Defense Closing Statements Given in Long-Running Burglary Trial

By Alexandra Quilici

After months of court proceedings, the end and verdict are within sight as defense lawyers delivered their closing statements Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday morning started with Rakhem Bradford’s lawyer, Ava Landers, giving her statement and reasoning as to why Bradford cannot be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

She began with Bradford’s Instagram account, which was filled with pictures of the same laptop posted over and over again, but with different captions that sold different products. Ms. Landers argued that Michelle Serafin, the People’s attorney, never successfully identified the pictures’ origins or proved that the captions could be traced back to any particular stolen item.

Ms. Landers argued that none of the items could be traced back to a specific burglary in this trial. Many of the victims who had things stolen from them could not confidently identify items recovered from the residence of Joseph Hernandez and Joshua Givens (where Bradford would often spend the night).

Since Mr. Bradford’s name was not on the lease, Ms. Landers argued that the marijuana confiscated could not be directly tied to him. While Ms. Landers did not argue that Bradford sold weed, according to her there is no proof that the buckets of weed would be sold by him (as he only sold in very small amounts).

There was a stolen watch that Bradford was wearing when the police conducted a search warrant. However, Ms. Landers argued that, according to previous testimony, Joseph Hernandez would often give Bradford items to have and wear.

As for the conspiracy charges, it has been clear throughout the entire trial that many people were involved with these burglaries and not just the three defendants. Ms. Landers argued that Bradford was pushed and chosen by the People to be arrested, and that there were other much more involved and informed burglars that Bradford had nothing to do with.

Attorney James Granucci, for defendant Joshua Givens, then provided the first half of his closing statement before the morning session ended. In his statement, he argued that certain cell satellites which had traced his client Mr. Givens to a burglary scene were ridiculous. Mr. Granucci argued that Givens was having a phone conversation with someone when the burglary was taking place.

Mr. Granucci also questioned the validity of some of the burglary victims’ statements. He focused especially on two girls who fell asleep and did not wake up to someone burglarizing their house. He also pointed out how one victim was very confused when trying to identify his laptop.

As for conspiracy charges, Mr. Granucci pointed out that Givens lived a very frugal life. He was by no means a wealthy person who got rich quick from crime. Photos from his bedroom were shown. He had no furniture and just a mattress on the floor.

Before the morning session ended, Mr. Granucci was about to begin his reasoning as to why a key witness (defendant Joseph Hernandez’s girlfriend) who linked Givens to the burglaries was an untruthful and unreliable testifier.

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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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