Evidence Portion of Attempted Murder Trial Concludes

photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern
photo by Lauren King, Court Watch Intern

by Jackie Snyder

Witness testimony resumed on the morning of June 9, 2015, in People v. Adam Malik. Among the witnesses called were Dr. Bernard, who met with the defendant regarding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the defendant’s mother, who testified earlier in the trial.

Dr. Bernard testified that the defendant was diagnosed with PTSD in 2004-2005. When Dr. Bernard was asked if she ever reviewed school records or military discharge papers of the defendant as a means of confirming that he suffered from PTSD, she replied she had not. Dr. Bernard felt it was not necessary.

She testified that she had only met with the defendant on one occasion. She explained that she only met with the defendant to confirm a long-standing diagnosis of PTSD; had the defendant not been originally diagnosed, she may have required more visits to make a determination.

Dr. Bernard did not issue any additional test for PTSD because, once again, she was only confirming that the defendant did in fact suffer from PTSD.

When asked questions regarding PTSD and trauma, Dr. Bernard testified that trauma is processed through the senses and the very nature of trauma is stored in fragments. This results in memories lacking narrative.

Individuals who undergo trauma may not recollect the correct order of events when recalling an incident.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McHugh claimed that the defendant did not exhibit any behavioral issues while in custody. This could lead one to conclude the defendant did not suffer from PTSD.

Dr. Bernard explained that a person suffering from PTSD may not exhibit symptoms, at least recognizable by the average person, at all times. DDA McHugh asked several more questions about the defendant’s diagnosis of PTSD.

Dr. Bernard explained that the defendant had been diagnosed by the Veterans Administration. Various tests were conducted, resulting in the PTSD diagnosis for the suffering defendant.

Ms. McHugh asked Dr. Bernard whether the accuracy of the tests could be affected if the defendant had been dishonest with his answers. Dr. Bernard agreed it would impact the validity of the tests if the defendant were, in fact, dishonest.

The defendant’s mother was then briefly called to the witness stand as a rebuttal witness. Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt showed her a series of photographs, which she recognized as her son with scars on his body, resulting from a gunshot(s).

The jury was then excused for afternoon break and asked to return at 1:00pm. Once the jury left the courtroom Judge Richardson asked the defendant if he retained the right to remain silent.

The defendant felt that, if he made the decision to testify, his testimony would likely be erratic and he would lack control. He claimed this was due to not being able to sleep for the last four days. In addition, he stated that jail personal had been withholding his anxiety medication.

Mr. Van Zandt felt this may also become an issue during the testimony of Ms. McHugh’s rebuttal witness, the defendant’s ex-wife. Mr. Van Zandt felt there was no foundation for what the defendant’s ex-wife may testify to.

He felt the sole purpose of her testimony was to “smear the name of a combat veteran” and that she would be asked to testify about issues about which she had no personal knowledge.

Mr. Van Zandt felt that because the defendant was only recently notified that his ex-wife would be called as a witness he may be sensitive and be exhibiting PTSD symptoms, and the trial could essentially be derailed.

Judge Richardson made the decision to allow the testimony of the ex-wife. However, the judge said she could only testify as to what the defendant had “told her” about his service experience.

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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