‘Dating Game Gone Wrong’ Quips Public Defender, Questions Validity of Domestic Violence Charge; Judge Disagrees


By Esme Lipton

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Deputy Public Defender Crystal Lamb referred to domestic violence case as a “dating game gone wrong” this past Thursday, while arguing with Judge Brian Ferrall over the release of defendant Cameron Pickett in San Francisco County Superior Court, Dept. 11.

Pickett was on parole for previous convictions and now faces domestic violence charges; the defendant allegedly pulled a firearm on the victim and inflicted bodily harm to her person.

The prosecution filed a motion to continue a preliminary hearing and a motion to detain, to which PD Lamb objected. The attorney believes it’s unfair to detain Pickett solely on this complaint, especially since the complaining witness won’t testify and has stated that she “doesn’t want the defendant to go to jail.”

“Mr. Pickett didn’t make a statement to the police, the police didn’t witness anything,” Lamb claimed. The attorney pleaded with the court that “a parole hearing wouldn’t be successful without the witnesses who are dodging service […] I will not give any legal advantage to the prosecution in this case.”

Pickett turned himself in to the police “at the request of his parole officer.”

Judge Ferrall seemed unmoved by the defense’s argument: “Based on my review of the motion and opposition papers on the motion to detain, […] the charges are pretty serious, and the use of a firearm raises the level of danger here significantly. So, there’s grounds to detain Mr. Pickett.”

PD Lamb appeared frustrated by the court’s response.

“The complaining witness does not want him to go to jail. She would know best if there’s substantial risk [for Pickett’s release]. She said she didn’t know it would go this far. […] This is a dating game gone wrong,” stated the attorney.

The judge explained that in domestic violence cases, the court doesn’t “give much weight” to what the victim wants for the defendant. Instead, the court must consider the “immediate danger” of releasing Pickett.

While speaking to the prosecutor, PD Lamb implied that the victim may not be telling the whole truth, stating: “You may have never had a situation [where] a woman has lied.”

Judge Ferrall then delivered his final thoughts: “The victim suffered some injury from the fight that was the subject of these charges. A firearm was pulled and the victim was threatened with it on two occasions. […] There is a great chance of bodily injury if the defendant is released. What the witness wants is relevant but not dispositive.”

The court ultimately filed a motion to detain the defendant. Pickett’s next hearing will take place on July 27.


About The Author

Esme Lipton is a junior transfer student at UC Berkeley double-majoring in Philosophy and Gender & Women's Studies.

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