Tuesday, April 10, 2012 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — A man accused of flying into a violent rage after discovering a couple having an illicit tryst in his home was cleared of all charges Monday afternoon following a jury trial.
Jury members deliberated a day and a half before finding San Francisco resident Ricardo Politron-Sanchez, 43, not guilty of battery on a cohabitant and threats, both misdemeanors. The jury deadlocked on misdemeanor assault, which was then dismissed by the district attorney, said Politron-Sanchez’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ariana Downing.
Politron-Sanchez was arrested Feb. 21 after he and his girlfriend came home from a dance club to find her married cousin and the cousin’s boyfriend in their residence. Politron-Sanchez became angry and accused his girlfriend of letting the pair use their apartment for trysts, Downing said.
At the week-long trial, Politron-Sanchez testified that as he was showing the couple to the door, the man began behaving in a threatening manner. Politron-Sanchez picked up a small folding knife from a nearby shelf and pointed the folded knife at the door before telling the man to leave. Politron-Sanchez’s girlfriend, who mistakenly believed Politron-Sanchez would stab her cousin’s lover, jumped up and grabbed Politron-Sanchez, sending both of them careening into a mirror, which crashed to the floor.
Politron-Sanchez’s girlfriend then claimed that Politron-Sanchez held the knife over her head and threatened her as she picked up the glass. Over the following days, she added that Politron-Sanchez also hit her, kicked her, and pelted her with a beer can.
Politron-Sanchez’s girlfriend told several different versions of the incident to police, prosecutors and on the stand, Downing said. When asked to speak to an investigator from the Public Defender’s Office, the woman told Downing, “No, I’ve told too many different versions already.”
Downing said the not guilty verdict was due to a lack of evidence against Politron-Sanchez and the complaining witness’ changing story.
“Each detail of the story revealed evidence of her dishonesty. For example, she never mentioned a beer can to police at the scene or in her written statement. Later, she told an investigator that she was hit with the beer can while picking up glass. On the stand, she changed her story to say that she was kneeling down on the floor, her eyes raised to God,” Downing said.
Politron-Sanchez faced up to three years behind bars if convicted of all charges.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi commended Downing for untangling the confusing tale to get to the truth.
“This is a case where Ms. Downing’s exacting cross-examination revealed that the witness was untruthful in her statements to police. The truth of this case and the hard work of his lawyer ultimately set Mr. Politron-Sanchez free,” Adachi said.