Jury Trial Angers Jury, Gains Acquittal

The Vanguard learned from a juror that a trial held nearly two weeks ago ended in an acquittal and a hung jury.  But the jurors became angry that the case went to trial in the first place and so apparently informed the prosecutor that the jury, which acquitted defendant Tyler De Anda on the first count, also hung 11-1 for not guilty on the second count.

The jury said that, as a result of the trial, 11 people will not be voting for the current district attorney in the upcoming election, as they were angry that the DA’s office moved forward on a case with such weak charges, forcing them to waste their time in court for nearly a week.

The deputy DA in the case, Shelby Davitt, after talking to the jury dismissed the remaining charge.  The defendant was charged with two misdemeanor counts, a domestic violence battery and a regular battery charge.

The case marks the sixth acquittal or hung jury resulting in a dismissal in recent weeks.

The prosecutor alleged that, in 2017, Mr. De Anda showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s house, as he had followed her new boyfriend back to her house.  The three of them knew each other and were involved in somewhat of a love triangle.

Mr. De Anda is alleged to have jumped out of his car and challenged the new boyfriend to a fight.  The new boyfriend rushed into the girlfriend’s house and Mr. De Anda is alleged to have pushed the girlfriend out of the way, knocking her down and attacking the new boyfriend.

At trial, the girlfriend told the jury that Mr. De Anda had never pushed her.  She wrote a letter to the district attorney, telling the prosecutor that she did not want him to be prosecuted, she didn’t feel like he did anything wrong and she was pressured into implicating him to police because the new boyfriend was present in the room during the interview.

She also testified that the new boyfriend had contacted her during the lunch break of the trial, apparently upset at the way she was testifying.  This made the new boyfriend appear less than sympathetic to the jury.

The fight between Mr. De Anda and the new boyfriend was also questionable.  A few months prior, the new boyfriend had attacked the girlfriend in September of 2017.  He entered her house, confronting the woman, choking her and slapping her, then he left.  During the trial, he denied having done this.

During his testimony, the man claimed he was attacked by Mr. De Anda and did not fight back.  The woman, however, testified that De Anda was in a fight and therefore fighting back.  She even testified that her new boyfriend had initiated the fight after she had broken them up.  Mr. De Anda had injuries on the back of his neck consistent more with mutual combat than a one-way attack.

Clearly, the new boyfriend had fought back and may have re-engaged the fight.  The man’s denials made him look less than credible to the jury.

There was also an issue as to whether Mr. De Anda was acting in self-defense when he hit the man initially.  There was some evidence that the old boyfriend made a gesture suggestive of having a firearm while they were driving around town and made an aggressive move toward him.  Mr. De Anda said he confronted him initially because he was concerned about the man breaking into his house again, as he previously done.

The defense argued that Mr. De Anda, knew that the man was violent toward the woman and was making an aggressive move, and it was reasonable for Mr. De Anda to lunge at him and attempt to subdue him.

The jury didn’t see evidence of domestic violence.  The jury was skeptical as to why the prosecution would proceed in a case like this when the witness had clearly recanted.  There was no independent evidence of the act.

The two men were fighting and the question to the jury was whether it was battery or self-defense.  The jury saw this more as two guys fighting over a woman.  No one was really injured.  One guy ended up being charged and the other guy was not charged.

Furthermore, the new boyfriend committed what would appear to be the much more serious offense when he broke in and choked the woman previously, and yet he was never charged with a crime.

The jury was surprised that a case like this would end up in trial or charged at all.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Keith O

    The jury said that as a result of the trial, 11 people will not be voting for the District Attorney in the upcoming election

    So the 11 jurors all discussed this during deliberations?

    Yeah right.

      1. Howard P

        It is not unusual, after the verdict has been delivered, for the attorneys to speak to the jurors about “what happened?”  Particularly if a jury “hangs”…

        I served on a jury where we almost hung on each of two counts… we eventually convicted on both… because of the length of deliberation on both counts, the prosecuter talked to jurors willing to do so… I told the prosecuter, in no uncertain terms, where he had almost “blown it” (my opinion, not discussed in deliberations)… I was the holdout on one charge (BAC over 0.08), but figured it wouldn’t matter as the second charge (DUI) was a “slam dunk” for conviction…on that charge, originally there were 3 votes for NG… I was a G!!!… took us almost 4 hours to get to a unanimous G.

        There were serious flaws in how the prosecuter presented the case, but at the end of the day, the evidence was clear, as was the credibility of the defendant.

        This appears to be the “flip side” of that case.  Prosecuted wrongly… at least as to the proper defendant… sure sounds like a conviction would have much more likely had the right individual been charged…

  2. Tia Will

    These trials are expensive. For those who feel we are over taxed, this should be of concern. These are exactly the types of charges I would like to see DA Reisig explain in public debate. If he has a reasonable explanation for proceeding with this kind of prosecution, I would love to hear what it is.

    1. Howard P

      Taxation has no part of my motivation (taxes would not be reduced if incidents like this were dealt with more reasonably)… it was just ‘stupid’, as David cites…

      Question as to topic title… is this a ‘pattern’, or a stupid aberration?

      How much was the DA’s call, and how much, subordinates?

  3. Robin W.

    This example of over-charging and trying cases like this (which means there was no reasonable attempt by the DA’s office to settle it) is not just stupid, a waste of juror time, and a waste of taxpayer money. It is also destructive to the lives of the people involved. It is completely out of control in Yolo County. This cruel nonsense does not go on in many other places where the DA recognizes that representing “the State” means representing all the people in the state, which is not achieved by charging everyone and trying everything no matter how petty or what the likelihood is of prevailing.

    1. David Greenwald

      From what I understand, the DA offered a plea agreement on the battery charge, but would drop the domestic violence charge. However, the defense thought they could beat the charge and the defendant felt like he was innocent of a crime. So they had no real incentive to settle.

      I’ve seen so many of these cases, and they never get coverage because who goes in there and covers a misdemeanor DV/ fight?

  4. Alan Miller

    they were angry that the DA’s office moved forward on a case with such weak charges, forcing them to waste their time in court for nearly a week.

    No surprise there.  In my experience with juries, they are more interested in getting the trial over with and back to their lives than in justice.

  5. Alan Miller

    > as a result of the trial, 11 people will not be voting for the District Attorney in the upcoming election

    This jury description brought to you by Johansson for Yolo County D.A.

        1. Howard P

          A “sucker bet”… yet to take that bet, we would have to agree to define “most” and “them”…

          Voter rolls are ‘full’ of folk who have left the community, duplicate registrations, the deceased, etc.   This isn’t voter fraud, but it is reality of the “registered voters” thing…

          Students who register to vote in YC, for example, do not automatically have their registraion negated when they move out of county, out of state, etc.  How many folk having a member of their family decease, think about contacting Yolo County Elections (my guess is 0.0001%).  Duplicates occur when someone moves from one address (inc. apt #) within Davis.

          Having been involved as a poll worker for many years (25+), I know this stuff… based on that experience, my informed guess (for Davis, depending on precinct) is ~ 1-5% of the “registered voters” are duplicates, gone, or deceased (another form of ‘gone’) [up to 10% in some precincts].

          BTW, County Clerks and the Secretary of State are aware of, and working on this, but have very little resources to clean it up…

          Legislative action is necessary as well..


  6. Dave Hart

    This experience reflects similar jury situations with someone I know.  In her experience, the jury acquitted because of the frustration with the weakness of the case and the same feeling that it should not have been prosecuted in court.  The above story sounds like a great opportunity to charge both of the “combatants” with disorderly conduct then have them go through a Neighborhood Court process outside of a jury setting.  After all, what we are really interested in is better behavior, not locking people up I would hope.  Neither of these people should be taking up jail space. But each of them should have to explain what the hell they thought they were going to accomplish to community members.

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