PD Argues Woman Not Violent, but Judge and Prosecutor Disagree in Misdemeanor Arraignment 

By Jojo Kofman 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A woman was arraigned Monday in San Francisco County Superior Court on a misdemeanor complaint, allegedly resisting an arresting officer while on duty—a public defender recommended the complaint be dismissed, but the judge disagreed.

The morning didn’t begin well for the accused—whose name is not being disclosed because the charge is a non-felony. She entered court and sat where she assumed to be the appropriate seat, but the bailiff told her to move a seat over.

Before she had a chance to move, before even 30 seconds passed, the bailiff said, “I need you to learn how to listen, then we won’t have problems.”

Deputy Public Defender Katie Bryant started the hearing by addressing the various counts against the woman in the allegations that were noted as acts of violence or force.

PD Bryant explained that while she spat in the direction of one officer, it wasn’t noted in the allegations that she kicked the officer, arguing, “There were no allegations that she used force, aside from resisting the officers…She kicked in an officer’s direction and allegedly lunged towards his groin with her mouth open.”

The PD added, “She was taken to the hospital after this incident because the officer said he thought she was having a mental health episode,” and explained the allegations are overcharged, and requested her client be discharged.

Deputy District Attorney Ashley Nicole Lee stated, “I would argue that spitting in someone’s face is a violent act, especially with Covid…She lunged head first to an officer’s groin with an open mouth.”

The DDA explained that because of the woman’s forceful act, the officer had to push her to the ground, and that, in all, “this fulfills the elements of a violent act.”

Judge Gail Dekreon stated there are sufficient charges to prove the charges, noting “spitting is a forceful and unlawful act, and violence is shown by her lunging at the officer.” 

PD Bryant on behalf of the accused, pleaded not guilty to the charges, arguing, “Law enforcement and medical officials who responded said she was not herself during the incident. These allegations don’t reflect who she is all the time. These misdemeanors/charges don’t reflect that she’s a danger to society if released.”

PD Bryant added, “Numerous personnel swarmed on her at the farmers market,” but Judge Gail interrupted, “Two people is not a swarm.”

“There were a lot of other personnel engaged with (the accused),” insisted PD Bryant.

DDA Lee told the court the accused has four recent convictions, similar to this case, in the past, and multiple bench warrants, stating, “These are not just misdemeanors, they are crimes. She is attacking officers who are there to protect and serve.”

“The arrests that prosecution mentioned are just arrests, not convictions,” responded PD Bryant, adding her client has a stable place to live with her mother in San Leandro.

PD Bryant requested the court release her client pretrial, asking “the court give her the opportunity to be referred to a treatment center out of custody.”

Judge Gail ruled “the court is concerned for public safety,” explaining when the accused was asked to leave the area of the incident, she acted violently against the officer, adding, “This wouldn’t have happened if she had just left.”

The judge ordered an in-custody referral to a case management program to assess the accused’s needs, and reduced bail to $500.

PD Bryant noted “she can’t afford to pay $500.”

About The Author

Jojo Kofman, from San Francisco CA, is a fourth-year student at the University of Vermont. She studies Political Science and Sociology and is passionate about addressing issues in the carceral system. She hopes to pursue a career in law.

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