Victim Impromptu Statement Refutes Defendant’s Sobriety, Causes Judge to Change Order

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By S. Priana Aquino

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A victim’s impromptu statement to the judge here this week in San Francisco County Superior Court resulted in a change of circumstances for defendant William G. Brunner.

Defense lawyer Alexa Warner told the court that her client had been regularly attending AA meetings, and was on track to maintain his sobriety. Brunner is projected to have his final court mandated AA meeting this week.

The presiding judge congratulated Brunner on his sobriety, and told him to keep up the good work.

The sheriff had begun to call another case when Deputy District Attorney Pearl Tan brought attention to a person present who had a victim statement to deliver to the court.

The judge granted the victim permission to speak. They first stated that they had been unable get ahold of the DA’s office by calling often and writing letters. However, they said they never received a response and resorted to appearing in person to be heard.

The victim expressed their concern over the leniency of Brunner’s punishment for his past behavior. They told the court that while he pretended to take it seriously, in reality, he did not prioritize his sobriety.

“As soon as it [ankle bracelet] comes off, he feels like he needs a reward,” said the victim. They explained that his mindset led him to drink, repeating the cycle he had already convinced the courts he had broken.

“As soon as he drinks there are two sides to him,” they continued to explain. They detailed how they were bullied by Brunner under the influence, called names, and kept from working and simply relaxing.

The victim stated that as a result of Brunner’s behavior, there were times that she had to stay with her daughter for fear of his actions under the influence.

At one point during the victim’s statement, defendant Brunner started shaking his head and almost started to verbalize his response, saying “Come on,” under his breath, when attorney Warner took his arm and shook her head, signaling him to stop.

The victim expressed that though they did not wish Brunner to be detained. But they requested that the judge stipulate that there would be absolutely no consuming of alcohol between now and when he was due back in court.

The judge asked DA Tan whether or not there had been any police report filed against Brunner since the last time they had spoken. Tan responded “Yes,” which the victim immediately corrected, shaking their head, saying “no.”

This answer confused the judge, asking the victim to explain why there had been no documentation. The victim stated that there had actually been an instance where police had been contacted. The DA’s office stated that they had not received any report of such a call.

“I hate calling the police,” stated the victim. “All you’ll do is let him go in a couple of hours anyway.”

Before the judge could continue, they mentioned that Brunner had been drinking three days of the last week—a violation of the terms he had been released on.

After hearing this, it was determined that Brunner’s monitor would have to be reinstated. Additionally, the judge cautioned him to be on his best behavior until his next court date July 21.

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About The Author

S. Priana Aquino is a rising Senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business with minors in Legal Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and continue her work in uplifting and advocating for communities of color.

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