Hendrix Acquitted of Child Molestation After Two-Week Trial

YoloCourt-27

By Tiffany Yeh, Joanna Kwong, Abigail Soler and Courtney Lee

A Yolo County jury on Friday acquitted Edward Hendrix of child molestation, following a two-week trial punctuated by charges of racist posts by the alleged victim on Instagram and revelations of testimony that was admitted to be false.

After about an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury came to a not guilty verdict on the charge of lewd and lascivious conduct on a minor under 14 years old. The tension in the courtroom was palpable in the moments before the verdict was read. Upon hearing the words “not guilty,” the deputy public defender and Mr. Hendrix hugged in celebration.

Later, Mr. Hendrix’s hand was covering his mouth, as he appeared overwhelmed by emotion. He looked to be tearing up almost, possibly in gratitude and relief that this ordeal was over.

In addition, the defense is filing a motion for prosecutorial misconduct, about a violation of the in limine motion about the mention of the defendant’s prior name when he was younger, which was associated with a burglary crime. The name had been agreed upon by both sides not to be mentioned during the trial, but the prosecution did mention the name during trial.

The hearing on the possible prosecutorial misconduct by Deputy DA Michelle Serafin will be on February 4.

Last Witness and the People’s Closing Statements

By Joanna Kwong

Shanna Bly, Yolo County Public Defender’s Investigator, resumed her witness testimony Friday morning. The People questioned Bly on the Instagram accounts she looked at. Bly was able to see only the alleged victim’s posts because her other friends’ accounts were all set to private.

The prosecution also asked Bly if she has a bias toward the defense in this case. She responded by stating that she is not an independent investigator. She finds evidence to exonerate Mr. Hendrix, but she also looks for evidence that is applicable to the whole case.

Bly mentioned she interviewed 15-16 people, and she hand wrote all her notes. She did not feel like a recording would have been necessary or made her notes any more accurate than what she noted.

The People questioned Bly on the investigative drive she did with a dash cam from the school to the defendant’s house. Bly reported she did this drive during the day before lunch time. Ms. Serafin questioned why she did not do this investigative drive after a football game, which would have been more accurate for how the drive would have been the day the alleged incident occurred. Bly simply stated that there were no football games during this time of year, and she was only just recently asked to make this recording.

The defense then questioned Bly on some of the questions brought up by the prosecution, such as bias, the investigative drive, and witnesses she interviewed.

Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson continued to ask Bly more about her investigative work after the interviews took place. Bly mentioned she went to Woodland High School to figure out how many black and bi-racial kids attended the school; she saw that there were 11 total students in the whole school who matched the criteria.

There were no further witnesses and evidence. Judge Reed then proceeded to read the jury instructions.

Ms. Serafin began her closing arguments by mentioning that sexual assault of children is not always planned out. It is often a crime of opportunity, when no one else is around. She stated that on October 10, 2014, the defendant seized his opportunity when he found himself alone with a cute 12-year-old cheerleader.

Ms. Serafin continued to argue that these cases happen in private, and the only people who saw it would be the victim of the sexual assault and the perpetrator. Thus, she stressed CALCRIM Jury Instruction No. 1190, which states that a conviction of a sexual assault may be based on the testimony of the complaining witness alone. A guilty verdict in this case could be based on the alleged victim’s testimony alone.

Also, the People’s closing argument stressed that the jury should think back to remember the impression they had of “Sam,” the alleged victim. She asked if Sam seemed like a conniving teenager. Sam testified for three days, and every little mistake she made was scrutinized under a telescope and highlighted by the defense.

Ms. Serafin told the jury they should acknowledge that Sam admitted she was dishonest with some things, but this does not mean they should disregard her whole testimony. Serafin then mentioned Jury Instruction No. 226, which states that if you decide a witness deliberately lied, you can accept the parts you believe to be true and reject the ones you believe to be lies.

Also, the People argued that Sam would have made more serious claims if she fabricated this whole incident to get attention.

Serafin ended her closing argument by mentioning that Sam may have been unclear on “peripheral details,” but the core details of what happened in this case have remained unchanged.

Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson’s Closing Statement

By Abigail Soler

Dan Hutchinson greeted the jury and informed them he would begin by telling a story.

His story described a young white girl, raised by a single living parent and longing for attention. Hutchinson continued to paint a picture of a young girl who had an upbringing of ignorance, with stereotypical, prejudiced views toward black people.

The girl in the story persists to accuse a black man of a sexual crime because she is afraid of the consequences that come from admitting the truth. The case goes to trial, and the jury is made up of twelve white men.

Throughout the case, there is no reason for the jury to believe the young girl, because it is clear that she is lying.

It was not until this point in Hutchinson’s statement that he spoke to the jury. He said to them, “I bet you all believed I was talking about this case,” up until he began talking about the jury being all white.

Hutchinson revealed that the story he was telling was the story of Tom Robinson, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Hutchinson compared Mr. Hendrix to Tom Robinson, while saying about himself that he was no Atticus Finch, referring to the eloquent closing argument by the book’s attorney.

Hutchinson stated that Harper Lee’s novel is similar to this case, yet he identified differences in the two cases. Mr. Hendrix’s case, according to Hutchinson, is made up of a very “diverse, intelligent group” of 14 jurors and alternates.

Hutchinson decided to quote the beginning of Atticus Finch’s closing statement. The quote he read pointed out to the jury the lack of physical evidence, and the incredibility of the witness’ statement. Ultimately, this meant the verdict is not difficult.

From here, Hutchinson decided to direct attention to the Hendrix case. He iterated to the jury that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. To break this down in a unique manner, he used football analogies, presenting the idea of the ball being near the goal. For reasonable doubt to occur, the ball needs to move one yard over the goal line. Hutchinson asked, which witness provided by the prosecution moves “the ball” one yard over?

Hutchinson began to list each of the witnesses, from both sides, and explained why no one person’s testimony adds proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that this man is guilty. He specifically noted the two girls who cried on the witness stand. Hutchinson explained that they did not cry when talking about the alleged molestation or any other events. The girls cried when they were caught in a lie.

There were many other examples of other witnesses’ testimonies that Hutchinson mentioned, none of which he believed were adequate prove Mr. Hendrix guilty.

Hutchinson addressed the amount of lies that the alleged witness was caught in throughout the whole trial. He separated the lies into three categories and read down a list. Hutchinson read over 20 instances where the alleged victim lied about something she did or did not say. The lies were proved with contradictory evidence from previous statements, phone records, or other witness testimony.

During the trial, Hutchinson asked the alleged victim how we are supposed to know when she is lying. Her response was, “Trust me, you’ve caught me in all the lies.”

Hutchinson read the jury instruction regarding witness testimony, No. 226. It refers to a witness intentionally lying, and if that is determined, then the jury should consider not believing anything that person has to say.

Continuing with his statement, Hutchinson raised a red flag concerning the two girls who cried on the stand and the particular lies they told, alongside the missing evidence of phone records and text messages between the two girls.

Conclusion of Defense’s Closing Argument

By Courtney Lee

With the sexual molestation case involving defendant Edward D. Hendrix coming to a close, Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson got his final chance at swaying the jury.

Hutchinson pulled up a document with the exact times that calls and texts were sent and received by Hendrix, Ms. S (the cheer coach), Sam (the alleged victim), and Jen (one of Sam’s friends).

He produced this information in order to show the jury the time frame in which the alleged molestation had occurred. He emphasized that there was a mere three-minute window in which the alleged crime could have taken place.

Hutchinson then asked why Sam did not tell anyone what had happened to her. She contacted Jen and told her about the alleged incident, yet she did not accept Jen’s offer to pick her up. In fact, she did not ask anyone to help her out of the situation, which Hutchinson decided was very odd.

Hutchinson believes that Sam had been influenced by the media and other sources to associate black men with an extreme lust for white women. He referenced the movie White Chicks again, as he had during testimony, and spoke of the portrayal of white women as being irresistible to black men.

Hutchinson did not believe that there was a clear motive that would compel Hendrix to cause harm to Sam. He argued that the only reason Sam thought Hendrix had ulterior motives around her was her idea that black men can not keep their hands off of white women.

Hutchinson also spoke about how committed Hendrix was to his fiancée, explaining that there is no way Hendrix would jeopardize his relationship.

Hutchinson referenced Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin’s opening statement, in which she referred to Sam as an “attractive female.” This angered Hutchinson because, when he looked at Sam, all he could see was a little girl. He repeatedly shouted about how she was just a little girl, and how it was inappropriate to call her anything other than that. He then stated that Hendrix only liked women and not little girls.

Hutchinson ended his argument by addressing the belief that children do not lie. He said that this idea is completely untrue, and told a story about himself in the 6th grade.

A friend of his at camp accused a counselor he believed to be weird of looking at the young boys in the shower. When questioned about whether or not the counselor was being inappropriate, Hutchinson lied for no reason other than he could. He seconded his friend’s story and even added his own portion about the counselor making crude comments. He used this example in order to disprove the notion that children would not lie about something like this.

Once again, To Kill a Mockingbird was referenced, and Hutchinson asked the jury to think about what happened to Tom Robinson, telling them to make this case different.

Prosecution’s Rebuttal Argument and Jury’s Verdict

By Tiffany Yeh

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin began her closing rebuttal statement after a theatrical and spirited closing argument from Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson. Serafin’s rebuttal attempted to clear what she said was the “fog” that the defense brought, the “fog” that hid the truth.

The highlight was when DDA Serafin allowed everyone in the courtroom to understand what a silent five minutes felt like, as she put her phone timer on. The attempt was to convince the jurors that, yes, the defendant could have done the stated acts in the testimony in five minutes. Nevertheless, as jurors spaced out and waited for the five minutes to pass, it was unclear whether the prosecution ended up annoying the jurors or teaching them a valuable lesson about how long five minutes can be.

Serafin began by denouncing Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as a work of fiction. She said that the parallels Hutchinson drew to the book in his closing argument must have had some effect, to warrant such a mention from the prosecution at the beginning of her rebuttal.

She described the defendant as “not physically incapable,” unlike Tom Robinson. She also pointed out that the alleged victim in this case, “Sam,” is not the character of Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Furthermore, Sam would have no motive to lie. Serafin described Sam as liking cheerleading and her coach, but Sam reluctantly quit cheerleading later on. She had never met or seen the defendant before. Where’s the motive?

She attempted to restore the fragments of the alleged victim’s reputation and tried to make her seem likeable, or at least tolerable.

Sam was a “quiet girl,” not comfortable with attention. She took one of the coaches aside when telling them about the alleged sexual assault by another coach’s fiancé. This, according to DDA Serafin, was one example in which Sam was not an attention-craving girl. She had not burst into tears in front of all the girls on the cheerleading team at the football game and had not fainted.

Sam had not posted on social media about what had happened. DDA Serafin continued, saying that Sam didn’t like talking about what happened and pointed this out as an indication that she was not in it for attention

However, DPD Hutchinson had earlier described Sam as telling many of her fellow cheerleaders, except for the daughter of a cheerleading coach, about the alleged sexual assault. He mentioned that Sam had even told one of the cheerleading girls that the defendant had raped her.

The quest to try to present this girl as an innocent 12-year-old, at the time, continued with an analysis of Sam’s parents.

Sam’s parents went through hard times. Who hasn’t? Also, “they don’t have time for lying” and no energy to lie either, and are hardworking people who have made mistakes before.

DDA Serafin stressed that there was no evidence behind the defense’s theories about Sam being a racist, lying, attention-hungry girl or that Sam’s mom tried to paint the defendant as on methamphetamine the day of the alleged sexual assault.

The lies Sam told were passed off as due to these being “events over a year ago.” The 26 lies the defense alleges Sam told were described to be characterization of lies. She expressed Sam’s lies as honest mis-recollections and due to the fallacies of memory.

Serafin’s best rebuttal to the discrepancy in the timeline of events was to show people how long five minutes felt. These 300 seconds were passed in silence.

But it still perhaps seemed unconvincing to courtroom observers that five minutes is a long enough time for the defendant to head from the living room to his room, do something there—either do meth or change his clothes, depending on whom you believe, then go to the kitchen and take a shot, ask Sam questions, hug her, kiss her on the cheek, touch her buttocks, and then go back to his room.

Serafin portrayed the defense as intentionally ramming the subject of race into the trial. She went on to attempt to fend off the claim that Sam is a racist, with racist parents and friends.

“Stupid jokes” were what the prosecution described Sam’s use of the n-word to be. DDA Serafin did denounce Sam’s use of the word, but largely passed it off as due to her young age, amounting to a declaration that it’s “common for teens these years.”

Sam’s references to black people as “n—’s” in conversations with friends was no big deal, Serafin stated. The prosecution’s argument is that race did not factor into any of this.

There was some difference between Sam’s MDIC (Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center) interview and her testimony in court, pointedly in whether the defendant wore a shirt or not during the alleged sexual assault. Serafin told the jurors that the MDIC interview was part of evidence and could be considered—that account was that the defendant had a shirt on, then assaulted her, and then came out of the room without a shirt. During her testimony, Sam recalled the defendant not having a shirt on when sexually assaulting her.

Verdict

As stated above, after about an hour and a half of deliberations, the jury came to a not guilty verdict on the charge of lewd and lascivious conduct on a minor under 14 years old. The courtroom was quiet until the verdict was read, and upon hearing the words “not guilty,” Mr. Hendrix and his attorney hugged. Mr. Hendrix later appeared to be overcome with emotion, relief and gratitude.

Again, the defense is filing a motion claiming prosecutorial misconduct, and it is surmised that this is in regard to the mention of a name used by defendant when he was younger, which was associated with a burglary crime. The name had been agreed upon by both sides to not be mentioned during the trial, but the prosecution mentioned the name during trial, stating that it was to see if the witness really knew the defendant.

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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45 Comments

    1. Biddlin

      “I’m sadder for Mr. Hendrix, who has had his reputation marred by an overzealous,  incompetent D.A.”

      Yeah, although adults are better equipped to deal with and overcome those superficial wounds than adolescents. Here is a case where someone needs to intervene in the family culture that has produced Sam, before she falls further into a culture of deception and false pride, but there is no protocol for that intervention, until too great a harm has already been inflicted.

      1. sisterhood

        Well said.

        I believe there should be a permanent registry of false accusers. I know of two men in Seattle who were both falsely accused by the same woman, on separate occasions.  They enlisted friends to make comments on her social media and online dating pages, until eventually she moved somewhere else. I believe they also reported her to match.com,but they wouldn’t do anything. I wonder if a convicted rapist is reported to match.com, if they would react the same way?

        1. hpierce

          Agreed…  for two reasons… to protect the innocent from spurious charges, and to identify those who may need mental health intervention, or in failure of that, to face criminal/civil charges.

      1. hpierce

        ok… may have not understood… in felony cases, thought it had to be 12-0 for conviction, but 5-7 for conviction was acquittal… thank you for the clarification…

        1. David Greenwald

          To be honest, a lot of people agree that’s how it should be. After all isn’t 7 jurors voting for not guilty evidence of reasonable doubt? But it’s not the way it works.

  1. davis.observer

    It was unanimous. It has to be. But that doesn’t mean that the defendant was falsely accused–just that there was reasonable doubt. And after reading comments on previous articles about this case, I have to say that Hutchinson’s references to To Kill a Mockingbird did not help–they were overwrought and irrelevant to the case. His constant harping on the disgusting social media posts did not help, either–there was no nexus to the case. His bombast was almost detrimental. In the end, there were inconsistencies in the testimony, and what appeared to be insufficient police work.

  2. Tia Will

    davis.observer

    I have a different perspective. However, in interest of complete disclosure, I have only what I read on the Vanguard as my source of information. I was not in the courtroom for any of the case and thus cannot speak to whether or not the references to “To Kill a Mockingbird” were “overwrought” or whether he “harped on ” the social media posts, or merely brought them up repeatedly to establish the background from which the accuser may have been basing her interpretation and recounting of events.

    I do not agree that a reference to a racially biased jury in the fictional work of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is irrelevant. I think that there is a great deal of relevance in pointing out that accusations and sometimes convictions can be based on bias. I think that this is especially relevant in a case where there is no physical or corroborating testimony, but which rather rests entirely on the testimony of a clearly racially biased accuser.

    I agree that reliance on such theatrics is undesirable. However, it may well be necessary in our current judicial system and is largely tolerated when it is done by the prosecution when they rely on lurid details and the drama of presenting shocking graphic depictions to play into a juries natural horror of the depiction of “heinous” crimes rather than focusing on whether or not the defendant was the actual perpetrator of the crime. I would argue for a change from our current adversarial system to one in which there is a neutral presenter of fact and a neutral questioner of any witnesses as a superior way of presenting evidence to juries rather than relying on who can present “the best story” to the jury.

    1. davis.observer

      My point is that there was never a connection between the allegation and a racial motivation on the accuser’s part. Hutchinson tried to establish one ex post facto, but the racial remarks from the accuser were references to a movie and a TV show, not original thoughts of the accuser. They were separated from the incident by months, and participated in by another teen who had no connection to the alleged incident.

      1. David Greenwald

        Thanks for posting davis.observer.  Prior to the start of jury selection, the issue as to whether the Instagram communication would be admissible.  If the judge believed they were completely irrelevant, he would have ruled them inadmissible.  But given that this case was always going to hinge on the credibility of the alleged victim, the judge allowed them in.  Just an FYI on that.

      2. Tia Will

        davis.observer

        I appreciate your perspective. Were you in the courtroom or do you have additional information other than what was posted on the Vanguard ?  It would seem to me that derogatory references to an individual of another race, especially those referencing perceived differences in sexual organs and/or sexual preferences along racial lines would be highly relevant when there is no corroborating witness and no evidence. But again, I stress that my knowledge is limited to that provided on the Vanguard.

          1. David Greenwald

            Out of curiosity did you believe the defendant factually innocent or that there was simply reasonable doubt?

    1. Courtroom Observer

      I was not on the jury, but I did have the opportunity to watch the closing argument and speak to two jurors after the verdict. I was told that at the end of deliberations, 9 jurors believed in Mr. Hendrix’s actual innocense and 3 found reasonable doubt. One juror ( No 4) held out for guilt without offering any logical explanation. Davis Observer, based on your statements I am guessing you are No. 4,  but my second guess is No. 11. Which one are you?

  3. davis.observer

    The take you got from the jurors does not jibe with the way I recall. The overall issue was reasonable doubt. Initially there were three groups–not guilty, uncertain, and guilty. With those not committed to not guilty at first, I think it was a matter of reviewing the evidence and challenging assumptions–there were just too many obstacles to get past to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No one wanted to get this wrong. Everyone took it very seriously.

    1. Courtroom Observer

      That jibes with what I was told. The initial vote was 7 not guilty, 2 guilty, and 3 undecided ( including No. 11). Of course, given  the presumption of innocence, an undecided vote is actually not guilty. I was told that one of the guilty votes changed to not guilty within 5 minutes, but No 4 held out for guilt without offering any explanation. Juror no. 4 kept wanting to know what Mr. Hendrix’s criminal record was even though there was no evidence he had a criminal record. Two of the initial undecided ultimately became convinced of Mr. Hendrix’s actual innocence, while No. 11 remained reasonable doubt the entire time.  Finally, no 4 gave in and conceded there was reasonable doubt. So once again, Davis Observer, are you No 4, No. 11, or someone else.

        1. Courtroom Observer

          I am not asking Davis Observer to reveal his or her identity.  However, Davis Observer appears to be suggesting that the jury did not believe Mr. Hendrix was factually innocent, when I was told by another that is exactly what 9 of them believed.  In other words, it appears  Davis Observer is trying to suggest that Mr. Hendrix is actually guilty, and got off on some sort of technicality.  But from what I know about jury trials, a  not guilty verdict in a child molestation trial after only 1 hour and 15 minutes of deliberation is very rare.

          Thus, I just want to know if Davis Observer was the lone holdout for guilt who could no offer an explanation why  (No. 4), or a juror who reasonable doubt the entire time (No. 11).  It’s just a matter of bias.

          If Davis Observer purports to speak for the entire jury, it’s important to know where his or her vote initially stood in relation to the other jurors.

          1. Don Shor

            [moderator] Neither you nor Davis Observer are under any obligation to reveal anything about your or his or her identity or participation in the trial.

      1. sisterhood

        “Juror no. 4 kept wanting to know what Mr. Hendrix’s criminal record was even though there was no evidence he had a criminal record.”

        I’d really like to hear what Davis Progressive has to say about this. So the juror wants to discuss stuff that was not even confirmed in the courtroom. I thought the jury was only supposed to consider the evidence presented at the trial? I’ve been on two juries and that’s the way I remember it.

  4. Tia Will

    davis.observer

    No one wanted to get this wrong. Everyone took it very seriously.”

    I am very happy to hear this. Too often we hear second hand stories of jurors just wanting to get home as opposed to doing due diligence in considering the information presented. Although the deliberation was relatively brief, I am pleased to hear that people seem to have taken their duty seriously.

  5. Barack Palin

    Thank you to the actual juror that posted on here.  I can agree that acquittal was the correct verdict as there was obviously reasonable doubt.  But to all those who are accusing this 12 year old girl of lying about the actual charges need to now back off because there’s no way to know for sure that this incident never occurred as a juror has shared with us.

    As davis.observer stated:

    that doesn’t mean that the defendant was falsely accused–just that there was reasonable doubt

    1. sisterhood

      “…But to all those who are accusing this 12 year old girl of lying about the actual charges need to now back off because there’s no way to know for sure that this incident never occurred…”

      A twelve year old who uses the N word and makes jokes about African American men and their genitalia. Not exactly an innocent little girl, BP. You should be equally concerned that an innocent man has had his reputation permanently marred.

      God forbid you are ever wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit. Even after the jury found this poor man not guilty, you still have the nerve to say “there’s no way to know for sure”. God forbid you are ever in his shoes, BP. (Wonder if you would have said the same thing if a white man was found not guilty. I doubt it, from the other posts you have written here, on the subject of race…)

      1. Barack Palin

        First off I stated that I too would’ve acquitted the defendant if I were on the jury.  But no one except for the defendant and the 12 year old girl knows what happened between the two of them that night.  You don’t know either but you can speculate.  I seem to remember a case about a guy named OJ where he got off largely because one of the investigators used the N word but any person with a few brain cells knows that OJ killed his wife.

        (Wonder if you would have said the same thing if a white man was found not guilty. I doubt it, from the other posts you have written here, on the subject of race…)

        You’re wrong.  I don’t judge people by the color of their skin.  I judge them as a person.

        1. David Greenwald

          “I seem to remember a case about a guy named OJ where he got off largely because one of the investigators used the N word but any person with a few brain cells knows that OJ killed his wife.”

          And the reason we know is that there was mountains of evidence that substantiated the complaint in that case, but no evidence in this case.

        2. Barack Palin

          I agree David, and that’s why the acquittal was the right verdict.  There was enough doubt not to convict.  But David, how do you know for certain what happened that night?  Only two people know for sure and it’s not any of us.

          1. David Greenwald

            I don’t know for certain. But I have a belief that this was a story that started as a joke and spun out of control.

    2. Tia Will

      BP

      But to all those who are accusing this 12 year old girl of lying about the actual charges need to now back off because there’s no way to know for sure that this incident never occurred as a juror has shared with us.”

      And this, to me, is exactly the kind of reasoning that will perpetuate the destruction of this man’s reputation. If his neighbors, and church members, and employers and fellow employees, and possibly even his close family members always wonder because “there’s no way to know for sure” then his life will be destroyed as surely as if he were convicted. Where then is “innocent until proven guilty” ?  Do  you not believe in that principle ?

      who are accusing this 12 year old girl of lying about the actual charges”

      As for those who are “accusing”. No one has to accuse. She admitted to lying, and lying under oath. This is an established fact. Why would anyone be willing to entertain the truth of other uncorroborated and unsubstantiated statements when she is known  (not just suspected ) to lie ?

  6. Tia Will

    BP

    that doesn’t mean that the defendant was falsely accused–just that there was reasonable doubt”

    Which again would seem to leave us with a disbelief in one of the major tenets of our judicial system, that the accused in innocent until proven guilty.  I do not see how one can have faith in our judicial system while seemingly discarding this basic principle.

  7. Courtroom Observer

    Based on the tone Davis Observer’s comments, and the crickets I heard response  to my request that he or she reveal his or her Juror No., it is probably safe to assume that Davis Observer was the lone holdout for guilt.

    That does not make Davis Observer’s opinion irrelevant, but I would suggest taking it with a grain of salt.  It appears that other 11 jurors (and certainly 9 of them)  had a very different view of the evidence than Davis Observer.  Of the two jurors I spoke to, they clearly believed Mr. Hendrix was factually innocent and felt terrible about what had been done to him.

    The fact is, a 1 hour and 15 minute acquittal after a 2 week jury trial is extremely rare, and it appears that the not guilty verdict would have been even quicker had there not been the lone holdout for guilt.  Based on the evidence I saw, there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Hendrix is innocent.

    Despite the so-called presumption of innocence, Mr. Hendrix was presumed guilty from day one.  My God, the police did not even take the time to speak with him before the they arrested him, despite his offer of full cooperation and offer to take a lie detector test.  Nobody even gave him a chance to tell his side of the story.  Now that a jury has acquitted him, I think it’s about time that we all start presuming him to be innocent.  Better late than never.

     

    1. davis.observer

      Hi. The crickets were because I ad other things to do. I was not the lone holdout for guilt. I had a lot of reasonable doubt early on, and it never went away.

      I never claimed to speak for the whole jury, but people voting not guilty is not the same as voting for factual innocence. The deliberations indicated that many if not all were uncertain as to what actually happened. And I would say that those who first said they were uncertain were not voting not guilty because of the presumption of innocence–they were indicating that until they considered the evidence some more, they had not made up their minds. By the way, Courtroom Observer, you sound like the foreperson.

      1. Courtroom Observer

        If you read my earlier comment, you would have seen  I was not on the jury. I have never served on a jury, but I did observe the Hendrix closing arguments. I am just interested in what Juror No you were. I was told Juror No 4 had reasonable doubt after the first week, but changed after Tuesday and Wednesday after the second week with no explanation. That sounds like you, or you could be No 11, who was reasonable doubt the entire time. Why won’t you reveal your number?

        1. hpierce

          A better question is, why do you persist?

          How would anyone know that Juror 4 had reasonable doubt days before it went to the jury?  That smells “funny”… the jurors were not supposed to be discussing the case with ANYONE before the matter was submitted to them… perhaps this should be a mistrial, unless you are speculating or lying.  [oh, gee, we had someone who admitted that during the trial…]

  8. Tia Will

    These are truly ignorance based question since I am not at all familiar with police investigations .  Is it common for prosecutors to not investigate the defendants side of the story when it is offered ? Is it common for a defendant to offer full cooperation including a lie detector test ? Is it usual to proceed without gathering additional information as was presented in a previous article on the Vanguard with the prosecutor making the statement that further investigation was not her usual procedure ?

    1. Courtroom Observer

      Based on my experience, here is my take on your questions.

      No, prosecutors have an ethical duty not to proceed to trial unless they believe they can prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.  Thus, any good prosecutor will investigate both sides. There are many, many good prosecutors in Yolo County.

      No, guilty people sometimes cooperate with police, but almost never offer to take a lie detector test (They do not want the police to know they are lying.)  Innocent people, on the other hand, commonly offer to take a lie detector test to clear their name.  Although the results of the lie detector test are not admissible in court, police commonly use them as a investigative tool to rule out a suspect during an investigation.

      I believe it was the detective, Maribel Cortes, who testified it was not her usual procedure to speak to a defendant before making the decision to arrest him.  This IS NOT usual procedure.  There are times when evidence of guilt is so overwhelming that police will arrest a suspect before speaking to him or her.  There is also times when police cannot locate a suspect, and thus will request a warrant before they have spoken to him or her.  But most police detectives are thorough professionals who investigate both sides of the story before making an arrest.

  9. Tia Will

    Courtroom Observer

    Thank you for getting back with me and particularly for correcting me on who had made the statement with regard to her usual procedures.

  10. Tia Will

    My perspective on and wishes for a “just” outcome for all involved.

    For Mr. Hendrix, may your life be free from clouds of doubt from all that you encounter. You have been found “not guilty” and it is my sincere hope that all who know you or will know you accept this as true innocence and treat you exactly as they would have prior to this accusation.

    For Mr. Hendrix girlfriend and family members, may your lives be free of doubt, whether your own, or those of others.

    For Sam, may you appreciate and accept that lies destroy lives. While it may be the lives of others that are destroyed, once detected, a lie is very likely to cast a long shadow of distrust over your own life. Honesty in all interactions, and a life free of bias and hatred are the best strategy for building a positive life for ones self as well as others. Fortunately, you are young enough to have the opportunity to make better choices in the future than you have demonstrated in this case.

    For the investigator and prosecution, may you learn to take a broader view of “justice” to include a full consideration of all possibilities rather than just those that support your preferred,  predetermined outcome.

     

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