Domestic Violence Victim Claims Police Misunderstood, Incident Never Occurred and Asks for Protective Order to be Modified

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By Katherine Longjohn

RIVERSIDE, CA – An alleged deaf victim in a felony domestic violence case sought a modification in Riverside County Superior Court Friday, claiming the incident never occurred and that police failed to provide an interpreter and misunderstood the situation.

Judge Judith Clark turned down the request involving Ruben Sanchez, who is charged with inflicting corporal injury (physical injury) with a prior conviction within the last seven years.

According to police reports, on Oct. 31, 2021, Sanchez allegedly slapped the victim, his wife, four times on the face and pulled her hair so violently when she tried to leave the home it caused her to fall, injuring her.

He also was allegedly intoxicated at the time and removed his and the victim’s two-year-old daughter from the home. While away from the residence, Sanchez is alleged to have been careless with his two-year-old daughter and at one point walked by cacti where the two-year-old sustained some minor injuries on her legs.

The defendant has a history of domestic violence, with one prior misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, and was arrested for stalking in Orange County, according to the prosecution.

The victim has also reported four prior domestic violence incidents, one of which was reported to the police.

The conference Friday for this alleged crime began with the victim, who is deaf, requesting the criminal protection order currently in place against the defendant be reduced to a no negative contact order (prevents defendant from making negative or unpeaceful contact with the victim).

Deputy District Attorney Allison Gray opposed the suggestion.

Hopeful to reduce the length of the current protection order, the victim described how, on the night of the incident, police officers who arrived on the scene to interview her failed to provide her with an interpreter.

She now claims that, as a result of not having an interpreter present, she couldn’t effectively communicate with the officers, who misunderstood large portions of the conversation.

The victim insisted Sanchez never struck her and that any communication obtained from the officers about alleged violence on Oct. 31, 2021, is the result of a lack of an interpreter and misunderstandings.

“When the police officers came, they did not bring me an interpreter. They did not understand what I was trying to tell them. I was never hit…I did not want to file a restraining order,” the victim maintained to the court.

However, while an interpreter was not present, DDA Gray said that officers did communicate with the victim by writing on their notepads and exchanging text messages.

Defense Attorney El Hazin spoke on behalf of the victim saying that there was “grave miscommunication.”

However, Judge Clark asked, “how is there grave miscommunication over text?”

The victim responded by saying that she tried to tell the officers she’s “not very good at writing” and was in “need of an interpreter.”

After asking the victim if she has a phone and if she texts using that phone to which the victim replied that she doesn’t text often, Judge Clark asked: “So in other words, what I’m being told here today is that the officer made up the whole statement about the fact that communicated with the victim via text message? That’s what I’m being told?”

The victim said she was messaging with the officer but that she “has a hard time with English. (She) cannot write English and it seemed like the cop was trying to push it on me.”

Judge Clark acknowledged the potential for communication challenges, but ultimately denied the request to reduce the criminal protective order without prejudice (the defense may raise this issue again given there is more information or evidence obtained).

Judge Clark explained her ruling by expressing her doubt that the officer would lie about communicating over text with the victim and her concern for the child who was harmed while the defendant attempted to flee.

When Defense Attorney Hazin attempted to explain the child did not sustain her injuries while in Sanchez’ care, Judge Clark swiftly ended the discussion by saying, “Injured. Done. Thank you.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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