Criminal Defense Attorney Wins Albany, Oregon Not Guilty of Manslaughter: 45-minute jury verdict after 2-week Linn County trial - Arnold Law in Eugene, Oregon – Powerful Advocacy. Proven Results.

Criminal Defense Attorney Wins Albany, Oregon Not Guilty of Manslaughter: 45-minute jury verdict after 2-week Linn County trial

Managing partner Michael Arnold and criminal defense attorney Lissa Casey won not-guilty verdicts for Manslaughter I and Evidence Tampering after a two-year battle in Linn County (Albany, Oregon) on August 26, 2013.  This Sweet Home vehicular homicide allegation resulted from a single-vehicle, two-occupant DUI motorcycle accident.

This complex two-week Linn County trial involving over thirty witnesses was a good example of Arnold Law’s lawyers’ abilities to distill complicated cases down to something manageable for a jury.  This case was particularly expert-witness heavy and rich with engineering and physics principles.  Lead criminal defense attorney Mike Arnold was able to present these concepts to the Albany, Oregon jury by a focused preview in his opening statements and science-rich cross-examination of the state’s witnesses.  The evidence presentation culminated with a computer simulation of the motorcycle accident during the defense accident reconstructionist. The Linn County District Attorney attempted to offer an accident reconstruction of its own but Arnold was able to successfully prevent its admissibility through a OEC 104 hearing outside the presence of the jury due to its inaccuracies and exaggerations, including a blood pool that did not comport with reality.

The almost two-year litigation process involved multiple motions, including a successful motion to suppress and successful motion to compel the production police department employment records.  In a hearing outside the presence of the Albany jury, Arnold introduced evidence that one of the lead Sweet Home officers had been suspended and disciplined previously for mishandling evidence. However, the Linn County judge that ordered the production in discovery ruled that the evidence was inadmissible character evidence for the purposes of trial and it was not presented to the jury.

The Albany Tribune provided a detailed play-by-play account of the trial in an article on September 3, 2013. The Tribune wrote that “the State called Dr. Michael Freeman, a Salem epidemiologist, as their first expert witness who attempted to use epidemiological studies to illustrate that men are more likely to drive Harleys than women. [The judge] ruled that such studies were inadmissible. Freeman additionally testified about head injuries similar to those sustained by [the decedent], who died of a basilar skull fracture, also known as a hinge fracture.’”

The Tribune also noted that in the two-hour defense closing argument, “the first hour of Arnold’s closing focused on several charts illustrating the science and facts in the case. He concluded after lunch with a dramatic description of the actions that [his client] took after the accident to attempt to save his fiancée…”

The Tribune went on to detail the attempts his client made to save the life of his fiancée: “[Arnold] described [his] desperation in collapsing at the bottom of the hill with [him] lying on the sharp rocks, cradling [his fiancée] in his arms. [Arnold’s client] and two jurors were seen with teary eyes during this portion of the defense closing.”

An Albany reporter noted that “Hancock’s chances, his odds, were significantly improved the moment he hired Michael Arnold….Michael Arnold and the Hancock trial, does show that some lawyers are just better.” (Public Defender Virtues: Does Money Buy Better Defense by Ronald Borst).


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(Trial photos by Ron Borst)

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