Mistrial Declared in Tony Denunzio DUI Case The Santa Barbara Independent
Tony Denunzio, who was tazered 13 times and sustained broken ribs in what some witnesses described as a brutal beating at the hands of a Santa Barbara police officer in October 2011, is walking away victorious after a weeklong DUI jury trial.
The 12 member jury after 12 hours of deliberation came to an impasse on whether Denunzio was guilty www.bullsteamproshop.com/carlos_boozer_jersey.html of driving under the influence. They were 8 4 in favor of guilt. A Santa Maria judge declared a mistrial Tuesday afternoon, four days after the judge acquitted Denunzio on a separate charge of driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08.
Deputy DA Mai Trieu said afterward that she doesn't know if her office will pursue a new trial. That decision would be made by Thursday, she said, when both sides are back in front of Judge James Rigali. But Denunzio's attorney, Darryl Genis, thinks that would be unwise. "This case will never see the light of day again," he said. "Humpty Dumpty, baby. All the king horses are never gonna put this one back together. It's done."
The incident caused an uproar in Santa Barbara, not because of Denunzio's driving but because of his violent arrest, which was partially caught on video. Patrol car footage shows Denunzio getting out of his vehicle in the Gelson's parking lot on upper State Street after he was followed there by Officer Aaron Tudor. Denunzio can be seen looking back toward Tudor, who quickly jumped out of his cruiser, telling Denunzio, "Stay in your car." When Denunzio slowly turned his head away from the officer, Tudor came up behind him, grabbed his left arm, and pushed him toward Denunzio's SUV.
Tudor then a four year veteran of the department performed a leg sweep, and Denunzio fell to the ground. Soon after Tudor started striking Denunzio with his knee and his open palm. (Witnesses described closed fist punching.) Denunzio then looked to be on his knees with the officer sort of straddling his back, but both of their faces were out of the camera's view. Tudor could be seen using his Taser in the "drive stun" mode, which reduces its effectiveness. He didn't deploy the more powerful wires, Chief Cam Sanchez said at a press conference following the incident, because of the close range. He didn understand what was happening. the fuck am I being arrested, and why is he beating me up, Denunzio asked the police. did I do? the days following, Police Chief Cam Sanchez came to Tudor's defense, explaining that sometimes police work isn't pretty. The DA's Office interviewed more than a dozen people who witnessed the incident before declining to file resisting arrest charges against Denunzio. No excessive force charges were filed against Tudor. After the publicity that followed the incident, the DA's Office requested the case be moved to Santa Maria. The first purported illegal lane change seemed questionable, as Denunzio chose one of two lanes where Las Positas grows from a single lane highway to two lanes. Without using his blinker, he then maneuvered around a car at a light and then back into the lane once he made the pass.
According to reports, Trieu told the jurors in her closing arguments that while they may not agree with how Tudor handled the traffic stop, their job was to determine if Denunzio was under the influence while driving. "Pay attention and focus on the defendant's actions, and determine he was not acting like an ordinary, sober person," Trieu was quoted by the Santa Barbara News Press as saying. She also noted Denunzio didn't pull over immediately after Tudor turned on his flashing lights.
Genis described Denunzio's actions on the road as "driving errors that we ordinary citizens make on a daily basis even though we don't have any alcohol in our system. People do not drive perfectly even though we don't have any alcohol in our system."
The jury was only considering one count this week, as the judge last Friday granted Denunzio's motion for acquittal on the other charge driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. On that charge, Genis argued that blood alcohol tests are circumstantial evidence. With circumstantial www.warriorsteamproshop.com/wilt_chamberlain_jersey.html evidence, if there are two or more reasonable conclusions and one suggests innocence and another guilt, the one pointing to innocence must be accepted.
An expert for the prosecution admitted Denunzio could have had a 0.079 percent blood alcohol level at the time of driving, Genis said, and the judge sided with him in his argument that it would not be appropriate to extrapolate back to the time Denunzio was driving. Trieu said her office stood by the filing of that charge and that the judge should have allowed the jury to make the decision.
Denunzio isn't the first person to allege that Tudor used excessive force in an arrest. Britteny Cotledge also represented by Genis, along with Los Alamitos based Thomas Beck filed a federal lawsuit in October, naming Tudor, another officer, the city of Santa Barbara, and Police Chief Cam Sanchez. In the suit Cotledge alleged Tudor and the other officer, Kyle Crooks, "without warning or lawful justification violently grabbed [her] and rammed her against the vehicle breaking plaintiff's upper right arm." She also has alleged the hood of the car was hot, and she "pleaded to be taken from the hood and complained of pain to no avail." The defendants have denied the allegations in that suit.
Officer Tudor is a menace to our community and the City needs to find a way to terminate him before he causes even more serious problems. A neutral jury, demanded by the DA Office in Santa Maria, at the inconvenience and expense to DeNunzio heard lengthy testimony from Tudor and others and what cost, and didn convict, in what otherwise should have been a slam dunk case for the DA Office. Next we get the million dollar judgment against the City for Tudor unjustified Wilt Chamberlain Authentic Jersey beating and tazering of DeNunzio, ala Rodney King. Enough already get rid of that menace.
This case obviously needs to stop here [an acquittal on one component of a DUI prevents retrial on the remainder], but the community really needs to look deeply into itself and answer the question posed over there for years [maybe decades]: will we tolerated thugs with badges who pretend to serve and protect us, but who really only serve their own agenda? It is a shame that the jury was not more distressed about their thuggish cop, because this should have been a quick NG on both counts, if not on the evidence, then on the jury power and duty to render just verdicts that might be inconsistent with evidence where the outcome enhances liberty. In the Founders time, there would have been fast acquittals [if any prosecution at all], and the offending "constable" would have been ridden out of town on a rail. We need not scour the Middle East for terrorism to fight we have it right here, and daily. Kudos to Genis for the hormones and insight and scholarship to resist the Hun at all turns.
So we just let Denunzio loose on the roads, where he has demonstrated that he does not have the good judgment to avoid driving after he has been drinking. Hopefully, he will not kill someone before he either goes to rehab to get off the booze or gets caught drunk driving again and gets convicted and taken off the road. I feel much less threatened by officer Tudor (who I will probably never encounter) than I do Denunzio, who could smash into me on any evening after he has had a few drinks and got behind the wheel.
I would rather encounter DeNunzio than Tudor also and not because I am afraid of Tudor, just what he can get away with. He can totally kick your a$$, then ask you out on a date, then arrest you and save you all. I think the check points and the sheer number of cops visible down town do a more than adequate job with out asskicker 101 tactics being thrown down on people in front of Gelsons. Denunzio will walk away with a good chunk of all of your tax payer dollars. Another trial will yield the same result, or better for Denunzio. Stop the bleeding, move on, and have some civilian oversight of the cops.
Well tonka, you could not have got that guess more wrong. I am old enough to be Tudor daddy. I was not defending Tudor (or condemning him either). My Carlos Boozer Authentic Jersey point is that drunk drivers are a dangerous menace in our society. It is my view that drunk drivers are much more dangerous than cops who may be too quick in delivering the smack down. There is a very simple way to avoid getting beat up by a police officer: simply be still and do exactly as you are told. There is no easy way to avoid the random drunk driver. I will take my chances with Tudor any day and I don even know the guy. But since I am an older gent and don get out much late at night, my chances of encountering Officer Tudor are very remote.
"They were 8 4 in favor of guilt." Let remember this was far from a not guilty verdict. I say as a citizen he should be prosecuted again, if not for our right to obtain justice as a society, but for his history. All you people crying foul about his arrest should realize your name could be published as the one he kills next time this alcoholic gets behind the wheel.
If this previously convicted drunk driver is convicted again give him jail time. Then his friends could send him postcards from different bars around town. ""Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members".
Pearl S. Buck
"Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members the last, the least, the littlest."
Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life
"The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. As Americans, we are blessed with circumstances that protect our human rights and our religious freedom, but for many people around the world, deprivation and persecution have become a way of life."
James Earl "Jimmie" Carter
Second, on the trial and resulting hung jury: The original vote was 6/6. That right, dead even. The vote went as high as 8/4 for Not Guilty, then swung as low as 11/1 for guilty, and it was moving back up, but after 12 hours over two days the jury decided they would not be able to unanimously agree. While that is neither an Acquittal, nor a conviction, it is proof that there was, and is, REASONABLE DOUBT because several of our fellow citizens (people the prosecutor hand picked) who heard and saw the evidence had a reasoned difference of opinion.