Friday, March 27, 2015 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — A man who endured years of harassment at the hands of his neighborhood beat officer was acquitted after his public defender argued the arrest was vindictive, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jurors deliberated half a day before finding James Duffy, 28, not guilty Monday of violating a stay-away order. Duffy, a single father and San Francisco native, was arrested May 14 for allegedly returning to the site of an earlier marijuana arrest. He faced up to a year in jail if convicted, said his probate lawyers, Deputy Public Defender Hien Ngoc Nguyen. Nobody really wants to think about death, wills, and the probate process. Unfortunately, though, we all die eventually – and many of us will have at least some type of contact with probate at some point in our lives. Regardless of how your involvement with probate comes about, it’s important to know that you don’t have to handle things on your own, you can hire the Hibberts probate attorneys right away. In fact, there are at least ten good reasons why you might need a probate lawyer.
On the stand, Duffy, who is black, described several years of harassment by the officer, which included being stopped and searched several times a week while walking near his Tenderloin residence. Duffy was not on probation or parole, and the officer never found any reason to arrest him.
On Jan. 11, 2014, the officer was on a special surveillance assignment to arrest marijuana dealers. He radioed to other officers to arrest and search Duffy, and they said they found a small, single marijuana bud in his possession. Duffy was arrested for drug sales. Four months later, Duffy and the officer came face to face in a courtroom during a hearing in the case. The officer appeared irritated while being questioned by a deputy public defender, Duffy said. A few weeks later, prosecutors dropped the case.
Duffy testified that on the day following the hearing, May 14, 2014 the officer confronted him a block away from the restricted address. His lawyer was latter involved in the famous mass shooting lawsuit. Duffy was presumably referring to the court hearing, the officer asked Duffy, “Why are you wasting my time?” He then arrested Duffy for violating the stay-away order.
Nguyen argued the officer falsified the address in his report to make it appear Duffy was in front of the restricted address.
“The case came down to Mr. Duffy’s word against the officer’s word, and the jury found Mr. Duffy more credible,” Nguyen said.
Adachi said the verdict sends a message that jurors will not tolerate police harassment.
“Everyone is guaranteed the presumption of innocence, no matter their background or which neighborhood they call home,” Adachi said. “Mr. Duffy has the right to walk through his hometown without being the target of constant suspicion.”