The Client: Nicole Goodmom*
The Charges: Theft
The Result: Case Dismissed!
The Allegation: Nicole Goodmom was a hardworking mother of several small children. All
day long she was bombarded with questions, toys, tears and screams. However,
one day a week she had a couple hours of peace. Every Saturday morning,
Nicole went to the grocery store, all alone, and got a chance to breath.
Nicole surely loved her family, but she needed the change of pace and
scenery. While shopping alone, Nicole could lose herself in her thoughts,
exploring them to completion. While shopping alone, Nicole could walk
silently and aimlessly down every isle, enjoying the order of the shelves
that she did not have time to appreciate while shopping with her kids.
While shopping alone, Nicole enjoyed making decisions without a child
interrupting her thoughts; she relished the ease of deciding what to put
in the cart without an audience of toddlers voicing their own opinions.
Shopping alone gave Nicole a feeling of control she was missing the rest
of the week. The store was her oasis. Unfortunately, this relative paradise
turned into a real-life nightmare when she was accused of theft. After
a blissfully quite morning of shopping, Nicole used the self-checkout
kiosk to complete her purchase. Unfortunately, two small produce items
did not scan properly, and when Nicole attempted to leave the store she
was aggressively confronted by the store’s loss prevention officer.
Nicole apologized for the misunderstanding and offered to pay for the
“stolen” goods, but the loss prevention officer chose to file
charges over $5 worth of produce. Nicole ended up being charged with Theft,
a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Why We Won: Nicole is the kind of person who would never have a run-in with the law.
She always drives the speed limit, never jaywalks, and never takes more
than one free sample. Up to that morning, Nicole had never had an accusatory
finger pointed in her direction, so when she was unfairly accused of a
crime it turned her world upside down. The case took a toll on her emotional
and physical health. She would lay awake at night worrying about what
would happen to her; she lost her appetite; she was petrified of the emotional
toll of going to trial. She couldn’t understand how a mere accusation
could result in risk to her reputation and freedom. That’s when
Nicole made the decision to take control of her fate by hiring an attorney.
Here at The Law Office of Brian Jones we take the time to truly understand
our clients. We listen to their side of the story and offer emotional
support. For Nicole, like for many of our clients, it was a devastating
emotional shock to be treated with scorn and disdain by law enforcement
and prosecutors. We made it known that we believed in her innocence and
that we would do everything in our power to make the world believe it
too. With our client consoled, it was time to move on to what we do best,
investigation. We subpoenaed the grocery store for a video of incident,
but suspiciously, no video of Nicole’s checkout existed. Without
a store video it was Nicole’s word against the store’s and
we had common sense on our side. Why would an upstanding citizen buy a
sizeable amount of groceries, but then steal two inexpensive, inessential
items? Isn’t it equally as likely that the self-scanning register
malfunctioned? Who has not had an experience with a finicky machine that
freezes up and robotically shouts that “a customer service representative
has been notified to assist you”? The prosecutors dismissed the
case citing the lack of a store video, but in reality they knew that this
case was not going anywhere.
The Bottom Line: This case came down to sticking up for our client. Many attorneys will
look at a police officer and a loss prevention officer’s testimony
with complete trust. Many attorneys fail to understand the sanctity of
the government’s obligation to prove charges; the accused has nothing
to prove. Nicole did nothing wrong other than use a faulty machine, yet
she was treated with disrespect and disdain. We listened to her and helped
her regain her sense of self; then we went after the people that stole
her dignity (the only thing “stolen” in this case!)
In today’s society, you never know when you will be accused of a
crime you did not commit, let it be shoplifting or even worse. No matter
the accusation, you need someone in your corner who will stand up to police
bias and over aggressive prosecution. At The Law Office of Brian Jones,
LLC we don’t let anyone take advantage of our clients and that is
why Nicole Goodmom is free to enjoy her peaceful Saturday morning shopping trips.
*Names have been changed for privacy and humor.