Aggressive Defense of Civil Case Leads to Dismissal of Criminal Charges Against Developmentally Disabled Woman

Smith Law Offices, LLP recently defended a client being sued by a family that had been providing in-home mentoring services to a developmentally disabled woman under California’s Lanterman Act. The family’s lawsuit alleged the disabled woman tried to poison one family member, as well as a friend and a dog, so she could have the mother all to herself. The family also alleged my client should have been aware of the risks posed and that the woman would attempt to harm them. The disabled woman was arrested and charged with attempted murder following a so-called “confession.”

During discovery, evidence was uncovered suggesting the alleged poisoning may not have occurred. Part of the basis for the claim was the allegation the disabled woman had confessed to attempting to poison the family members. The family claimed this confession had been heard by other witnesses. However, these witnesses revealed this confession was not voluntarily given, and appeared to have been coerced. Witnesses described the confession as “contrived” and as though it “felt like an inquisition.” All witnesses doubted the sincerity of the confession, stating the woman, after initially denying any wrongdoing, eventually caved under pressure by the family member to confess to something the witnesses did not believe had occurred.

Working closely with the disabled woman’s criminal defense attorney, lawyers in the criminal case were provided with the deposition transcripts of the witnesses and police, as well as other evidence we uncovered tending to exonerate her. Upon reviewing the evidence provided, the prosecuting attorney recommended to the Court that all charges against the woman be dismissed. The Court agreed and dismissed the charges in the furtherance of justice. Justice was served for this disabled woman through aggressive civil discovery that uncovered the truth.