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Judge denies expert testimony on behalf of homeless man

From: domainremoved <Tony>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 04:38:24 +0000

Homeless Santa Rosa Man's 2013 Murder Conviction Overturned

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) October 26, 2016 9:26 PM

A three-judge Court of Appeal panel unanimously ruled the trial judge should have allowed Sotelo-Urena to present expert testimony that homeless people experience violence more often than the general public and are therefore more sensitive to perceived threats of violence.

That testimony would have supported Sotelo-Urena's claim that he acted in self-defense when he killed Bloom after Bloom allegedly acted hostile and appeared to be drawing something from his pocket, the court said.

At the trial, Chouteau refused to allow expert testimony on Sotelo-Urena's behalf by a retired San Diego judge who was an expert on homelessness and the high rates of violence toward homeless people.

The appeals panel said that refusal harmed Sotelo-Urena's right to a fair trial because the proposed testimony "was relevant to the issue of defendant's actual belief in the need to use lethal force to defend himself from Bloom."

The evidence would have helped the jury understand the situation "from the perspective of a chronically homeless man who had recently been violently assaulted and was aggressively approached by someone he believed to be the assailant," Justice James Richman wrote.


I would imagine that if informants and others who have been directed by police to instigate an altercation with someone whom they are targeting that they would also be subject to the same ruling.


Tony Ciampi
Received on Thu Oct 27 2016 - 21:43:34 PDT

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