VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A jury Thursday acquitted a Los Angeles Superior Court judge of misdemeanor battery in connection to a dispute over the disposal of dog waste.
Last July, Judge Craig Richman had an altercation with Connie Romero after she had left her dog’s excrement on the street near the judge’s Chatsworth home.
Deputy City Attorney Josh Geller said Romero suffered minor injuries when Richman pushed her to the ground, causing her to fall face-first on the pavement.
Before the push, Romero admitted to flinging the bag of dog waste into the judge’s car.
Defense Attorney James Blatt said, “I think Mr. Geller’s approach to this case backfired. I think the jury resented what he had to say. I mean, some of the things he said were offensive and amazing.”
Juror 11 told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen that the verdict came down to self-defense.
“It was reasonable for [Richman] to think that he was in imminent danger of being unlawfully touched,” he said.
Juror 11 said the panel was split on whose story they found more believable, but on the issue of likeability, “I think the likeability factor was 100 percent to zero percent in favor of Connie. I think everybody liked Connie better as a human being.”
In the end, the jurors said they believed that Richman was truly afraid of Romero, and they had to follow the law.
“My sympathy was more with her. I hope that she has a civil suit and gets paid back for the injuries she suffered,” Juror 4 said.
Richman’s wife, Roxane, spoke on behalf of her husband, who cannot comment on legal matters outside of the courtroom.
“This has been very hard on my whole family, especially my husband who is a very honest person. [Romero] is a sick person. And I’m actually afraid of her. I’m afraid she’s going to be in my neighborhood and she’s going to do it again,” she said.
Meantime, the city attorney’s office said it respects the jury’s verdict.
Richman’s attorney said the judge and his family plan to pursue legal action against the city attorney.