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Court Notes (December 4, 2019)

Congrats to two Santa Rosa lawyers who try a lot of cases in Mendoland and serve the interests of justice: Andy Martinez and Chris Andrian.

The two trials started last week ended today, Monday, November 25, in a remarkable flurry of NOT GUILTY verdicts; the first in was the jury in the case that started last, the one in Judge Keith Faulder’s court, the case against Pablo Gonzalez, alleging three felony counts: Count One, a prohibited person with a firearm; Count Two, assault with a deadly weapon, a firearm; Count Three, theft of a firearm: All three verdicts came in: NOT GUILTY; this, after 45 minutes, which is generally reckoned a quick decision, and it is not uncommon for the press release composers at the DA's Office to maybe put too fine a point on the celerity of verdict when it falls to their advantage, suggesting, perhaps, that superior lawyering and a solid case always tells in the end; but when it goes the other way, and defense wins within an unusually short time frame (barely enough time to pick a foreperson) the prosecutors don’t seem to crow quite so loud. 

And then in the other trial, covered in here up to the point of the issues, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a .40 Cal. Glock, only the lesser count, Count Two brought in a GUILTY verdict and on the crucial issue, whether the defendant, Jim Nix, used the Glock to jab the complaining witness Pete Voldenik, with said Glock, in the chest multiple times; and it was on this point, on this particularly fine point, the jury deadlocked, causing Judge Cindee Mayfield to declare a mistrial.

A civil trial also ended Monday, and although I did not attend it, I know one of the Plaintiffs as my trusty Bartender, Lacy, co-owner of All Things Remote, on No. State St., who was suing Crush Restaurant over back wages along with a co-Plaintiff (whom I don’t know, but in passing, met her Dad in the Halls of Justice where he told me he was eager to go settle the matter man-to-man, so to speak, on his daughter’s behalf — there was a sexual harassment allegation stigmatizing the case), but Dad was told, by his daughter, he said, to stand down, and let the law take its course: the jury decided in favor of the Plaintiffs, and I’ll have some of the juicier details as soon as my bartender comes back on duty next week. Congrats to counsel for Plaintiff, John Henning. 

One Comment

  1. David Eyster December 4, 2019

    Mr. McEwen … Hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday and break from your weekly courthouse beat. In reading your article above, it caused me to partially scratch my balding head in surprise.

    First, yes, Mr. Gonzalez was found not guilty. It was a case that the community needed to decide and, by means of the jury system, the community has spoken.

    Second, I’m wondering where you got your information on the Nix trial. Contrary to your claim above, there was no “lesser” count charged against the defendant or decided by the jury.

    The defendant was charged with two entirely separate substantive counts. Count One charged the defendant with assault with a firearm against one victim, along with a gun use sentencing enhancement allegation.

    Count Two charged the defendant with separate assault with a firearm against a second, totally separate victim, along with a totally separate gun use sentencing enhancement allegation.

    The jury was hung on the first felony count 7 for guilt to 5. Because they were hung on the substantive count, they never got to the sentencing enhancement allegation. The jury then unanimously convicted the defendant of the second separate felony count and found true the special sentencing allegation as it related to the separate second victim.

    These trials can be difficult to report on when one can only be there part of the time, so I hope the information I am providing clarifies the real outcome.

    As Mark Lundholm is often heard to say, I’m not judging, I’m just saying….

    – DA Dave –

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