FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 26, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office | PDR-MediaRelations@sfgov.org | Valerie Ibarra (628) 249-7946
SF Jury Acquits Man Who Spent Five Months in Jail
After Defending Himself from Sexual Assault
SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco jury returned a verdict Tuesday of not guilty for Gregory Bolds, who had been held in jail for five months while awaiting trial on a single charge of felony assault from an incident this past May. Deputy Public Defenders Anthony Gedeon and Gabriella Rodezno represented Bolds, who told police on the scene that he was fending off a sexual assault, but the officers arrested him and never investigated his claim of self-defense. The jury deliberated for less than one day before acquitting Bolds and finally sending him home.
“The law says that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but Mr. Bolds was presumed guilty every step of the way until we were able to get in front of a jury,” said Gedeon, whose attempts to get Bolds released from jail before trial were denied by judges. As a result of being kept in jail, Bolds lost his job and one of his sons had to drop out of college to work to help pay his rent.
As a result of being kept in jail before trial, Bolds lost his job and one of his sons had to drop out of college to work to help pay his rent.
On May 25, police were called to a residential building after a neighbor heard a commotion inside a neighboring apartment and heard someone yell for help. Police spoke to Bolds, who remained on the scene and told an officer that he had fought off a sexual assault by a person whom he had met earlier that night. But that officer failed to tell their superior and never investigated that claim. Instead, Bolds was arrested and accused of assault.
The neighbor who called police and testified at trial said that he was suspicious of Bolds, a Black man, because he had never seen him before, even though he admitted that lots of visitors he doesn’t know often come and go from that building. The alleged victim in this case, who suffered bruising from the incident, refused to testify.
“We thank the jury for their service and for seeing that the state’s evidence was based on an incomplete investigation and relied on the testimony of a racially biased witness,” said Rodezno.
“After several unjust months of incarceration, Mr. Bolds’s right to a trial ultimately secured his release, highlighting the extreme importance of a speedy trial right,” said Public Defender Mano Raju, whose office continues to fight to protect this right for felony cases and restore the right for people charged with misdemeanors. “I commend the defense team for giving Mr. Bolds a chance to tell his side of the story that had been ignored by police and prosecutors.”
The defense team included Deputy Public Defenders Anthony Gedeon and Gabriella Rodezno, Investigator Collin Olsen, and Paralegal Susan Larsen.