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Finding normal after ‘not guilty’ verdict

Michael McGee | 6/4/2013, 7:49 p.m. | Updated on 3/15/2014, 1:01 a.m.
Reggie Ruffin Michael McGee

The Dallas Examiner

Attorney Kevin F. Kurtz likened the situation to lightning striking twice when he discussed the situation of his client, Oak Cliff resident Reggie Ruffin.

Ruffin, 45, was charged in 2009 and 2010 with violent felonies in Dallas County. He was found not guilty both times in separate jury trials. Ruffin thought that as a free man he would be officially cleared of the charges brought against him and able to go on about his life as normal.

But that was not the case as it turned out.

“The system as it is, is flawed,” Kurtz said. “And it’s flawed because there is no way the wrongfully accused can effectively get their lives back in order.”

Strike one

Ruffin’s current troubles started back in the summer of 2009, when he was going to Westwood College. He recalled that a friendship with a female student had gone sour. He stated that, on June 7, she came to his home with her 13-year-old son while he was getting dressed for work. Ruffins said he might have called the police at that time, but he was concerned they would not come soon enough.

“I need to deal with the immediate threat,” Ruffin told himself. “Then I’ll call the police. What’s the point of me calling the police, sitting there waiting on them, and I’m dealing with a problem here in front of the house?”

When the youth threatened him with a gun, Ruffin drew his shotgun. The woman and her son returned to their pickup truck, as Ruffin shot toward the back of the vehicle.

“I figured the best way to get my point across, that I’m not playing, was to let off a round,” he admitted. “The sound of that shotgun exploding – the cocking and glass exploding – would get my point across a lot better.”

It worked effectively, he noted. The child’s pistol was later revealed to be a paintball gun.

Ruffin immediately went on to work to tell his supervisor what had happened, and then called the police. He was told the woman had already called.

“I’m thinking, no big deal. All she’s doing is calling the police on herself,” he said.

But it was Ruffin who was arrested for deadly conduct and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Ruffin and Kurtz believe that the situation has been exacerbated by how law enforcement conducts such investigations. Kurtz asserted that the investigation was handled poorly.

“There was no follow through,” Kurtz continued. “There was no checking facts. They were convinced that what they had been told was the truth and Reggie was just trying to lie his way out of a situation.”

He was later found not guilty.

The second strike

Ruffin’s second felony arrest came on Halloween 2010 and involved a situation with a girlfriend he was living with at the time and her minor son. He described this relationship as troubled.

While she was out, her son and a little friend went to a nearby playground. The pair chased a 6-year-old neighbor with a rubber knife, a rubber gun and a real steak knife with red spray paint on the blade.