FAIRFIELD — A rookie deputy public defender, in her first jury trial since becoming an attorney a few months ago, beat the prosecution in a two-day trial.
It took jurors an hour to find a homeless man, Matthew W. Haskins, not guilty of a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge. His attorney, Catherine W. Kimel, left the courtroom smiling with a coworker while the prosecutor left wearing a stern look on his face.
The verdict came after a Sheriff’s Office security officer testified that Haskins tried to punch her, after a county probation officer testified he helped the security officer arrest Haskins and after a sheriff’s deputy testified that Haskins told him he had harassed a woman.
Haskins, 36, had been walking barefoot near the Fairfield courthouse on the afternoon of March 13 when he encountered a woman getting out of her car. The woman was frightened and told the nearby security officer she had been harassed. A short time later, Haskins walked by the lobby of the Probation Department, where the security officer was working.
The security officer testified she asked Haskins to stop and he kept walking. She followed him and caught up to him, and he turned and raised his fists. Then she pulled a baton and wrestled him to the ground, arresting him with the help of the probation officer.
Haskins denied harassing anybody, testifying that when he stopped and turned around, the security guard already had the baton raised and he had just raised his hands to protect his face.
“He was just a free citizen, walking down the street, minding his own business when he was approached from behind,” Kimel told jurors. “He did not commit any crime.”
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.