Preliminary Hearing for Inmate Fight Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

YoloCourt-5By Mariel Barbadillo

On October 12, 2016, Judge Samuel McAdam presided over a preliminary hearing in the case of the People v. Fabian Jessie Martinez. Mr. Martinez faces one count of battery resulting in serious bodily injury, after he allegedly beat a fellow inmate at the county jail.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Gorman appeared for the prosecution. His first witness was Yolo County Deputy Sheriff Xavier Feldon.

The deputy was on duty as a court bailiff on September 9, 2016, transporting and monitoring inmates from the county jail to Superior Court in Woodland. He could not recall how many inmates he monitored alongside Mr. Martinez, but he approximated that there were more than 10 and less than 50.

When asked to identify Mr. Martinez in court, Deputy Feldon said he noticed visible redness on the left side of the inmate’s eye as a result of the altercation.

Dep. Feldon said both Mr. Martinez and the victim, “AN,” were held in the same cell, because neither of them was classified as needing to be separated from other inmates.

Mr. Gorman presented the witness with a picture for identification. Deputy Feldon stated he took the picture of AN, who was depicted with blood running down his face.

The holding cells are monitored with surveillance cameras, and Deputy Feldon said he later watched footage of the altercation. According to the deputy’s description, the video showed Mr. Martinez and AN being put into the cell. They were unshackled before the cell was locked. The inmates were seen shaking hands, talking and laughing.

AN sat down while Mr. Martinez walked around the cell for a few moments. Then, Mr. Martinez began to punch AN.

Two or three minutes later, Deputy Feldon was alerted about the incident.

In a statement given to the deputy, the victim said he was sitting in the cell when Mr. Martinez punched him out of nowhere. There were several other inmates in the cell with Mr. Martinez and the victim, and they also said they were sitting in the cell talking to one another when Mr. Martinez randomly began to beat AN.

One inmate specifically said Mr. Martinez “started it and finished it,” referring to the altercation with AN.

Defense Attorney James Granucci represented Mr. Martinez. Mr. Granucci began his cross-examination of the witness by asking about the surveillance footage. Dep. Feldon said, from the video, the altercation seemed to last approximately five or six seconds from the first punch to the last.

After the altercation, American Medical Response (AMR) was called to provide medical treatment for the victim. He was transported to Woodland Memorial Hospital, where he received stitches on the area around his eye.

Medical records subpoenaed by the prosecution indicate that AN suffered an orbital fracture and a concussion without loss of consciousness. Mr. Gorman argued that this constitutes serious bodily injury because the victim had a five to ten day window to have his facial fractures surgically repaired, which did not happen.

The defense argued the altercation only lasted a matter of seconds. Moreover, the under-eye area is relatively more tender than other parts of the face and is thus more easily injured. Mr. Granucci questioned whether the injury resulting from the altercation was “more than moderate,” and he asked to have his client’s charges reduced.

Judge McAdam, however, believed the prosecution met the burden of proof necessary for a preliminary hearing. He went further to say that, based on the testimony and evidence presented so far, Mr. Martinez’s attack on AN appears to have been “cold-blooded.”

Judge McAdam ultimately held Mr. Martinez to answer for his charges. Mr. Martinez will be arraigned on October 27, 2016.

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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