By Emma Phillips
WOODLAND – Judge Renard F. Shepard ruled here in Yolo County Superior Court Tuesday that Darius Brown, charged with inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant and vandalism, should stand trial for those charges but only as misdemeanors, not felonies.
Officer Louis Esway described to the court what he observed upon arriving at the scene Sept. 26, and what information he gathered from questioning Brown and the victim.
According to the alleged victim, there had been a verbal argument that escalated to a physical argument, all taking place while Brown was operating the victim’s car. Brown allegedly beat the victim while driving erratically, and the victim suffered injuries to her chest. Brown had been the victim’s boyfriend of about two months.
The injuries suffered by the victim included bruising starting on her chest area, which was also red and discolored at the time Officer Esway examined her. She also had a scratch on her right side, but was unsure whether it was inflicted during the argument with Brown or earlier in the day while she was participating in a basketball game.
Brown also allegedly broke the victim’s car radio by punching it, ripping it from the dashboard, and throwing it out the window; and the victim’s car windshield by punching it. The victim estimates that the damages to repair her vehicle would be around $500.
Deputy Public Defender Erin Dascayanan argued that Brown only has one prior felony adult conviction and the injuries to the victim were minor, as Officer Esway described them as “red marks” and some bruising on the victim’s chest. She also thinks the vandalism charge should be reconsidered, given the victim does not have a credible basis to assume the cost of repairing her property.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Vroman responded that Brown is currently on probation for previous domestic violence cases involving a different victim, suggesting he commits this type of offense on a continuing basis.
He also pointed out that Esway arrived on the scene only minutes after the beating took place, so the victim’s injuries may not have been fully developed yet and could not be classified as minor based on that fact. Furthermore, Brown was driving erratically during the alleged beating, posing a danger to himself, the victim, and the public.
Dascayanan asked for her client to be released on these grounds, claiming he has a stable place to live with his mother, far from the victim’s residence, and a job at the Greyhound bus station. Vroman submitted to the request with the understanding that there will be a “no contact issue” between Brown and the victim.
Judge Shepard didn’t think this constitutes felony conduct as the victim didn’t go to the hospital for her injuries, and agreed that Brown can be released from custody, procided he adheres to a no-contact criminal protective order.
Court proceedings will resume in Dept. 12 for a pretrial conference on Oct. 28 at 8:30 a.m.
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