Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moore faces stiff sentencing options
following his conviction of assault

By Tom Nadeau

A Yuba County jury convicted James Archie Eugene Moore Jr. Thursday of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, to wit: a two-by-four and his foot.

When he returns for sentencing 9 a.m. Sept. 27, Judge Kathleen O’Connor has several options to choose from, because Moore decided not to fight the inclusion of his two prior felony convictions as sentencing factors.

O’Connor’s interpretation and imposition of sentencing options could put Moore in state prison a minimum of eight years, defense attorney, Geoffrey Wander explained.

The nine-woman, three-man jury’s verdict came after one day of trial, an hour or so of hours of closing arguments and about four hours of sequestered deliberation in the matter of People v. James A.E. Moore Jr., case #F-10-184.

The prosecution alleged Moore knocked a man unconscious with a board and then kicked him when he was down.

The jury did not precisely follow the written instructions for correctly filling out verdict forms and they were told to retire again until they had the paperwork properly done.

Guilty, but not of great bodily harm ...

The jury found him guilty of assault with a deadly weapon, but rejected the allegation that his beating of another man resulted in great bodily harm

Moore – a tall, bearded, robust man about 30 years old – cried briefly after the jury left.

The trial had been bifurcated into two parts. The jury would determine guilt or innocence in the first part. Whether the consequences of his two prior convictions would be levied would be decided in a second part of the trial.

Moore’s two previous "strikable" felony convictions derive from previous convictions. They include a March 2009 conviction for burglary in Sutter County, a previous grand theft conviction in November 2006 and for auto theft in June 2003, O’Connor recited in court.

Moore had the legal option of having the jury decide whether to impose the additional sentences, or leave it to O’Connor. He chose O’Connor. The jury was dismissed.

During the space of time when the jury had retired again to correct the filled-out forms, there was some whispered speculation in the courtroom as to what, exactly, the jury was striving to say with their verdict.

Some thought it look like they were looking to take a middle road by reducing the seriousness of the verdict, but – in the end – it was clear they had more or less opted for the tougher outcome.

The successful prosecutor in the case was Deputy District Attorney Michael A. Byrne.

Wander said there might be possible grounds for appeal, in part because of the scant evidence the prosecution presented.


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