By Lauren Bradley and Robert Meastas
The trial of Antonio Carter-Bibbs and Patricia Kenard concluded Monday, June 17, in Department 25 of the San Francisco Hall of Justice. The charges range from attempted oral copulation to lewd acts with a minor child and child abuse.
In a case where there is no physical evidence or documented injury, the closing statements of the attorneys tied together a timeline of alleged acts and disclosures to paint a picture for the jury of their side’s version of events.
Assistant District Attorney Jenkins gave a closing argument weighted with emphasis on the minor victim’s statements to adults in closed quarter settings over a six-month period following the incident.
The Assistant District Attorney’s theme throughout the closing argument was that the victim, a minor, had made statements to the adult witnesses, including foster parents and social workers, about the sensation and feeling recalled from sexual acts she had been involved in. The victim’s inclusion of the sensation and feeling felt from sexual acts suggested, according to Jenkins, that the acts could not have been fabricated by the minor’s imagination because the feeling elicited from the acts could only be recalled and explained to others if they had been previously felt before.
Witnesses’ testimony was recounted to support the argument that the victim’s explanation of how the sexual acts felt could not just be a projected belief but instead reflected some familiarity based in shared knowledge of sensation that was told in segments to various people based on the victim’s mood and the perceived trustworthiness of the person the statement was made to.
The Assistant District Attorney dedicated a segment of closing arguments towards the anticipation of the defense’s argument stating that while the victim engaged in a form of mimicking behavior over the course of judicial process a defense of mere familiarity with sexual acts is implausible based in knowledge of sensation.
Additionally, the Assistant District Attorney argued that the victim conveyed a strongly held belief that the acts happened to the victim as opposed to another person and focused on the consistencies in her various statements to adult witnesses. The Assistant District Attorney also argued that the victim did not have a legitimate motivation to report unless something egregious had happened, because the victim was a minor and the act of reporting lewd acts about adults is unlikely unless there is some truthful basis in their statements.
The District Attorney clarified that statements she made to the victim on June 3, 2019, in the hallway outside of Department 25 did not support a claim of coaching or wrongly influencing a court witness, but did reflect actions intended to calm and relax the victim before they testified for the first time in court.
Deputy Public Defender Eric Quandt stated in closing argument that the trial was the result of aggressive overcharging and that the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard was not met because the various witness testimony about several different acts without much corroboration from any other evidence established during the trial. Quandt told the jury, “there is no DNA to save Antonio Carter-Bibbs” and that “there are no do-overs in this case.”
The defense’s position is that the disclosures were inconsistent, and that the people to whom the disclosures were made had a bias in the case, especially grandmother Arie Kenard to whom the first disclosure was made because she is currently in a battle for custody of the children.
Further, the Deputy Public Defender stated that the contradictions and lack of consistency throughout the testimony of the adult witnesses called by the prosecution produces a narrative that is contestable, therefore not meeting the high standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ The defense’s belief was that the story told by the prosecution had inconsistencies that fell short of amounting to a full story that could rise to the level of certainty necessary to convict Carter-Bibbs and Kennard.