By Cailin Garcia
FRESNO — In Fresno County Superior Court Judge Glenda Allen-Hill’s courtroom, a victim of domestic violence charged she was being harassed by an investigator working for defendant Gregory Hudson’s defense.
When Judge Allen-Hill informed her that her complaint was more suited for a civil court, not Hudson’s criminal trial, the victim still stubbornly insisted that she continue with her statement.
Defendant Hudson is currently in custody and charged with two felonies: one for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant and another for dissuading a victim from reporting a crime. He is pleading not guilty to both charges.
Hudson is being represented by defense attorney Mark Coleman of Nuttall & Coleman law firm. Coleman appeared in court via Zoom for a pre-preliminary hearing for Hudson, who was not present.
“We would like to file a motion for mental health diversion,” said Coleman. “We have a report but not in time to have filed the motion.”
In court, a mental health diversion allows mentally ill detainees to be moved from custody to community-based mental health treatment with the consent of the prosecutor, judge, and defense lawyer. Coleman requested that Hudson’s preliminary hearing be moved forward eight weeks to January 22, 2021, so that Hudson can be evaluated for potential mental health diversion.
“I have no objections to that, your Honor,” said Deputy District Attorney Justine Keel, the prosecutor for Hudson’s case.
After setting a date for the preliminary hearing, Judge Allen-Hill invited the victim of the case to address the court.
“I have suffered a series of panic attacks since September 1. I had five in September and they subsided in mid-October. Recently, I’ve been dealing with them again at the trigger and the inciting of a very unfortunate, very unprofessional event that happened with Greg’s side of things where somebody came to the door to deliver a letter that was very unethically written and the wording of it made it very obsolete and very confusing,” said the victim.
“That day, there was some malevolent language used by the man who delivered the letter. I didn’t know what the letter was specifically about, but I asked him if the judge knew about this because he said someone was going to come over and take all of our furniture out of the house,” the victim continued.
“I asked the man who delivered this letter if you knew about it. And he said no, the judge doesn’t know about it and it doesn’t matter what the judge thinks, the judge has nothing to do with this. And I said, it matters what Judge Glenda says, it matters to me,” the victim stated.
She was very emotional as she spoke and began to tear up before the judge interrupted her.
“I’m going to stop you for just a moment. Ms. Keel, were you given a copy of the letter that [the victim] is talking about?” Judge Allen-Hill asked.
“No, I don’t believe I received a copy of it. I did speak with her about that on the phone, I believe it was the same day she received the letter,” Keel replied.
“My understanding was that a defense investigator with Mr. Coleman’s office brought a letter to [the victim]. I believe it stated, and I’ll let Mr. Coleman clarify, something to the effect that Gregory or some of his representatives would be coming to the home that they shared to retrieve some of Gregory’s property several days from the date of the letter. And I believe that interaction with the investigator did not go well and was offensive to [the victim],” said Keel.
Coleman told a different version of the event that occurred between his investigator and the victim.
Coleman said he had drafted the letter that was given to the victim and insisted that it simply stated that due to a no-contact order that prevents Hudson from coming to the victim’s house, a moving company would come to the property to retrieve his belongings.
“My investigator was out there with his wife and there was nothing threatening said. It was simply, I have a letter from Greg’s attorney notifying you that we would like to come pick up Greg’s belongings,” said Coleman.
“I do appreciate that, counsel,” responded Judge Allen-Hill. “But I think you’re gonna have to provide [the victim] with a list of what it is that Mr. Hudson wishes to have from the house and then you’re going to have an agreement about whose it is. And if there isn’t an agreement, then this matter will have to be brought to court.”
Coleman informed the judge that, according to the defendant, the victim does not pay rent for the house. Coleman also contacted law enforcement for a civil standby, but they refused to reply.
Judge Allen-Hill informed Coleman that many law enforcement agencies have stopped providing civil standby services and such matters are now being brought to civil court.
“Am I allowed to respond to any of this?” asked the victim.
“The problem is that we are not having a hearing on the items in the home or whose home it is or your living circumstances because that’s up to a civil court to decide, not a criminal court. I encourage you to contact the victim advocate so you understand what your rights are in this matter and you exercise all of your rights,” said Judge Allen-Hill.
The victim continuously attempted to interrupt the judge, insisting that Coleman had misrepresented the incident and that she does make rent payments.
“I wanted to address a couple of things that Mr. Coleman said. First of all, there was no wife present with his investigator and his investigator said everything he said I said. I have an auditory and photographic memory, amongst some disabilities,” said the victim.
The judge stopped the victim, stating, “The investigator was right about one thing and that is that the issue of your housing is not before this court. Hopefully, it will never be before any court, but if it has to go to court it will be before a civil court.
“I can’t give you legal advice. I can’t fix this issue, it will take another court to fix this. But I believe that Mr. Coleman, that at this point in time there is not an effort to evict [the victim],” the judge continued.
“That’s correct, Mr. Hudson just wants his stuff,” Coleman replied.
Despite the victim’s attempts to continue speaking, Judge Allen-Hill stated once again that any conflicts regarding property and belongings must be discussed in a civil court.
“I encourage you to contact the victim advocate and discuss these matters with the advocate,” the judge finished.
Gregory Hudson is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 22, 2021, for a preliminary hearing, pending the defense’s motion for a mental health diversion.
Cailin Garcia is a senior at UCLA, majoring in sociology with a minor in professional writing. She is from Santa Clarita, California.
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