New York Jet’s Wide Receiver, Robby Anderson, is having a bad day. Anderson caught the attention of police early this morning while driving 105 mph in a 45 mph zone. The stop went sideways before Anderson pulled over on the side of the road.
According to the police report, Anderson stared at the officer as he drove by him on the side of the road. He then sped off and ran through two red lights. After pulling over, Anderson tried to get out of the car before putting it in park. Anderson then refused to answer any questions until he spoke with his lawyer.
Robby Anderson tried to prevent officers from placing him in the back of a patrol vehicle by tensing up, bracing, and refusing to get in the car. Finally, while driving to the station, Anderson threatened to sexually assault the officer’s wife. He said he would find the officer’s wife, “f–k her, and n– in her eye” when he gets out.
The episode resulted in a total of nine charges against Anderson. The most intriguing of which (and perhaps the most easily defensible) is the “harm public servant or family” charge.
What defense does Robby Anderson have?
The officer charged Anderson under Florida statute 838.021(3)(a). There are a couple of problems with this charge. I’ll discuss them each in turn.
First, and most obviously, the officer charged Anderson under the wrong subsection of this statute. Sub-section (3)(a) applies to defendants that actually harmed a public servant or their family member. This sub-section is a second-degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
The officer should have charged Anderson under subsection (3)(b). (3)(b) applies to defendants who threatened to harm a public servant or their family member. It is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison.
But pay no mind to that oversight. A judge will likely allow the prosecutor to amend the charge, so the right subsection applies.
The real meat of Robby Anderson’s defense comes down to a simple argument. Anderson’s attorney will argue that he didn’t intend to influence the officer’s decision to arrest him when making the threat.
To win this case, the State of Florida must show two things. The State must first show that Anderson threatened an officer or his family member. It can do this through officer testimony. This element is proven easily.
Second, the State must show that Anderson made the threats with the intention of influencing the officer’s decision-making process. Anderson is not quoted as saying, “I’ll find your wife, f–k her, and n– in her eye if you take me to jail.” The officer just says that Anderson threatened to find his wife and the rest of that stuff…
Good attorneys find discrepancies between testimony and reports
Finally, you might think it doesn’t matter what the officer wrote in his report as long as he says the right thing on the stand. But you’re wrong. A good defense attorney will use the difference between an officer’s report and testimony to show inconsistencies in the story.
It’s called impeachment. And, if done correctly, impeaching the officer’s testimony could be the difference between Anderson’s conviction or acquittal (on this charge only).