I’ve been following the story of a retired Marin doctor and gun collector who was the target of an aggressive Marin county prosecutor in connection with the doctor’s self-defense shooting (see here and here). I’m too tired to write at length about it, but there is a happy ending, both for the man who defended himself and his wife, and for all people in Marin County who believe in their constitutional right to armed self-defense:
A Marin judge, saying the county’s top prosecutor got it wrong, tossed out the case against a Corte Madera physician who shot a Tiburon man during a confrontation at home after a traffic conflict escalated.
Judge Andrew Sweet dismissed “in its entirety” a grand jury indictment lodged against Dr. James Simon, saying District Attorney Ed Berberian “made an inappropriate presentation to the grand jury” that failed to tell jurors relevant details about the case, or told them details that had no relevance at all. The result, said Sweet, was “substantial prejudice.”
Had Berberian proceeded appropriately, “it is reasonably probable that the grand jury would not have indicted the defendant,” Sweet said. “There’s a lot of evidence to establish that the defendant acted in self defense,” and little to suggest otherwise, Sweet observed.
Berberian rigorously pressed the case himself despite legal setbacks, noting Simon kept 50 firearms, all legal, at his home, and had vowed not to become a victim.
Berberian initially charged Simon with attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. But at the preliminary hearing, Judge Kelly Simmons ruled there was insufficient evidence to justify a trial and said the prosecution did not meet the bare evidentiary threshold.
Berberian in an unusual move then took the case to a criminal grand jury proceeding in which he presented evidence without rebuttal or cross-examination. Berberian asked the grand jury to indict Simon on the same charges that Judge Simmons had tossed out. The grand jury balked, but given a chance by Berberian to consider lesser charges, signed off on them.
Read more here.