VAN NUYS, Calif. - A jury has acquitted a Los Angeles Superior Court judge of misdemeanor battery in a dispute with a woman over the disposal of dog waste, CBS Los Angeles reported..
Last July, Judge Craig Richman had an
altercation with Connie Romero after she had left her dog’s excrement on the
street near the judge’s home in Chatsworth, in the San Fernando Valley.
Deputy City Attorney Josh Geller said Romero suffered minor injuries when Richman pushed her to the ground, causing her to fall face-first on the pavement.
Before the push, Romero admitted to flinging a bag of dog waste into the judge’s car, the station reported.
Defense Attorney James Blatt said, “I think Mr. Geller’s approach to this case backfired. I think the jury resented what he had to say. I mean, some of the things he said were offensive and amazing.”
Juror number 11 told CBS Los Angeles the verdict came down to self-defense.
“It was reasonable for [Richman] to think that he was in imminent danger of being unlawfully touched,” he said.
Juror 11 said the panel was split on whose story they found more believable, but on the issue of likeability, “I think the likeability factor was 100 percent to zero percent in favor of Connie. I think everybody liked Connie better as a human being.”
In the end, the jurors said they believed that Richman was truly afraid of Romero, and they had to follow the law.
“My sympathy was more with her. I hope that she has a civil suit and gets paid back for the injuries she suffered,” Juror 4 said.
The judge's wife spoke on behalf of her husband, who is prohibited from commenting about legal matters outside of the courtroom.
“This has been very hard on my whole family, especially my husband who is a very honest person. [Romero] is a sick person. And I’m actually afraid of her. I’m afraid she’s going to be in my neighborhood and she’s going to do it again,” she said.
Judge Richman’s attorney said the judge and his family plan to pursue legal action against the city attorney.