Malicious Wounding Case Dismissed Where Injured Victim “Blacked Out”

James Hines was convicted of malicious wounding after his girlfriend was hospitalized with broken teeth, a broken jaw, a broken eye socket, and facial bruising, swelling, a bloody nose and mouth after a dispute between the two.  The Court of Appeals reversed the decision and dismissed the case.

Hines was visiting his girlfriend on her birthday at her hotel room.  They were drinking alcohol and the girlfriend left for some more.  When she returned, she saw Hines speaking with a female neighbor she didn’t like.  Hines and his girlfriend began arguing and he threw and broke a beer bottle against the wall.  The girlfriend then blacked out.

In this case, the girlfriend never testified that Hines had hit her, attempted to hit her, or even
threatened to hit her. She sustained her injuries after she passed out, not before, and did not
know how or when she received her injuries, how she ended up on the first floor of the hotel, or
how much time had transpired between her passing out (sometime during the afternoon or
evening hours of March 30) and being found by the police (around 4:20 a.m. on March 31).  The evidence was insufficient to find Hines guilty of malicious wounding beyond a reasonable doubt and the conviction was reversed and the case dismissed.

The case was Hines v. Commonwealth, No. 0514-12-02 (Jan. 8, 2013).