Sac DA to Announce If County Will Retry Pie-Thrower Case

(From Press Release) – The political “pie-thrower” accused of placing a coconut cream pie in the face of ex-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as a political prank will find out Thursday if Sacramento County will spend more tax dollars to re-try him. After a nearly 2-week trial, a jury on May 15 failed to find Sean Thompson guilty of any of the felony and misdemeanor charges.

The hearing is set for THURSDAY, JUNE 8 in Dept. 9 in Sacramento Superior Court at 8:30 a.m.

On May 15, Superior Court Judge Robert Twiss declared a mistrial when 12 jurors – deliberating parts of five days – reported they were hopelessly deadlocked and could not find Sean Thompson guilty of any of the charged offenses. The trial began May 1, and was sent to the jury late on May 9.

Thompson, a military veteran, was charged with felony assault on a public official, and faced numerous other misdemeanor charges. Jurors who spoke publically after the trial said it was unanimous, 12-0, that he was not guilty of the most serious of the charges, the felony. They could not get a unanimous verdict either way for the lesser assault and battery charges.

Pro bono defense counsel Jeffrey Mendelman and Claire White, of the Vallejo law firm Morton & Russo, called the mistrial a “victory for justice,” and common sense, and praised the jurors for doing their job in the face of sometimes confusing instructions, and very little evidence presented by the DA. The victim, Johnson, was not called and dodged defense subpoenas for months to avoid testifying.

“Of course we would like to have had a unanimous verdict of not guilty, but we’re pleased with the results. We would encourage taxpayers to contact their elected representatives in Sacramento and tell them not to waste any more tax dollars over political theatre, which is what this is,” said Mendelman.

The DA’s office had promised the case was a slam-dunk and that the 12 jurors could easily decide to convict Thompson for the political prank of pieing a politician – a tradition of sorts that results in usually no prosecution.

Jurors, however, agreed pieing someone is not felony assault and battery. And White told the jury “the wrong man is on trial for the one crime,” suggesting it was Johnson who should be on trial for sending Thompson to the hospital. Even prosecution witnesses said Thompson was beaten bloody by Johnson who didn’t stop punching even though Thompson didn’t fight back and was in a fetal position on the ground. Johnson only stopped punching Thompson, who was hospitalized, when his own security pulled him off, witnesses said.

Court observers said the judge in the case gutted the defense plan, refusing to allow several defenses, witnesses and hiding facts from what happened to the jury.

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  1. David Greenwald

    This gets more interesting.  DA is going to re-file.  Now the defense will move to have it thrown out:

    In fact, White said her Vallejo law firm of Morton & Russo would be filing a motion claiming that Thompson cannot be retried in the case on the same charge of “assault on a public official” because the jury voted 12-0 not guilty on that charge. “It would be double jeopardy. We have laws in the country against that. We will be getting affidavits from the jurors in the past case to prove the vote was 12-0,” said White.

    1. Ron

      David:  “This gets more interesting.”

      I’m not sure that I agree.  🙂

      I’ll add “my view” for what it’s worth. Since Kevin Johnson kicked this guy’s ass, that seems WAY more than enough to me. (Still, I’m not sure that the guy understands that it’s not a good idea to throw a pie in anyone’s face. Especially someone who can kick your ass.)

      And, I hope that Kevin Johnson realizes that he over-reacted, as well. (No – I don’t think charges are warranted there, either.)


  2. John Hobbs

    “a tradition of sorts that results in usually no prosecution.”

    Really? Willie Brown’s assailants certainly got tried and convicted.

    “And White told the jury ‘the wrong man is on trial for the one crime,’”

    Self defense is not a crime.


    1. David Greenwald

      last time we had this discussion, I posted the requirements for a self-defense claim, the problem that you have is that the force used far exceeded the force needed to stop any sort of attack, even if you believe there was an ongoing threat, which is questionable at best.

      1. John Hobbs

        The fact that you can seriously question the mayor’s actions as anything but self-defense tells me that you’ve never been assaulted. The fact that you continue to justify the miscreant’s premeditated attack makes me question your objectivity in this kind if issue. Are his bolshevik lawyers subscribers?

        1. David Greenwald

          Self-defense has a three part requirement:
          First, he had to reasonably believe that he was in danger of great bodily injury.
          Second, he had to reasonably believed that the immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger
          Third, he had to have used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.
          I think it fails on all three grounds.  I look forward to your argument to the contrary.

  3. John Hobbs

    I think you are incredibly naive. I hope you never have to react to an ambush attack. I have and it is a very quick and terrifying situation. You cease your defense when you know that the attacker is disabled. If the mayor had any intention other than self defense, Mr Thompson would have more than a couple of stitches to whine about. He is a disruptive annoyance at public meetings and frequently an obstruction of the public thoroughfare. When that failed to gain him the notoriety he desired, he thought nothing of assaulting another human being. What will he do when this 15 minutes has worn off? His known behavior leads a reasonable person to speculate that he will find more prominent targets to assault. Maybe he can be convinced to relocate to Davis, where at least some buy into his “hero” fantasy.

    1. David Greenwald

      It was a single pie, not an ambush attack. He had him on the ground and he was punching him repeatedly in the face long after he was a threat. He punched him enough that he had blood on his sleeves.

      1. John Hobbs

        “It was a single pie, not an ambush attack.”

        I hope that this never happens to you or a loved one. I hope that if it does it is only a creme pie. I’m willing to bet your first thought won’t be “prank,” it will be “WTF.”

        I was going to respond this apologist tripe, but with someone who thinks Daniel Marsh should get house arrest at Legoland, there is no reason.

        1. David Greenwald

          Is it necessary in the course of your argument to manufacture my position?  I clearly don’t believe that Daniel Marsh only needed house arrest.  My position was to make him eligible for parole after 25 years, that doesn’t mean he would have gotten released, but at least they could evaluate it in really time.

    2. Matt Williams

      John, different individuals react differently to the same situation.  Twice in my life I have found myself in a situation where a gun was inches from my nose, pointed at me with menace.  Both were “very quick and terrifying situations.”  I ceased my defense before any defense even started.  In each case my approach was to remain calm and not escalate the situation.  In each case my decision not to respond to menace with menace ended up defusing the situation.  One other time a hitchhiker I gave a ride to was sitting in the passenger seat and told he he had a gun under his jacket (he was wearing a tie and jacket) pointed at my side, and wanted any money I had.  Again, my response was to avoid responding to menace with menace, and other than the cash I had on me, I lost nothing.

      A fourth incident involved a Utah radar policeman in Vernal, Utah.  After my wife and I pulled over he approached our car with his hand conspicuously visible on the handle of his revolver on his hip.  When I responded to his request for license, registration and insurance by reaching for the glove compartment to retrieve the insurance card he drew his revolver and ordered me to freeze, which I did immediately.  He clearly saw opening the glove compartment as a menacing action on my part, and responded with what was (to my way of thinking) unnecessary force.  Fortunately, the situation de-escalated and after receiving our traffic ticket (which was subsequently dismissed by the Utah court), we went on our way.

      Kevin Johnson’s reaction would probably have gotten him shot in all four of those situations.

  4. John Hobbs

    Matt, in 1977, I was walking to my car in the city parking lot at 10th street between J and L streets. from out of nowhere, a man stepped in front on me and hit me in the face. I now believe he intended to steal my guitar and flee. At the instant it occurred, I hit him in the stomach with the guitar case and when he bent over, I swung it and hit him in the head with sufficient force to draw blood and render him semi-conscious. I sat on his back until police arrived. Given the opportunity to surrender my guitar before he hit me, I would have told him to get hosed and the result would likely have been the same. Actions have consequences. Mr Thompson’s, rising to a criminal level, deserve severe ones. I consider him a predator and will mark him so and be extra wary when I have to walk around or over him in the course of errands downtown.

    1. Howard P

      Yes, but you did not have your own “security” present…

      Johnson only stopped punching Thompson, who was hospitalized, when his own security pulled him off, witnesses said.

      Big freakin’ difference!  Johnson had simple choices… he could have laughed it off, he could have ordered his “security” to grab and detain the guy, placing the jerk under citizen’s arrest, until police were called.

      His security was sufficient for the task at hand (after all, they handled hizzoner) without being a berzerker and take trial and punishment into his own hands.  What the former mayor showed was a penchant for uber-violence and (dare I say it?) ‘thuggery’.

      1. John Hobbs

        “His security was sufficient for the task at hand”

        And as soon as they got to him, the mayor handed the assailant off to them.

        Is the self preservation instinct really so moribund in Davisites?

        1. Howard P

          Hope you clearly understand that if someone in the audience started in on Hizzoner as he did on the jerk, or even more so, Mr J would have no valid claim for assault charges against the bystander… “coming to the defense of another” is as ‘sacred’ (and sometimes even more so) as self-defense as a ‘positive defense’.   Too bad someone did NOT have the balls to act more quickly than ‘security’ did.

          And here security had to act to save another from the ‘boss-man’, instead of the other way around.  Hizzoner didn’t ‘hand him over’, until he was pretty much physically forced to, by his own security.  Your argument is about as thin as the atmosphere at 20,000 feet.

        2. Howard P

          Well, it is clear that concern for the ‘preservation of others’ was pretty lacking at the event in question… otherwise perhaps Hizzoner and the jerk could have talked over their ‘issues’ from adjacent hospital beds… kinda’ a ‘restorative justice’ opportunity…

          Oh, and I do believe both of the primary antagonists were full-fledged jerks. If we had a law for that, suspect each jury would have spent 1-2 hours in deliberation and return two 12-0 guilty determinations.

  5. David Greenwald

    But we continue to argue the wrong point here, the question is whether or not the jury reached a not guilty verdict on the felony charge.

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