Dispute Between Cousins Leaves Minor Injuries – Victim Wants to Withdraw Complaint, but Court Pursues Felony Charges

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By Joe Cormac, Tatiana Gasca and Jose Medina

SACRAMENTO, CA — Despite the victim’s stated desire to no longer press charges against his cousin, a Sacramento County Superior Court will continue the prosecution of defendant John L. Miles, Jr., charged with several alleged crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon—a cane—and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.

The charges stem from an incident that took place on Feb. 3, 2020. During the earlier half of the day, the victim was beginning his daily walk at Florin Creek Park in Sacramento. Near the entrance of the park, the victim ran into Miles. Their conversation escalated as the defendant accused the victim of owing him money.

According to his friend, the incident intensified. Sheriff’s deputies recollected the witness said, “All of a sudden, he saw that individual punching (the victim) repeatedly. Until he fell on the ground and started hitting him with a cane.”

Deputies said the witness attempted to pull Miles off of the victim, but was unsuccessful in preventing the assault. The victim attempted to defend himself with a retractable, metal cane by pushing away the defendant. However, the defendant knocked him to the ground and grabbed the cane.

The victim suffered from some swelling and abrasions, but he declined further medical attention or transport to the hospital.

Assistant Public Defender Larry Yee questioned the lead deputy, and noted that there was no damage to the head of the victim, noting, “That’s something, that sometimes you’ll see in situations where someone is on the ground being hit, because their head will sometimes strike the ground.”

Yee concluded, “I don’t think it’s been shown that the metal cane was a dangerous and deadly weapon…I think the lack of great bodily injury is informative as to whether or not there was enough force behind the alleged punches and strikes by the cane.”

During his closing arguments, Yee reminded the court that “a statement by the victim in essence says that the victim doesn’t want to press charges.”

He also emphasized the relationship between the defendant and victim, saying that “in essence we have a family dispute between two cousins” and that “it escalates and it turns into a fight and during that fight there were some minor injuries.”

Yee motioned the court to reduce the defendant’s charges to misdemeanors.

Deputy District Attorney Kristin Hayes adamantly disagreed with Yee’s argument and asked the court not to grant the motion because Miles has a previous conviction from 1992 that was also an assault case.

According to statements from the victim that she reviewed, Hayes also added that the defendant had known the victim just suffered a stroke and, despite having this knowledge, the defendant allegedly assaulted the victim.

Yee addressed Hayes’ arguments, arguing “that incident was from 1992, that’s almost 30 years old. It wasn’t recent conduct.”

He added that although the victim had recently suffered from a stroke, the defendant also had ailments. Yee stated that the defendant “also has long term injuries as he has a blown out right knee which he is actually having surgery for and has had surgery for.”

He concluded that the defendant’s “mobility is a little bit limited so this isn’t a circumstance where we have, for example, a healthy person taking advantage of an unhealthy person.”

Disagreeing with Yee’s arguments, the court did not grant the motion to reduce Miles’s charges to misdemeanors and found sufficient evidence to believe the defendant was guilty, and ordered him held for trial.

Tatiana Gasca is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Legal and Ethnic Studies. She is from Santa Ana, CA.

Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.


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