FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2021
CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office – Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org – (628)249-7946
SF Jury Acquits Woman Accused of Violating a Restraining Order
Ex-partner lied and set her up to fail
SAN FRANCISCO – Last week, a San Francisco jury acquitted a 28 year old woman of violating a civil restraining order that her ex-partner had told her he had removed after they got back together last year. Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Tan represented the woman in trial. The jury deliberated for 3 hours and found the woman not guilty because she had no knowledge that the restraining order was still in place and thus could not have formed the intent to violate it.
The two were in a relationship for eight years, and in 2019, the man went to civil court to obtain a restraining order against the woman, which she observed. In 2020, when the two ran into each other and got back together, he told her that he had the restraining order removed.
In January 2021, after the two had spent the day together, the man called for a police escort to get some of his things out of the woman’s car after a disagreement. When police ran her name, they found the active restraining order and arrested her. She spent four days in jail, was released initially on electronic monitoring, and has had to check in with Assertive Case Management and attend classes on a weekly basis since then.
“The law is supposed to act as a shield and not a sword, and her ex-partner used the law against her as a weapon to manipulate the situation to get what he wanted, leaving my client to suffer unnecessary consequences,” said Ms. Tan. “My client and I fought this case all the way to trial because she had been lied to and set up by her ex-partner, and the jury vindicated her.”
“Ms. Tan and her team skillfully presented the fuller context of this altercation. We are grateful that the jury understood that our client did not knowingly violate the restraining order,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju.
The defense team was led by Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Tan, and assisted by Investigator Danielle Thompson and Deputy Public Defender Eric Fleischaker.