Jury Convicts Pedersen of Resisting

YoloCourt-27By Sophie Marconi

On July 19, 2016, at 2 pm in Department 14, the defense and prosecution began their closing arguments for the case of the People vs. Michael George Pedersen. Judge Rosenberg presided over the case, and, after addressing the jury, allowed the defense to begin closing statements.

As the defense presented a closing statement, the deputy public defender emphasized that the basis of the search Officer Jack Hatton, of the West Sacramento Police Department, conducted on the defendant was unwarranted. The defense stated that the defendant had done nothing illegal, and had simply been “bullied” by Officer Hatton without reason. He reminded the jury that Officer Hatton addressed the defendant because he was walking on the sidewalk and then stepped onto the street when the sidewalk ended, as he had no other choice.

The officer drove by and slowed his vehicle and asked the defendant to get back on the sidewalk. The defendant responded by flipping off the officer. The officer proceeded to pull over to the curb, get out of his vehicle, and conduct a “welfare check” on the defendant. When he began patting the defendant down, the defendant jerked away from the officer, got frightened, and ran away towards oncoming traffic. The defense argued that the officer had no right to search the defendant, as he had not committed a crime or given the officer reasonable suspicion.

The deputy public defender addressed the fact that the officer stated that he smelled marijuana on the defendant, and stated that, because there was never a blood test conducted in order to see if the defendant had been under the influence of marijuana, the officer was simply using this as an excuse to stop and search the defendant without a valid reason. He also argued that this so called welfare check that the officer conducted was nothing short of harassment, and the officer was “fishing.”

The defense reminded the jury that it is the People’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged crime. The defense argued that the defendant was arrested because he stood up for his rights.

The prosecution began its closing argument by stating the several allegations against the defendant. These allegations included resisting, delaying and/or obstructing an officer in the performance or attempted performance of his or her duties, resisting detainment, and running away from a police officer. The primary charge against the defendant was the resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer in the performance or attempted performance of his or her duties, under Penal Code section 148.

The deputy district attorney addressed the use of force in the incident. The witness, arresting Officer Hatton, used force while detaining Mr. Pedersen. The prosecution justified this use of force by stating that, when the officer was investigating the defendant for a crime, the defendant resisted detainment by not allowing the officer to search his person.

The prosecution also stated that the officer had reasonable suspicion to search the defendant because the defendant was wearing baggy clothing. The prosecution stated that the baggy clothing could insinuate that the defendant was carrying a weapon. The prosecutor emphasized that the officer used his best judgment when he decided to use force, justifiable by law.

The prosecution stated that the officer had no other means of action, given the context of the situation. The defendant chose not to comply when the officer detained him, in violation of PC section 148. The prosecution stated that the officer was simply trying to protect the defendant, and drivers who were at risk of hitting the defendant.

On July 20, at approximately 1:30 pm, the jury reached a verdict. Michael George Pedersen was convicted of resisting, delaying, and/or obstructing an officer in the performance or attempted performance of his or her duties. He was put on probation for 12 months and was fined $286.

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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  1. The Pugilist

    This is very troubling.  The officer approaches the guy, he has committed no offense, he is presumably free to go and not detained and yet he gets charged and now convicted of resisting arrest.  This gets to heart of the BLM issue (in this case “B” meaning not literally “black”) and problems that people of color have with the police.

  2. Tia Will

    So now wearing “baggy clothing” and asserting that you thought you smelled marijuana are enough to detain an individual on the street ?  I suppose that having been “flipped off” had nothing at all to do with the officer’s mind set. Especially when in is own words ” he was more concerned with compliance” than finding out anything about the cause of the supposedly dangerous behavior. How many of these flimsy excuses do we tolerate before we begin to suspect “compliance” or a “police state”mentality is what is really driving these arrests without reasonable suspicion of crime ?

    1. Barack Palin

      The guy admitted to stepping on and off the curb, the cop was worried about his safety.  When the cop tried to warn him he just flips him off.  The jury got this right, he should’ve complied with what the officer was asking him to do.

      1. The Pugilist

        Except that flipping him off and not complying with an officer is not a crime unless you are being detained.  With no underlying crime, I don’t understand the basis for “resisting arrest.”

        1. Barack Palin

          Yeah, we want to let everyone know that they don’t have to comply with the police and it’s okay to flip them off.  Let our children know that too.

        2. The Pugilist

          I see.  Juries never get the law wrong?  I suppose I can accept I am wrong on the basis of your argument the moment you accept that OJ didn’t kill his wife.

        3. Barack Palin

          I suppose I can accept I am wrong on the basis of your argument the moment you accept that OJ didn’t kill his wife.

          I knew OJ was guilty from the day he took the Bronco ride.

          Knowing you from your comments on Vanguard court cases I’m willing to bet that you thought OJ was innocent.  Now be honest.

        4. The Pugilist

          I never thought OJ was innocent.  I do believe that the jury’s verdict was justifiable given the trial.  But you’ve now tacitly admitted that you know juries are not infallible and yet you are hanging onto to their infallibility here.

  3. ryankelly

    I agree, this is troubling.  Now that he’s on probation, expect repeated stops by officers who will find other reasons to arrest him.  I suspect that we will see him back on court on other charges in the future. The Vanguard should track this.

  4. Tia Will


    I agree that once given a direction by the police officer, the defendant should have complied. However, that is not where the problem starts for me. The underlying question is why should the police officer have insisted upon compliance in the first place ?  Is stepping from a sidewalk onto the street enough reason for a detention ?  Especially since the officer did not seem concerned about safety even enough to ascertain the reasons for what he may have considered dangerous behavior focusing instead on “compliance”. Who is made safer by his actions ?  There was at least according to this account, no evidence put into play that there was actually any danger to anyone. I wonder what the verdict would have been had the officer been charged with wrongful detention ?


  5. Marina Kalugin

    oh,   at first I thought you meant BLM like Bureau of Land Management…and that high profile case of the fed government murdering someone in cold blood on his own land…

    now I see here they are talking about Black Lives Matter….I believe that is a racist term…shouldn’t it be all lives matter?  why only black??????

    1. The Pugilist

      Stating Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean exclusively Black Lives Matter, it means that Black Lives Matter “also” as in they have been neglected previously.  The reason why All Lives Matter is ineffective is that it denies the inequity in the system.

  6. Marina Kalugin

    and, that is truly nonsensical… what if the cop says shoot your gun first, would you then have to comply….really ?…or be arrested for “resisting arrest”….sighhh….

  7. Marina Kalugin

    unless there is proof of any crime, all the rest is nonsense…. perhaps the cop is not made out for this work?  if he is “feeling uncomfortable”  maybe he should be at a desk…  not all are made out to confront evil or criminals without feeling “uncomfortable”……  why should a kid or whomever who did nothing wrong now have an arrest record???????


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