Tuesday, September 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano judge tosses rape conviction, sets new trial

By
From page A3 | January 25, 2014 |

VALLEJO — Johnny E. Tatum was sitting a week ago in jail waiting to receive a life sentence for raping a 15-year-old girl, the daughter of his ex-girlfriend.

Judge Dwight Ely this week took the extraordinary step of throwing out a jury’s guilty verdict, reached after two days of deliberation in July 2013. Ely also threw out Tatum’s conviction on rape and gun charges.

Tatum was in court briefly Friday – he remains locked up since his 2011 arrest – and heard prosecutors say they want a new trial on the same charges for Tatum. Ely scheduled the trial for March.

John Coffer, Tatum’s defense attorney, is troubled the District Attorney’s Office is still pursuing the case against Tatum, even after its own investigation turned up evidence that the 15-year-old accuser conspired with her mother to make up the rape claim.

Coffer, a former prosecutor who is widely regarded as one of the area’s top criminal defense attorneys, turned up text messages from the accuser’s mother to Tatum’s wife sent five weeks after the trial in which she mocked Tatum’s wife and admitted to putting her daughter up to lying.

Before Ely threw out the conviction, the mother took the witness stand and invoked her right against self-incrimination as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer questions about the text messages.

“I have no doubt that the DA’s Office will not prosecute the complaining witness for perjury nor will a case be brought against the mother for putting her up to it,” Coffer said. “It is in my view very damaging to the justice system that this act, which does corrupt the system, will go unpunished, and unheard of by the public. I am concerned that the public will never know how much damage was almost done to an innocent man in its name.”

Prosecutors concede that the damning text messages are probably from the girl’s mother but say there’s some uncertainty, therefore the messages should be ignored.

The case against Tatum began in early 2011 when the girl told a Sacramento sheriff’s deputy that she had been raped nearly a year earlier by Tatum in his car, which was parked in an isolated spot along the Vallejo waterfront. Seven months later, shortly before Tatum’s arrest, a Vallejo officer interviewed the girl a second time and while some of her story changed, she still said Tatum had a gun with him at the time of the attack.

During Tatum’s trial, the girl took the witness stand and described what Tatum did to her. Her testimony was about the only evidence jurors saw from prosecutors. Throughout her testimony, she was facing away from the jury and she kept her face covered with her hands.

Coffer described the girl’s time on the witness stand as “farcical,” adding that after she was done the prosecutor told him and Ely that he was thinking about dropping the charges against Tatum. Instead, the prosecutor put the girl’s foster mother on the witness stand. She testified that the girl showed her text messages on her cellphone from Tatum, mentioning the rape. The foster mother said she lost the phone in her house, which she said was too messy for her to find it.

A second trial, while scheduled, is not a certainty. Prosecutors recently told Coffer the accuser cannot be found and has fled her foster home for parts unknown.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Skeptic ScroogeJanuary 25, 2014 - 4:02 am

    If Tatum texted about the rape to the victim, depending on the wireless carrier, the texts could be subpoenaed. I know att keeps records of all outgoing texts. So if Tatum had att, he could prove his innocence....or not...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • sammyJanuary 25, 2014 - 2:40 pm

    i smell setup for sure by this little brat n her 2 moms how can ex b so hateful n can make her daughter lie n this little worm isn't even good at her lies.?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RalphJanuary 25, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Obviously there is more to this case then what is being told here. Is there a Jury? and when did this happen? Hire a lawyer and convict that kid.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Voters who have moved urged to check registration

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
.

US / World

5 more bodies found at Japan volcano; toll now 36

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

By The Associated Press | From Page:

45 dogs dead, 48 alive after North Las Vegas fire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police link 2nd case to missing Va. student arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Netanyahu: Hamas, Islamic State group share creed

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cancer doctor given 10 years for poisoning lover

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Afghan president sworn in, paving way for US pact

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police ease tactics in Hong Kong protest standoff

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Study: Recessions can postpone motherhood forever

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
White House intruder got far past front door

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Obama efforts to oust Assad pushed to back burner

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State closes in on Kurdish area of Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sacramento police seek suspect in dog’s drowning

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Shooing birds from Bay Bridge could cost millions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Governor signs bills to help those in foster care

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mountain View police ID gas victims as father, son

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
President Obama will go out with a war cry

By Doyle Mcmanus | From Page:

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
I’m unhappy with Phil and playing ‘happy family.’ What should I do?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

Community Calendar: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
They did. They do. Clooney/Alamuddin wedding No. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Football commands highest TV ad prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Developer asks for more time for LA football plan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Monday’s sports transactions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders fire coach Dennis Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Prep boys soccer: VCS still looking for 1st win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Charles sends Chiefs to 41-14 rout of Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Clippers return focus to team post-Sterling

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Giants have ample experience facing elimination

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dover installs catch fence for 2015 NASCAR season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Warriors happy to have core back, build on success

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

All-women sports show debuts with perfect timing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Autopsy shows Chiefs LB Belcher had CTE damage

By The Associated Press | From Page:

AJ Hinch hired to manage Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Phil Mickelson saves best shot for his captain

By The Associated Press | From Page:

MLB batting average lowest since 1972 – before DH

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Wild, wild SEC West set for historic day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kershaw 1st to lead majors in ERA 4 straight years

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP source: 7 umpires rotate at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Pagenaud joins Penske for 2015 IndyCar season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Texas’ Strong tells Goodell colleges can do better

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hornets await NBA investigation into Taylor

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Trout, Strasburg giving playoffs a fresh look

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NC State coach: No. 1 Florida State faked injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A’s Lester, Royals’ Shields in AL wild-card focus

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders’ season spinning out of control

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Harbaugh dismisses reports of 49ers discord

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
3-way race for NL MVP; Trout takes his turn in AL

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stewart never considered retiring after Ward death

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Bank of America paying $7.65M to resolve inquiry

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Microsoft to offer early look at next Windows

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US stocks head lower, following drops overseas

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in August

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Wizard of Id Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baby Blues Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Discover Solano Fall/Winter 2014

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS2

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Historic Downtown Winters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Napa County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS20

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Western Railway Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Yolo County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS29

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Fire Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Plein Air Gallery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Marina

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Dixon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS33

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano Town Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun Valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Glashoff’s Studio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS40

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Wine Tasting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Manka’s Corner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rio Vista

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS42

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS43

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: DIS45

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rush Ranch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Suisun Wildlife Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Grizzly Island

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS48

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Nut Tree Plaza

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS50

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS52

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Symphony

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Mare Island Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Children’s Wonderland

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Baylink Ferry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Empress Theatre

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Flyway Festival

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS55

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County Golf Courses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS56

Discover Solano Fall-Winter 2014 Calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: DIS57

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sterling Winery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Safari West

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: UC Davis Mondavi Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Calistoga Hot Springs

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bale Grist Mill

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Petrified Forest

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters Opera House

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Robert Louis Stevenson Park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma Train Town

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vintage Aircraft Company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Casinos

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Scientopia Discovery Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Old Faithful Geyser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Sonoma Raceway

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Hot Air Ballooning

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60