Defense Attorney Argues Client ‘Just Drunk,’ Didn’t Intend to Harm Officers – Judge Disagrees, Sets Trial

By Leslie Ortiz

SACRAMENTO, CA – Judge Delbert Oros at Sacramento County Superior Court decided this week during a preliminary hearing here there was sufficient cause to believe Addison Bruce is guilty and should go to trial, despite the argument made by the defense that there was no deliberate intent to assault police officers with a vehicle.

Bruce is charged in a “five count felony complaint,” which includes assault on a Sacramento police officer with a motor vehicle, making violent threats, preventing police officers “from performing their official duties,” and driving on a suspended license.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Brady called Officer Matthew Herman, who was working, on June 21, 2020, as security for a homicide investigation in Sacramento County.

Officer Herman said there were two patrol vehicles blocking traffic “nose to nose” with their lights on when he was notified that “a sedan had driven through his roadblock on the east side of the perimeter.”

According to Officer Herman, the gold sedan “was driving at a high rate of speed and…making a lot of turning movements around a lot of the…patrol vehicles and officers that were…standing around,” almost hitting other vehicles and people.

Officer Herman heard other officers yelling “very loudly” for the driver to stop but he did not.

According to Officer Herman, the driver of the gold sedan drove through the inner perimeter, passed the traffic block, and attempted to drive away after being told multiple times to stop.

Officer Herman “assisted in pursuing” the gold sedan and stated that the pursuit went on for “approximately a quarter mile” until a traffic stop was eventually conducted.

Herman said Bruce was the individual who drove the gold sedan, and he was not able to follow instructions.

A search of the vehicle was conducted and Officer Herman said he found “an empty carton of Budweiser beer,” and also observed objective signs of intoxication as there was “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” and he (Bruce) had “bloodshot watery eyes.”

Defense Attorney David Grow asked the officer if Bruce was “swerving around other patrol vehicles” and Herman said “correct.”

“Other than refusing to do the…field sobriety test and…take the…portable alcohol screening device test, was he otherwise cooperative with you” attorney Grow asked…Herman responded “yes.”

Defense Counsel Grow pointed out what he believed to be the “obvious,” which was that “this was not a deliberate attempt by Mr. Bruce to assault police officers.”

He’s “just a drunk driver who gets lost in a police barricade situation with no intent to…harm any officers. He’s just drunk,” Grow said.

DDA Brady argued “the crime doesn’t call for having the intent or the want to hurt the officers. It’s just the intent to do the act that constitutes the assault.”

Judge Oros agreed, noting “it was a general intent crime. It does appear…to the court that the offenses that’s charged in counts one, two, three, and four of the complaint have been committed” and “I find there is sufficient cause to believe the defendant is guilty.”

The next hearing was set for Dec. 9 for arraignment and trial setting.

About The Author

Leslie Ortiz is a junior at UC Davis majoring in Political Science and English. She is passionate about being a voice for those who are underrepresented and aspires to become a lawyer.

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