COURT WATCH: Judge Cites Lack of Evidence in Dismissing Felony Charge of Threatening Crime  

By Kaveh Nasseri

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam this week dismissed a felony charge of threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, ruling the victim was not in sustained fear so there was insufficient evidence to support the charge.

The court learned that at some point after 10 p.m. late June 20, the accused had been allegedly yelling outside the home of his neighbor and coworker’s home, and, according to the prosecution, this neighbor feared for the safety of himself and his family, because the accused allegedly had previously claimed to have a weapon in his home.

Yet, said the defense, the complaining neighbor did not make a strong effort to contact the authorities, instead returning to his trailer after the night’s events. Three hours later, when there was another noise disturbance, the neighbor’s fiancé called the police, who subsequently arrived and placed the accused in handcuffs.

According to witness testimony, the accused yelled “who the f*** is at my door?” when the authorities first knocked, but opened the door when they identified themselves as Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies. He appeared drunk, said a police witness, who described his speech as being slurred.

In addition to the noise disturbance and the threat of violence, deputies said they were concerned about the possibility of domestic abuse.

However, the girlfriend of the accused, a self-proclaimed “First Amendment auditor” who films police officers and other public authorities, insisted that no domestic violence had taken place.

After being released from jail, the accused apologized to his coworker for his behavior that night, after which there were no further incidents.

At the preliminary hearing for the accused, Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson argued his client did not make a clear threat and that the victim did not demonstrate sustained fear, asking that the felony charge be dismissed.

He argued that the victim went back to his trailer and made little effort to contact the authorities after the incident, indicating a lack of urgency in their response to the events.

Judge McAdam agreed the victim did not demonstrate sustained fear, noting, “The court finds that the element of sustained fear has not been met.”

McAdam ruled the charge of threatening a crime was unfounded and dismissed the felony. He also questioned the claim the accused had a weapon, stating, “I didn’t get any evidence that the defendant possessed a firearm.”

In addition to the felony of threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, the accused had been charged with a misdemeanor for challenging a fight in a public place and another for a disturbance caused by loud/unreasonable noise. The first of these misdemeanors was dismissed along with the aforementioned felony.

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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