What should have been a joyful reunion turned sour Wednesday night, when an 18-year-old Palm Springs man was arrested on assault charges after his 21-year-old brother in the Marines returned home for the first time in three years. It is hard to see a violent assault case such as this occur between two family members, but experienced criminal defense attorneys will recognize the importance for the defendant of ensuring proper legal counsel. Jaquez Devon Strange was released on his own recognizance Thursday by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Ted S. Booras. Strange has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and simple battery.
Strange remained quiet throughout his first hearing in Booras’ courtroom, but shook his head in disagreement when the judge suggested that his Marine brother should have “stomped him to the dirt”. This is precisely the style of courtroom demeanor that awaits most individuals who face such charges without a competent criminal defense attorney being present. As a Miami criminal defense lawyer, I understand that such charges are very serious and have the potential to result in jail time but I also, having seen this play out over and over, have a great deal of sympathy for people that find themselves in this situation. Everyone thinks that there is a “type” of person who ends up on the wrong side of the law when the truth is that all of us have within us the potential to make a bad decision—even one that has a violent end.
The official report, made by the Palm Springs police officer who first responded to the emergency call, describes the incident as evolving from an argument between the two brothers. A criminal defense attorney always recognizes that many assault charges spring from transitory emotions and are not indicative of “normal” behavior. The returning Marine, whose name is blacked out in the police report, reportedly arrived home at about 5:30 p.m. to surprise his family. Jaquez Strange told the responding officer that upon seeing his older brother he said “Hi” before returning upstairs to finish ironing his clothes. His brother was unsatisfied with the greeting and chased Strange upstairs, where they got into an argument. And that, unfortunately, is quite common—a simple exchange gone wrong.
The obligation of the criminal defense lawyer who takes on this individual as his or her client, is to secure their fair treatment under the legal system and to secure the best possible outcome.
Regrettably, as the argument escalated, Strange reportedly picked up a poker from next to the fireplace to use as a weapon. His older brother disarmed him, but the disagreement turned physical with each claiming the other struck first. In my years as a Miami criminal lawyer I have seen the type of destruction such a case as this can wreck at both the societal and familial level. The best possible outcome is for the defendant to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney who is adequately prepared to defend him.