FELONY CRIMINAL DAMAGE NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. F (DMC No. 13692) (Buckeye Police Department DR No. 15-0505077): At the time of this case, Mr. F was a 36-year old male married to a wife with 2 children. At home one evening, Mr. F unfortunately was confronted with the fact that his wife was having an affair. Mr. F became very distraught and began breaking items around the house including a television, a mirror and numerous other items. At one point Mr. F handed the phone to his wife and instructed her to call her co-adulterer’s spouse saying that he would then advise that man’s wife of what was going on. Instead, Mr. F’s wife called 911. After calling 911 she hung up. She apparently then called again and hung up. Finally the 911 dispatch called and spoke with her briefly. As a result of that, Buckeye Police were dispatched to the residence.
When Buckeye Police arrived at the scene they met with Mr. F’s wife who was very emotional and was crying. They also noticed a house in and which there was substantial damage. There was broken glass all of the floor and there were numerous items that were broken including a table, a clock, a large mirror, some dishes, other furniture and a large television. Mrs. F tearfully advised the police that her husband caught her cheating and became very emotional and lost control. Mrs. F indicated she was very afraid for herself and her 2 small children. By the time the police arrived Mr. F had removed himself from the house, driving away in a car. While the police were at the scene photographing the damage and talking with Mrs. F, Mr. F returned to the scene. The police then interviewed Mr. F in which he allegedly admitted to breaking the numerous items. Mr. F was arrested and taken to jail to be booked for Criminal Damage, a Domestic Violence offense, per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1602.
One of the complicating factors was that Mrs. F indicated to the police that total value of the damage was approximately $5000. This allegation carried the possibility of Felony charges for Mr. F.
After being released from custody, Mr. F retained our firm to assist him on this case. Our Pre-Charge team reviewed the case and developed immediate strategy to head off Felony charges. We were able to obtain immediate documentation of the allegations in the form of the Probable Cause Statement. Information in that Probable Cause Statement allowed us to advise Mr. F of the allegations against him, including the allegations that could result in Felony charges. We worked with Mr. F and obtained information to provide to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to show that the value of the items damaged was in fact not $5000, but less than $1000. The $1000 range is crucial as anything below $1000 can only result in Misdemeanor charges. We then put together a letter pursuant to the Trebus/Bashir line of cases in which we provided the County Attorney’s Office with specific exculpatory information, including the value of the items damaged. Within approximately one week of our letter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Charging Bureau, the case was “turned down.”