Thursday, December 16, 2010 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — A recent immigrant from Burma accused of pushing his wife so violently that she fell and hit her head on the sidewalk was found not guilty today by a San Francisco jury.
Jury members deliberated less than three hours Thursday before clearing 50-year-old Tun Sein of all charges. The San Francisco resident and restaurant worker had been charged with inflicting a corporal injury on a spouse, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and criminal threats. He faced a year in county jail if convicted of the misdemeanor charges.
His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Emily Dahm, said the jury was convinced of Sein’s innocence after hearing testimony from emergency room physicians, who could not find a single mark or scrape on Sein’s wife after she reported the alleged attack.
“She described being shoved so hard that she fell down the stairs and smashed her head against the concrete but there wasn’t a shred of physical evidence or a single witness to support her story,” Dahm said.
Sein, who has no criminal record, was arrested following a Oct. 23, 2010 argument with his wife and her sister over money. Sein, a legal immigrant, moved with his wife and two teenage children to San Francisco from Burma in February and was renting a portion of his sister-in-law’s house.
During the five-day trial, Sein’s sister-in-law produced a ledger in which she meticulously documented each penny she spent on Sein’s family. She testified that on the day of Sein’s arrest, both sisters had been angry that Sein had not paid her back for clothes she bought his children. Sein, who was the family’s sole supporter, insisted his sister-in-law wait until his next paycheck and accused her of charging him for hundreds of dollars in luxury skin care products she bought for herself during the same shopping trip. Sein’s sister-in-law threatened to throw Sein and his wife and children out of the house if he did not pay her immediately.
Sein’s wife told police that her husband fled the home during the argument. When she chased after him, she told police, he turned around and shoved her, causing her to fall down one to two steps and hit her head on the concrete.
“After listening to testimony, the jury did not find Mr. Sein’s wife or her sister to be credible,” Dahm said.
Dahm commended jury members.
“Mr. Sein came to America to live the American Dream and that dream quickly turned into a nightmare when he was falsely accused of a crime,” Dahm said. “The jury’s verdict is a testament to the American justice system and has renewed Mr. Sein’s faith in this country.”
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the witnesses called by the defense proved critical in exonerating Sein.
“The testimony of medical experts provided a credible, unbiased view of what happened—and didn’t happen—the day Mr. Sein was arrested, Adachi said. “The jury carefully considered the evidence and acquitted Mr. Sein.”