San Francisco, CA — A 35-year-old man accused of attacking a young woman at a bus stop in 2010 was released from jail after a jury acquitted him of a felony charge, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jury members deliberated less than two days before finding Samuel Valentine not guilty Wednesday afternoon of one count of felony assault likely to cause great bodily injury. Valentine was convicted of a lesser charge, misdemeanor assault, and sentenced to time served, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias. He was released from San Francisco County Jail Wednesday.
Valentine was arrested Dec. 29, 2010 on a San Francisco Municipal Transportation island on Ocean Avenue at Lee Street. A 20-year-old woman, who was waiting for the #29 bus with her 21-year-old brother and 25-year-old aunt, told police Valentine spit on her for no reason before slamming her head into the bus shelter. She suffered a cut to her scalp that required two staples.
During the day-and-a-half long trial, Valentine testified that the woman’s brother threw a punch at him after the two men began arguing at the bus stop. Valentine, who had no prior criminal convictions, struck back in self-defense, he said, and accidentally knocked the young woman’s head into the Muni shelter.
The woman, her brother and aunt also took the stand.
“Jury members believed the truth was somewhere in between Mr. Valentine’s version of events and prosecution’s version,” Elias said. “Unfortunately, police chose not to interview any of the independent witnesses to the incident.”
Adachi said the jury carefully weighed the evidence.
“After hearing testimony from both sides, it became clear that this case was overcharged,” he said.