By Shady Gonzales
MODESTO, CA – Jesse Linsley faced a preliminary hearing last week here in Stanislaus County Superior Court on domestic violence charges that, according to testimony, emerged from a violent scuffle on June 21, 2020.
The judge later set the case for trial.
The defense counsel began their cross-examination of the alleged victim in these crimes by asking her if she was still in love with Linsley. The victim responded with a simple “no.”
The victim stated that she “will always have a love for Jesse, but in love with him, like, to be in a physical relationship with him? That’s gone.”
Judge Carrie Stephens inquired about whether there was an affirmative defense being offered in this case that would justify the question, and if Linsley intended to testify to this affirmative defense. The defense counsel responded by saying “he possibly will, yes.”
An affirmative defense allows suspects to justify having committed the crime they are being accused of. If a suspect proves that they had good reason for behaving the way they did, they have the potential to be excused from all criminal liability.
Judge Stephens stated that she would allow “some latitude” and directed the victim to answer the question whether she was an “aggressive” person.
The victim responded by stating that she was not an aggressive person and she had never been aggressive with Linsley “because he is terrifying.”
She continued her answer after a moment, saying, “No, I am not an aggressive person, especially not with Jesse. I mean that’s not fair, I need to defend myself. I have been with him since I was 16.”
The defense counsel then asked if the victim was aware that her mother lives in Stockton. At this point, the prosecution counsel raised a relevance objection.
The defense attorney assured Judge Stephens that he would “tie it up in a second,” referring to the purpose of the question. After a moment, with no response from Judge Stephens, Linsley’s defense attorney repeated the question.
The victim responded with a simple “yes.” The defense counsel then proceeded to ask if the victim’s mother has a restraining order against her because of her aggressive conduct.
The victim began answering the question with the statement, “First of all, that was a good question because it’s funny that” before Judge Stephens urgently interrupted her in order to address the earlier objection.
Judge Stephens then asked Linsley’s attorney to explain how the questions were relevant. The attorney argued that the victim’s answers to these questions would show her aggressive conduct and support the perspective that the victim initiated the struggle that occurred in June of 2020.
Judge Stephens sustained the prosecuting counsel’s objection and moved to strike the victim’s responses to these questions from the record.
Moving into his next set of questions, the defense counsel asked the victim if she recalled seeing Linsley text someone with his cell phone on the day that the crime was committed.
In response the victim testified that Linsley had been texting someone whom she referred to as “his wife, or whoever she is.” The victim testified that she had seen Linsley texting someone a couple of times that day but that he was hiding his phone from her while doing so.
The victim then described grabbing Linsley’s phone from him and Linsley hitting her various times and pounding her head into the pavement. She began to list more assaults that Linsley had committed toward her but was interrupted by the defense counsel’s next question.
The attorney then asked the victim if she recalled biting Linsley in the back during this time.
In response, the victim said that she did not bite Linsley in the back, but does have a scar of a bite mark on her back from a fight they had years ago when Linsley had bitten her.
Answering the same question, she also said, “I’ve actually been investigating this whole situation myself so it’s funny how you are connected with my mom.”
At this time, Judge Stephens interrupted the victim’s response and directed the defense counsel to continue his questioning.
Following a question that asked if the victim still emails Linsley, the defense counsel was prompted to offer proof of relevance for the question. The defense counsel argued that the question would show that the victim is still in love with Linsley.
Judge Stephens responded by clarifying that the victim has said “she doesn’t love him, like want to be in a relationship, but has a special love for him.” Judge Stephens then asked the defense counsel if they had evidence that contradicts that and moved to sustain the objection.
During the prosecution’s redirect of the victim, the victim described going to her 13-year-old daughter’s birthday party a couple of days with marks on her forehead as a result of the accused’s alleged pounding her head on the pavement.
The victim also clarified that the only reason she reported Linsley’s behavior on June 21 of 2020 was because she had to begin setting boundaries, not because that was the worst fight between them. She clarified that Linsley hit her multiple times during all of their fights.
Following the victim’s testimony, the prosecuting counsel called Deputy Officer Saul McNaul to the stand for questioning.
During Deputy McNaul’s testimony, he recalled the victim crying with an injured face and arms when he arrived at the scene of the crime. At the scene the victim had told the deputy that she was assaulted by her boyfriend, Jesse Linsley.
The officer stated the victim had told him at the scene that Linsley had grabbed her by her hair and struck her face against the knob of her vehicle twice.
After both the defense and prosecution counsels confirmed that they had no more witnesses or evidence to present to the court, Judge Stephens revisited her ruling on the objection made earlier in the hearing regarding the potential affirmative defense.
Judge Stephens stated that because there was no affirmative defense presented to the court about the victim’s history of aggression, she was now going to sustain the earlier objection and strike all responses to the questions related to the victim’s alleged aggressive behavior.
Judge Stephens concluded that there is sufficient cause to believe that the accused is guilty of a felony violation by committing felony domestic violence and the case would be going to trial.
Judge Stephens scheduled Linsley’s arraignment hearing as a prelude to trial setting for May 24, while specifying that Linsley would remain free until that time due to posting bail.