COURT WATCH: Jury Delivers ‘Guilty’ Verdict on 2 Minor Counts, Hangs on More Serious Charges – Despite Posturing, Prosecution Won’t Retry Man Who Threw ‘Twig’ at Officer

By Audrey Sawyer

WOODLAND, CA — The trial for a man tasered by police for throwing a twig at police (previously covered by the Vanguard) concluded last week when the Yolo County Superior Court jury found the man guilty of two misdemeanor counts and hung on two other charges.

The jury delivered guilty verdicts on assault on a police officer and one count of resisting/obstructing a police officer, both misdemeanors, but couldn’t agree on two other counts of felony resisting arrest. The assault verdict replaced a charged felony battery count.

The jury told the court it couldn’t come to a unanimous decision on the failed charges, voting 10-2 in both cases for acquittal.

The prosecution suggested it would retry the accused on those counts, but yesterday/Wednesday dismissed the charges and the accused was released from custody with a sentencing date of Dec. 20. He had been held on $50,000 bail.

The court heard the accused is noted to have several mental health illnesses, including insomnia, a mood disorder, and schizoaffective disorder.  

According to the foreperson, any additional arguments or information would not have resulted in a unanimous verdict, so Judge Samuel McAdam told the court that he would accept the verdict on the two counts. 

Deputy District Attorney Jesse Richardson pointed out last week that since the case is still without a time waiver, and the defense wants to reset it for a trial date, “I am not ready to dismiss the counts or anything like that today.”

Wednesday, the charges were apparently dropped. 

Deputy Public Defender Erin Dacayanan explained the accused has been in jail a “long time,” and even the guilty verdict on the misdemeanors would mean, at sentencing, it “would be time served on the two misdemeanors for which guilt was found.”

Dacayanan argued for the client’s release last week on no bail, but the judge only lowered bail to $5,000 from $50,000. The accused was finally released Wednesday on no bail. 

DPD Dacayanan said the PD has contacted a social worker asking them to look into whether or not there is a bed for him in the shelter in town, so that the accused’s release would not be without a plan. 

Judge McAdam asked if the release would include an order to engage in mental health treatment and medical compliance, to which DPD Dacayanan said that he would, and that he has been in custody since the date of the offense (Jan 29, so around 11 months). 

Judge Samuel McAdam denied the SOR request last week even after the two serious charges were found to be lacking by the jury. 

On the retrial, Judge McAdam argued—successfully, based on the decision to not retry the accused Wednesday, “I just want the prosecution to say what they will do at that time on retrial. The accused has been in custody for an extensive period of time. Under Humphrey’s analysis, he would have issues with public safety, and trouble appearing in court.”

About The Author

Audrey is a senior at UC San Diego majoring in Political Science (Comparative Politics emphasis). After graduation, Audrey plans on attending graduate school and is considering becoming a public defender.

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