By Sofia Hosseinzadeh and Madison Whittemore
MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves Monday refused to dismiss a man’s resisting arrest charge in a preliminary hearing this week, despite the public defender’s explanation the accused had no intent to resist arrest, but was suffering from severe arm pain and had fallen to the ground.
Upon receiving the initial complaint, law enforcement officers arrived at the scene when the accused was allegedly attempting to steal a wallet from a female victim with whom he was staying at a travelodge.
Deputy Public Defender Christopher Rhee noted the victim’s wallet contained $80 that the accused wanted so that the two could extend their stay—which is why the accused had possession of the wallet in the first place.
However, upon arrest for the initial robbery charge, the DPD said the accused collapsed to the ground and complained of shoulder pain which resulted in the officers attempting to drag his “dead weight” to their patrol car.
In fact, according to one of the officers, “All I felt was complete weight drop to the ground and pull against my arm that I had controlling his left arm.”
The officer explained he tried to lift the accused up but the accused did not move and told the officers he had severe shoulder pain—which is what prompted him to fall to the ground in the first place.
DPD Rhee interjected, suggesting the officer was underestimating how much pain his client was in at the time of his arrest, adding, “He (the accused) was screaming at the time that he was in pain.”
The officer conceded to DPD Rhee’s statement and also acknowledged that he didn’t actually see the accused fall, and just felt the weight of his body drop to the ground.
“I don’t believe that the evidence shows that the accused volitionally made any acts that would hinder the officers in the performance of their duties,” DPD Rhee said, providing evidence his client did not have the intent to resist arrest but was just in pain.
After arguing why the accused should not be charged with resisting arrest, DPD Rhee also appealed to Judge Reeves, and asked her not to hold the accused on the attempted robbery charge.
DPD Rhee referenced what the accused did after taking the wallet from the victim, explaining the accused was trying to just take his belongings held by the victim and did not actually take any valuables from the wallet.
“The officers did not have to conduct much further investigation in order to find the accused. He approached the officers as well as the victim on his own volition inside of the parking lot, Your Honor…Why was the $80 still inside of the wallet, Your Honor?” DPD Rhee asserted.
However, Deputy District Attorney Harmeet Dhillon disputed DPD Rhee’s claims on both counts, specifically noting the accused took the wallet, placed it in a drainage pipe, and then took it back to the ARCO gas station to the officers which according to Dhillon shows “even the smallest intention to deprive the victim of her property.”
After hearing testimony from several people including the alleged victim and several law enforcement officers, Judge Reeves found the accused did commit one count for robbing the female victim and an additional count for resisting arrest, concluding that there was “circumstantial evidence that he [the accused] intended to at least temporarily deprive her [the victim] of her property.”
Despite acknowledging DPD Rhee’s argument regarding the accused not taking any money from the wallet, Judge Reeves said the accused did originally “walk away” from the victim with her wallet.