After pressure from local officials, the San Francisco judge who released a deranged homeless man after he attacked a woman outside her apartment building this week has decided the suspect must now wear an ankle monitor. The judge claimed she changed her mind after seeing the video of the attack on television.
A judge under fire for releasing a man who allegedly attacked a woman outside her Embarcadero condo ruled Friday that the suspect must wear an ankle monitor…
[Judge] Van Aken said Friday that she had not seen the video when she ruled in the case. She saw it Wednesday on a TV in a restaurant.
“When I saw the video, I was frankly alarmed at the level of violence,” she said at Friday’s hearing.
The District Attorney apparently didn’t include the video as evidence at the hearing, relying on the police report instead. In any case, the video may have helped change the judge’s mind but there’s no doubt that public outcry and negative comments from local officials probably focused her thinking a bit too. As I noted yesterday, Mayor London Breed said, “I think the judge, unfortunately, made a huge mistake. [The homeless] person is a danger to society.” Supervisor Matt Haney who represents the district where the victim lives said this:
“People with serious mental health needs should not be released back onto the street without adequate treatment or services,” Haney added, saying that without additional information Van Aken’s decision to release Vincent “doesn’t make any sense to me. From what I know, he should have been kept in custody, and received serious mental health treatment and services.”
That was mild compared to the reaction of the San Francisco Police Officers Association which recommended Judge Van Aken be reassigned to traffic court, calling her “a catastrophe of a criminal judge.”
Paneez Kosarian was attacked Sunday by 25-year-old Austin James Vincent. Vincent was arrested and pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment, battery, and attempted robbery. Judge Christine Van Aken put Vincent into a pretrial diversion program over the objection of the District Attorney. That decision didn’t sit well with Kosarian who tweeted video of the attack to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. As you can see in this clip, this was a violent attack. What you can’t see is that before it began Vincent was ranting about robots taking over the world and his desire to kill the woman/robot at the reception desk inside the apartment lobby.
@GavinNewsom Please watch this video of me getting attacked at my front door less than 72-hrs ago. The man who attacked me was released this morning because the judge, Christine Van Aken believes that this man is not a danger to our community. PLEASE SAVE OUR CITY!! #savesf pic.twitter.com/XGzmtSLQpP
— Paneez Kosarianfard (@paneezkosarian) August 15, 2019
The judge’s theory here is that Vincent, who apparently doesn’t have a record, isn’t really a danger to anyone, he was just so high at the time he didn’t know what he was doing. But Kosarian makes a good point: “What is it preventing him from getting high and attacking someone else?” The answer at the moment is a drug addict’s promise not to get high and to check in with the diversion program. Maybe that will work out but, at a minimum, monitoring Vincent’s location until he faces trial for this violent attack seems like a good idea.