A Black Lives Matter supporter accused of driving last year through a crowd of supporters of then-President Donald Trump won a round in court that could ultimately lead to her avoiding trial.
On Friday, Judge Michael A. Leversen ruled in favor of Tatiana Turner, who allegedly ran over two protesters in September 2020 in Yorba Linda, California, according to The Orange County Register.
Leversen ruled that Turner’s attorney was not given the chance to present witnesses or arguments during a preliminary hearing.
“The court finds the defendant was denied a substantial constitutional right,” the judge said.
Leversen said his ruling was not a judgment on the evidence against Turner but on how her hearing was conducted.
WARNING: Some viewers will find the following video disturbing.
A different angle of Tatiana Turner running over Trump supporters in Yorba Linda on 9/26/20
Turner is being charged with attempted murder & assault with a deadly weapon. pic.twitter.com/UZVcAVZHTV
— Tomas Morales 🇺🇸 (@TomasMorales_iv) September 29, 2020
After the ruling, prosecutors immediately re-filed the charges against Turner, which include attempted murder, mayhem and multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Turner pleaded not guilty.
A new preliminary hearing will be scheduled. At that point, a judge will rule if there is enough evidence against Turner to proceed to trial. If the judge rules there is insufficient evidence, Turner will walk free.
Turner’s initial hearing before Judge Beatriz M.G. Gordon lasted three days, but ended before the defense was able to call any witnesses. Gordon determined there was enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Public defense attorney Alisha Montoro filed a motion blaming prosecutors for the unusual length of the hearing.
“It is fundamentally unfair and a violation of due process to hold Ms. Turner, on charges where if convicted she faces a life sentence, where she was denied the opportunity to establish an affirmative defense merely because the time estimate provided by the parties was inaccurate,” Montoro wrote.
District Attorney John Maxfield tried to salvage the case by saying, “At the end of the day, the defense did an excellent job with the time they had. They haven’t shown they needed more.”
Video of Tatiana Turner running over 2 people in Yorba Linda CA at a BLM protest. pic.twitter.com/jaA405t94G
— Erin Thomas (@erinred78) September 27, 2020
The charges stem from a Black Lives Matter protest on Sept. 26, 2020, during which supporters of former President Donald Trump were also demonstrating nearby. The two sides eventually mingled, with scuffling taking place.
Turner allegedly got into a car surrounded by over a dozen protesters, accelerated, stopped and accelerated again, running over a woman’s head and a man’s leg.
Turner told police that protesters had flashed guns at her and that she acted in self-defense, but police said no guns were visible at the protest.
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