.
Hat tip to refugee(at sign)ricketyclick.com, and Ricketyclick Blog