District Attorney Office Goofs, Public Defender Gets Court to Kick 2 Felony Counts

By Lauren Smith

SACRAMENTO – Charged with five felonies, including assault with a deadly weapon and possession of an assault weapon, defendant John Tu almost immediately saw two of those felonies dismissed at arraignment here Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court—thanks to fast work by his public defender.

Seemingly within seconds of being appointed, Assistant Public Defender Samantha Ting raised an oral demurrer to Counts 3 and 5—possession of a firearm by a minor and transferring a large capacity magazine.

PD Ting argued that the charge of transferring a large capacity magazine should be dropped because of a recent Ninth Circuit court case, People (Duncan) v. Becerra.

According to this case, California’s law that bans the possession of large capacity magazines that hold 10 or more rounds of ammunition violates the Second Amendment.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking an en banc panel to review the Ninth Circuit ruling. Becerra said, “We disagree with the Court’s initial decision and will continue to use every tool we have to defend the constitutionality of our laws.”

He argues that the panel’s decision will threaten the safety of Californians because large capacity magazines have been used in mass shootings, such as the shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino in 2015 and the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks in 2018.

Becerra maintains the Ninth Circuit ruling is inconsistent with current case law because “[e]very federal circuit court that has considered the constitutionality of similar large-capacity magazine restrictions has held that they are constitutional.”

Apparently unaware of this recent ruling, Deputy District Attorney Renishta Lal asked for time to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

In the meantime, she reviewed the other charges against Mr. Tu and found that “there is an error in that chart as well,” because the defendant is not a minor, making Count 3, possession of a firearm by a minor, unfounded.

After reviewing the Becerra ruling, Judge Scott Tedmon agreed that Count 3 is “factually unsupported” because Mr. Tu is not a minor, leading to the dismissal of that charge.

He further granted PD Ting’s demurrer, causing Count 5, transferring a large capacity magazine, to be dismissed as well.

Tu’s next hearing for now just three felonies is Sept. 9.
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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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