COURT WATCH: After New Vandalism, Judge Refuses to Reduce Charges against Homeless Man in Wheelchair

San Francisco Hall of Justice – Photo by David M. Greenwald

By Zainab Antepli 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco County Superior Court Judge A. Marisa Chun this week denied a defense motion to reduce charges from a felony to a misdemeanor in a recent arrest of a homeless man in a wheelchair for relatively minor, but new, vandalism.

Judge Chun, at the start of the preliminary hearing, declared her tentative decision was “to grant the defense’s 17(b) motion” (to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor) because the accused had a positive report.

However, the prosecution objected to the defense motion by noting the accused had been arrested in Santa Clara after the positive report had been filed.

Arguments over when the arrest occurred in relation to the date of positive report was unclear, as the defense cited the arrest “had been made in 2020.”

But, ultimately, it was agreed the arrest was more recent.

The accused was allegedly caught writing Hitler-related statements on a wall. Such statements included things like “hail Hitler” and the prosecution also noted there were reports the accused was “raising his arm straight out” as if to mimic the Nazi salute.

The defense stated the vandalisms were “sharpie scribbles” and the defense attorney added, “I’ll go buy a can of paint and rollers myself and paint over it” to reassert that the vandalism was in fact minor and not enough to sustain the felony charge.

The defense attorney also claimed the accused’s vandalism, although related to hateful ideology, had “no intent to harm” because they were simply writings on a wall.

The defense added the accused is unhoused, and suggested one of the reasons for the accused’s vandalism in the first place may have occurred to procure “necessary medical services” which had been denied to him by a community shelter.

The defense highlighted the need for medical services by drawing the court’s attention to the accused, who was in the courtroom, “wheelchair bound.”

However, the judge denied the request to reduce charges.

When the defense responded it wished to discuss the denial of the motion, Judge Chun denied their request, citing a lack of the court’s time as a concerning constraint.

Judge Chun set a future court date for the accused’s arraignment on the felony charges.

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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