By Setarah Jahid
In Department 13 on April 9, 2018, the preliminary hearing commenced for Roger Allen Padilla. Mr. Padilla is being charged on three counts of domestic violence: two counts of inflicting corporal injury on the alleged victim, on June 21 and 22, 2017; and confining the victim against her will.
With Judge Paul K. Richardson presiding, the prosecuting attorney David Robbins called the first of two witnesses – the alleged victim of the domestic violence case, Padilla’s former girlfriend of two years.
On June 21, 2017, an argument broke out between the defendant and the victim. According to the her, Padilla wanted to take a bong, which both he and she smoked out of regularly, and smoke with another girl. The victim, being his girlfriend at the time, refused to let him take the bong, considering that cheating. She stated her rationale, “If (he is) going to cheat on me, (he can) do it without it (the bong).” She stormed out of his car and into her apartment in Davis, locking the door behind her. Shortly after, he began banging on the door and yelling for her to open it.
The victim also established that there were prior incidents of domestic violence in her relationship with Padilla, and they had especially escalated during the last six months of their two years together. For this reason, she stated, she was reluctant to open the door for Padilla.
Eventually, the victim opened the door, and Padilla headed immediately to the bedroom where the bong was kept. The victim attempted to block Padilla from heading to the room, which is the point when the physical violence began. Padilla knocked her to the ground, and also grabbed her and threw her against the wall “too many times to count.” The physical altercation continued for what seemed to be an hour according to the victim, and Padilla did end up in possession of the bong.
At the climax of the physical altercation, Padilla had allegedly straddled the victim with his legs, sitting on top of her, one hand on her neck to pin her down as opposed to choking her, with his other hand on her mouth to stifle her cries for help.
“I kept telling him I can’t breathe. He said yes I can, yes I can.”
On June 22, 2017, the following day, the victim and Padilla had made plans to smoke weed to relieve some of her pain from the bruising. When the victim arrived at Padilla’s house in Winters to drive him back to her apartment in Davis, he greeted her by saying that she had already upset him for not parking in the right place. An argument ensued, and he then backhanded the victim on multiple occasions on her mouth so she would shut up.
The second witness to take the stand was Lyssa Gomez, a police officer of the city of Davis for ten years. Officer Gomez had met with the victim June 23, 2017, a couple days after the main incident. She confirmed People’s Exhibits 1-9, with images of the bruising on the victim’s body used as evidence.
In cross-examination, Deputy Public Defender Stephen Betz asked Officer Gomez if she had formed an opinion that the alleged victim was a victim before speaking to Padilla, to which she responded yes. She then confirmed she had tried to contact Padilla as well, on multiple occasions, to receive his end of the story, but was not able to reach him.
In closing arguments, Mr. Betz claimed that Count 3, the second corporal injury charge, should not hold because it was not established that violence took place on June 22. Additionally, Betz argued that the testimony, although of course backed by the evidence of bruising, is somewhat weak because the alleged victim had her phone at all times during these physical acts of violence, but not once did she call the police. Betz also requested that this crime itself be reduced to a misdemeanor, seeing that Mr. Padilla has no prior criminal record.
Mr. Robbins, for the People, claimed that violence was established to have taken place June 22, and one of the photos shows a cut and discoloration on the lips of the victim from being repeatedly backhanded. He also rebutted the motion to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, stating that the nature of the case was not a misdemeanor, despite Padilla’s clean record.
Judge Richardson agreed as well, “The injuries are significant, this is not misdemeanor bruising…I will hold the defendant to answer on inflicting corporal injury.”
The arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, at 10 a.m.