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Jury acquits California judge concerning battery accusations

An acquittal of misdemeanor battery charges filed against a California judge means that the judge will be able to resume his job. He had been transferred to another position after the battery charges were filed in October.

The judge was charged with a misdemeanor count concerning a July 18 incident. The judge was accused of pushing a woman to the ground, and the woman alleged to have suffered minor injuries as a result of the confrontation.

As in many incidents of this kind, there can be two sides to the story.  The judge claimed that he stopped his car to ask the woman to pick up a bag of dog feces that she dropped upon the street.  He testified that the woman then became verbally abusive and pushed the judge after following him up the driveway.

After three hours of deliberations, jury members returned a verdict of not-guilty.  His attorney stated that the judge was now pleased to be going back to "a job that he loves."  

Unfortunately, charges such as this can continue to follow an individual around.  Though the judge was acquitted in this matter, there is still a possibility that he may be investigated by the California Commission on Judicial Performance, the commission responsible for disciplining state judges, concerning these allegations. However, his attorney feels that a transcript of the trial would make it obvious that no sanctions should be leveled against the judge.

As this matter demonstrates, a criminal offense charge does not mean the person charged is guilty.  Criminal defense attorneys need to remind juries and judges of this simple fact.  They also can provide their clients with a sense of hope that an arrest will not automatically result in a conviction.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Judge acquitted of battery to get old job back, attorney says," Jack Leonard, Feb. 6, 2014

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