Domestic Violence Case Wraps Up

By Jackie Snyder

The Jonathan Pryor trial continued on April 23, 2015. After the evidence portion of the trial was concluded, both Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays and Defense Attorney Justin Ward were allowed an opportunity to present closing arguments.

DDA Hays began closing arguments, stating there was no question that the victim had been brutally beaten, pistol whipped several times and stomped on by the defendant, Jonathan Pryor. Ms. Hays then went on to explain each charge as well as the elements that must be satisfied (in each charge) in order for the jury to return a guilty verdict on all four charges. She explained that each charge is separate and must be considered on its own.

After explaining the charges, DDA Hays stated to the jury how the individuals involved in this case may be different as well as live different types of lives than the average individual (referencing how each witness, excluding the doctors and police officers, were in custody for committing various crimes). Ms. Hays then stated that, regardless of whether a person is a criminal, domestic violence is never appropriate and the victim still deserved justice.

Ms. Hays made the statement that, in the beginning of the trial, she explained to the jury that the witnesses she planned to call may have testimony that is contradicting. Just as she expected, they (the witnesses) did have contradictory and inconsistent testimony. The victim claimed that two other individuals were present after the incident took place, however, both the individuals claimed otherwise. Ms. Hays made the claim that the two individuals were being dishonest and their actions and statements on the witness stand proved this.

Ms. Hays claimed that the defense wants the jury to believe that the victim is lying, essentially making the victim at fault. This, Ms. Hays claimed, is “victim blaming” and is discouraged.

In Mr. Ward’s closing argument he stated the case revolves around whether or not Pryor committed the acts for which he was being charged. Mr. Ward agreed with DDA Hays, claiming there is no disputing whether the victim was brutally beaten. He questioned, however, whether it had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pryor was responsible. Mr. Ward created a PowerPoint presentation to go along with his argument. The presentation went over the burden of proof. Mr. Ward stated the legal definition and gave examples of exactly what the standard of proof entails. In addition, the PowerPoint addressed the circumstantial evidence and sufficiency of evidence. Mr. Ward claimed that if an individual needs additional evidence to believe a charge, that would be considered doubt and any doubt must result in a not guilty verdict.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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