Friday, February 3, 2017 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco— A 25-year-old woman accused of attacking her designated driver after a drunken night at a strip club was acquitted of all charges after a jury determined she acted in self-defense, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jurors on Thursday found Santa Rosa resident Taylor Roberson not guilty of one count of battery with serious bodily injury and one count of simple battery. If convicted, she faced up to a year and a half in jail, said her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Natividad.
After being ejected from Little Darlings on Columbus Avenue in the early hours of Aug. 6, Roberson and her friend, a 26-year-old Novato woman, headed back to the North Bay.
They got as far as the Marina District before an argument broke out over Roberson allegedly exiting the car at stoplights to film a Facebook Live video. The woman then ordered Roberson out of the vehicle. When she grabbed Roberson’s purse to give to her, Roberson punched her five times in the face and kicked her once in the face, she claimed. The woman called 911, but drove away before police arrived.
Three days later, she reported the incident to the police, claiming she was not intoxicated at the time and that the attack left her with two black eyes and in need of dental surgery. Roberson was arrested more than a month later.
During the trial, Roberson testified that the complaining witness, contrary to her claims, was extremely drunk behind the wheel. As she weaved through traffic, Roberson insisted they stop for food so the woman could sober up. The woman refused, and an argument ensued. The woman threw Roberson’s purse out of the window, but kept her debit card. The complaining witness struck Roberson first as Roberson attempted to get her card back. Roberson defended herself as the woman pushed her out of the slowly moving car, stranding her on Chestnut and Franklin streets at 3 a.m., she testified. Roberson suffered numerous scrapes from the incident.
Natividad argued that Roberson believed her life was in danger based on a similar, nearly fatal incident she endured at18.
The complaining witness also took the stand, contradicting herself numerous times and failing to remember key details of the night despite her insistence that she was sober, Natividad said.
“The jury simply did not find the complaining witness credible. She couldn’t articulate what happened, while Ms. Roberson’s testimony was detailed and honest. Jurors later said they believed both women were drinking, and the wrong woman was charged,” Natividad said.
Adachi praised the jury and Natividad for getting justice for Roberson.
“Ms. Roberson spoke up because she didn’t want to be driven home by an intoxicated driver. When that argument turned physical, she acted lawfully to protect herself. Thanks to a tenacious public defender and a thoughtful jury, she can put this ordeal behind her,” Adachi said.