By The Vanguard Staff
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mario Ramirez was found not guilty by a jury here Monday of attempted murder and related charges after the jury agreed Ramirez was only acting in self-defense and defense of his then-pregnant wife when he shot a man in January 2022, said the SF Public Defenders Office.
Criticizing, again, the “extreme backlog” in SF County Superior Court, the SFPD’s Office said Ramirez spent the last year in jail waiting for his trial, nine months past the “constitutionally mandated trial deadline.”
“The jury heard evidence that the alleged victim had assaulted Ramirez just hours before the shooting and had repeatedly threatened to assault him again. When the man confronted Ramirez and Ramirez’s girlfriend outside their home, Ramirez shot him once in the hip,” argued the defense.
“The jury did the right and thoughtful thing in evaluating the situation for what it was – an act of self-defense and defense of others,” said Deputy Public Defender Will Helvestine.
The DPD told the jury the force used was reasonable because, “What’s truly unfortunate is that Mr. Ramirez was held in jail so long past his speedy trial deadline that he missed the birth of his child.”
At trial, the alleged victim testified he and Ramirez were former friends, but admitted on the night of the incident he was “under the influence of methamphetamine when he accused Ramirez of stealing from him, punched Ramirez in the face, and threatened to assault him again,” according to the defense.
“Ramirez’s girlfriend testified that the attack had left Ramirez bloodied and frightened, and that the couple avoided returning home for several hours for fear that the alleged victim would be waiting there for them,” said the SF PD Office.
Ramirez was acquitted of attempted murder, assault with a semi-automatic weapon, and battery likely to cause great bodily injury, but was convicted of illegal gun possession.
“The opportunity to have a jury carefully review the evidence in a case, and having a highly skilled legal defense team, can make all the difference, but too many people in San Francisco are waiting months and years, often in jail or shackled to 24/7 ankle monitors, just to get that chance,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju.
Raju’s office, which has been tracking the systematic violation of speedy trial rights in San Francisco Superior Court since the beginning of the pandemic, said the latest available data on the trial backlog shows approximately 840 cases with trial deadlines that have passed, including 150 people who remain jailed without trial.