A Millington man accused of pushing a neighbor into a tree during an argument over deer hunting has been acquitted following a jury trial in Caro. He had been charged with assault and battery.
Patrick Hoffmeyer, 48, was hunting a neighbor’s property when another neighbor came onto the property. The second neighbor accused Hoffmeyer of “stealing his deer” by hunting on a deer path that led to his property, according to testimony. That argument became heated, and the neighbor claimed that Hoffmeyer pushed him into a tree, causing small scratches on his head. Hoffmeyer and his brother, who was nearby at the time, both testified that nobody had been pushed.
Hoffmeyer’s attorney, Steven Shelton of Shelton Legal Services in Fenton, told the jury that the prosecution was wasting taxpayer money on a case they couldn’t prove and that had no merit. “You’re going to spend about two minutes” deliberating, he said in his opening statement. He reiterated that in his closing argument, adding that a significant portion of that time would be spent “complaining that the prosecutor’s office is wasting your time and taxpayer money on a case they had no chance of proving from the start.”
There were tense moments during the trial. At one point, District Court Judge Kim Glaspie ordered jurors out of the courtroom to admonish Hoffmeyer for emotional outbursts. Shelton addressed the outbursts during closing arguments, telling the jury that the witness stand is a “very scary place to sit, especially if you have to walk to it from” the defense table.
“When you’ve been accused of something you didn’t do, the thing you want more than anything is to tell the people who are going to decide your fate what you think is important,” Shelton said. “And when the prosecutor keeps saying you can’t say what you need to say, the judge tells you that you can’t say what you need to say, and your own attorney is telling you you can’t say the things you think you need to say, you get desperate and you get emotional, and you get determined to say those things regardless of who tries to stop you. You certainly can’t hold that against him.”
The jury deliberated for less than ten minutes before returning with a “not guilty” verdict. Hoffmeyer smiled and hugged family members when the verdict was announced.
Steven Shelton is an attorney in private practice in Fenton, Michigan. Initial consultations are always free. To schedule an appointment, contact attorney Steven Shelton on-line or by telephone at 810-750-1420.