Judge in Attempted Murder Trial Agrees to Allow Facts in Even If It Violates Defendant’s Rights

By Ankita Joshi

ALAMEDA, CA – In pretrial motions here at Alameda County Superior Court last week in an attempted murder case, the court sided with the prosecution’s desire to inform the jury about defendant Kevin Byrd’s former criminal matters—even if it did, as his attorney argued, hurt his constitutional rights.

Byrd previously plead not guilty for allegedly showing up to the victim’s home and shooting a firearm.

Assistant Public Defender Alexia Mayorga and Deputy District Attorney Matthew Gaidos spent much of the hearing arguing over the perceived mental state of the defendant and how that should be brought up during trial.

Judge Thomas Reardon began the hearing by going over several proposed motions that established how evidence would be handled between the defense and prosecution at trial.

It was noted that some transcripts of 911 calls contained several typos that should be amended to clear any possible confusion in the future. But those were little items.

But, as the hearing continued, the subject of the defendant’s mental state during the time of the alleged crime was brought up.

DDA Gaidos read from the character content given by the medical professional who had conducted Byrd’s neuropsychological examination.

“His actions during this incident are the tragic outcome of the unfortunate combination of his neurological and psychological disorders, in addition to the lack of development in his brain,” read DDA Gaidos.

DDA Gaidos voiced some concern about the medical professional testifying during trial because the character content would paint Byrd in a “misleading” light to the jury.

He recounted that Byrd was placed on felony probation three months previous to the crime and was aware that the police were called after he had allegedly shot the firearm at the house, which caused him to flee.

DDA Gaidos urged Judge Reardon to allow this information to also be included during trial.

However, PD Mayorga contended that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the jury to hear that Byrd had been on felony probation during the time of the crime, and would unfairly damage his due process rights.

Judge Reardon moved to deny the motion, and agreed with the prosecution in presenting to the jury that Byrd was on felony probation at the time of the crime. Judge Reardon felt that all the factors listed were relevant to Byrd’s mindset during and after the crime.

About The Author

Ankita Joshi is a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a major in International Studies and a minor in Political Science. She is originally from Sacramento, CA.

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