Deputy Public Defender Tells Jury to Acquit Accused on Primary Battery Charge

By Jonathan Lewis

WOODLAND, CA – Deputy District Attorney Preston Schaub and Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira gave closing arguments to the jury here in Yolo County Superior Court in a domestic violence case.

DPD Sequeira told the jury her client was not guilty of battery, but instead argued he was only guilty of the lesser charge of assault.

The accused is charged with felony violation of a protective order, felony battery with serious bodily injury, misdemeanor battery against a former cohabiting spouse, and misdemeanor contempt of court/violating a protective order.

The charges stemmed from a family fight involving the accused, his ex-wife, her brother, and her sister. While still legally married, the couple is religiously divorced and the ex-wife has a restraining order against the accused. The couple was together for 25 years and have three children together.

The accused went to the apartment where the ex-wife was staying with family members late last year when a physical altercation occurred resulting in injuries, a 911 call, and the accused’s arrest.

While PD Sequeira was giving her closing argument and reasoning with the jury to deliver a not-guilty verdict on the alleged crimes, she offered her own opinion on what the jury should take away from the partial video recording of the fight by the door.

“And if all of you at the end believe that that was a touching, which based on the video I didn’t see anything touch, and when she [the ex-wife] testified she said it was like a pfft, which seemed consistent with the video, so I don’t see how there’s a touching done during that portion by my client to her that would qualify for the simple battery against her from that altercation,” said Sequeira.

However, PD Sequeira went a step further when arguing her client was not guilty of the battery charges, suggesting her client’s conduct at most rose to the crime of assault.

“If you think he was trying to send spit out of his mouth when he did that and it just didn’t, then, hmm, maybe you might find that’s a 240. I mean, it’s within the parameters of the element, but I don’t know if there’s evidence of that, other than the video.”

PD Sequeira then submitted her argument on the basis that it would be reasonable for the jury to find her client guilty of assault but not the main charge.

“The defense would submit that maybe one of the lessors you find after you do your analysis supports a conclusion of guilt on the assault, but, submitted on that.”

PD Sequeira continued her closing argument to the felony and misdemeanor charges for violation of a protective order, stating that her client is likely guilty.

“The other charges are ones that kinda show how the presumption of innocence shifts a little bit more over here towards maybe not being innocent, right, because we have restraining orders, and we have [the accused] on video right next to [the accused’s ex-wife], so clearly there is contact between the two of them and there is a restraining order,” Sequeira said to the jury.

She added, “That’s an example of one of the ways that the presumption of innocence shifts from innocence to potentially more towards guilt or not guilty depending on what you do with your analysis.”

DDA Schaub succeeded PD Sequeira with his own closing argument, which was significantly shorter than PD Sequeira’s. Judge Tom Dyer then sent the jury to deliberate into the afternoon.

About The Author

Jonathan is a second year student at UC Davis majoring in Managerial Economics and minoring in Political Science and History.

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