By Hannah Grayson
In a preliminary hearing held on Friday in Department 20, under Judge Teresa Caffese, two alleged victims testified about attempted robberies and assaults.
The first alleged victim testified about an incident on November 2 of this year at about 7:30 p.m. Just after crossing the street, a woman that was standing on the sidewalk is alleged to have grabbed the handle of the complaining witness’s backpack in an attempt to take it. The woman was unable to get the backpack from the complaining witness, and so she began to punch her repeatedly. The alleged victim testified that she then tried to give the woman the backpack in an effort to stop the punches. A bystander then intervened and ended the assault after getting punched himself.
During the altercation, the alleged victim could not see very well in one eye. This injury caused her to be unsure when identifying the defendant as the thief during the cold show. In the courtroom, however, the alleged victim said her vision had improved and she now appeared certain that the defendant was the person who attacked her.
It was also revealed that the alleged victim refused to go to the hospital after the incident. She said that she needed to get home to her elderly mother and that she ended up going to the hospital three days after the incident.
The next witness called was Officer Lindsay Droze who responded to the scene of the attempted robbery. Officer Droze spoke with the victim and the bystander who stopped the altercation. She was also the officer that conducted the cold show and said that the bystander identified the defendant as the person he saw based on her face and jeans.
At the scene, Officer Droze observed no injuries on the alleged victim. She also said the defendant appeared to be under the influence of something.
The second alleged victim was the next witness. This complaining witness testified that a woman came up to him and demanded money. When he said he did not have any, she punched him and broke his glasses. She then hit him repeatedly with a metal broom handle until he was able to grab it away from her. He then ran inside his house and she began hitting his car with a brick before walking away. His neighbor witnessed the whole incident and called 911.
In terms of injuries, the second complaining witness mentioned nose injuries, a swollen hand, and a wound on his arm that ended up getting infected.
The last witness was Officer John Hoge who had arrested the defendant on November 2. He was given a description of the suspect and then saw the defendant, matching that description. When he tried to detain her, she ran.
When grabbing the defendant to stop her, he used a technique that took her down to the ground. This action gave the defendant a cut on her cheek, which the defense is arguing is excessive force. Officer Hoge also observed that the defendant had appeared to be under the influence.
The defense argued that in the attempted robbery charge, there is no evidence of intent of force or fear. The defense is arguing that the intent was only to steal the backpack and the punching came after, with no intent to do so. There was also no intent of instilling fear, as there were no words exchanged during the altercation.
The defense also argued that the charges should be reduced to misdemeanors as the injuries caused to both victims were not that bad. Both victims neglected to go to the hospital for a while.
The prosecution then argued that the intent of force or fear when stealing the backpack was not relevant to the charges. They also argued that the injuries to the eye and the man’s infection were serious enough, despite the fact that medical attention was avoided. Finally, the prosecution argued that the metal broom handle could be classified as a deadly weapon.
Judge Caffese sided with the prosecution and ruled the evidence satisfactory to continue on all charges. She also ignored the lack of seriousness of the injuries and did not reduce the charges to misdemeanors, on the basis that several punches were thrown.
The defendant will be brought in for arraignment on December 6 in Department 22.