Self Defense Motion Fairs – Judge ‘Schools’ Defense Attorney on Worth of Evidence
By Jose Medina
WOODLAND – Evidence in court is a powerful sword – but Judge Peter M. Williams told a defense attorney he didn’t and ruled against his motion.
Last week, Defendant Jeffrey Christian Nelson, charged with a battery that caused serious injury and a lethal weapon attack, was present in the Yolo County Supreme Court to petition the Yolo County Supreme Court to dismiss one of the two charges.
Nelson’s defense attorney argued that his battery should be dismissed with serious bodily harm because he was only acting out of self-defense.
Nelson is charged with attempting to gain access to the alleged victim’s home. After the victim asked Nelson to leave, Nelson allegedly broke a window and stood outside in a boxing pose while brandishing a knife, further provoking the victim. The victim said he pounced on Nelson to protect his family and was stabbed by Nelson.
The victim’s sister arrived at the scene and hit Nelson with a baseball bat after discovering the victim was covered in blood.
Assistant attorney Joseph Gocke insisted that the defendant acted in self-defense based on surveillance footage the prosecutor saw about the incident. Gocke argued that Nelson only used the knife when attacked by the victim, who, according to Gocke, is physically taller than Nelson.
Gocke also argued that using a bat against Nelson justified Nelson’s use of his knife as an act of self-defense.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Novelli disagreed with Gocke’s arguments and asked the court to investigate the entirety of the incident. She stated, “We have a number of incidents which I believe show that Nelson did not act in self-defense and that he provoked this attack and that it unjustifiably escalated. “
Judge Williams concurred with Novelli’s testimony, saying, “The defendant appears to have tried to gain entry to the house, then broke a window and then waited outside, which is almost an implicit invitation to conflict and under a mutual battle scenario falls. “
Judge Williams also noted Gocke reaching for straws, telling him, “You are not creating your own direct evidence, which is the most effective way to achieve your own positive defense.”
He went on by reminding Gocke that “self-defense affirmative defenses are factual arguments and the facts set out in the preliminary transcripts show that this is more like a mutual struggle.”
The court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss battery charges.
Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and did an internship with the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.
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