Houman Fakhimi

Can Fullerton Man Charged With Running Over Officer Get a Fair Trial?

Police in Orange County continue to have a challenging year.

As our Fullerton criminal defense lawyers pointed out on our blog recently, Fullerton police have had problems as officers have recently been charged with murder as well as groping a woman. Plus, a squad of officers raided the wrong house and never told their bosses.

And now a Garden Grove police officer was allegedly run over by a man from Fullerton, who has recently been arrested, The Orange County Register reports.

Charges of assault in Garden Grove can lead to serious penalties, including prison time. When the victim is a law enforcement officer or another kind of official, the charges can be enhanced.

What may be the most difficult issue about this case is whether this defendant will be able to find a fair and impartial jury to look at the facts. For one, police officers are exalted by jurors many times in terms of the credibility of their words. Jurors sometimes will take an officer at his or her word, but will dismiss other witnesses.

Secondly, in cases where an officer is a victim, the news media will almost always do a story. And they will follow the story, reporting on the incident and the things happening in the court case until it goes to trial. This keeps it in the public eye. The bad thing for a defendant is that it puts a bias into the minds of the prospective jurors out there reading and watching these reports.

So, the question remains -- can this defendant get a fair trial?

According to the newspaper, the 28-year-old man was charged with running over a motorcycle officer during a traffic stop. He was arrested in Riverside County.

Officers were looking for the man for the better part of two days when a motorcycle officer pulled over the driver of a green Infiniti with no license plate. As the officer was talking with the driver, he noticed he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

According to the news account, the driver was asked to step out of the vehicle, causing him to act nervous. The officer thought something else was wrong, so he patted down the man after he got out of the car.

While pulled over in a parking lot, the driver allegedly ran back to the car as the officer, who radioed for back-up, struggled with him. The man was able to put the car in reverse and the open door knocked down the officer, a 10-year veteran. As the man put the car in drive, he ran over the officer's legs, causing moderate injuries.

It's unclear what led police to arrest this man, since the story doesn't say if the officer was ever given an identification or if anything on the vehicle with no license plates gave him information about the man.

The newspaper doesn't state what charges he faces, but he will likely face charges related to an assault or battery, fleeing and other charges. Given that the officer is considered the victim, the prosecutors will likely levy as many charges as they can come up with against this defendant.

Contact the Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages are critical in defending against criminal charges.