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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Gabrielle and Michelle Lemos Guilty of PC 148(A)(1)

Santa Rosa, CA  –  August 31, 2016  –  District Attorney Jill R. Ravitch has announced that defendants Gabrielle Lemos, 19-years-old, and her mother Michelle Lemos 48-years-old, both of Petaluma, were found guilty earlier today by a jury of violating Penal Code section 148(a)(1) (resisting, obstructing, or delaying a law enforcement officer.)  The trial was presided over by the Honorable Gary A. Medvigy.  

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This case is an example of the potential usefulness of body worn cameras. The jury had an opportunity to view the video and compare it to the testimony of the witnesses.  Their verdict reflects what the video showed – that the defendants violated the law.  We appreciate the work by the jury in delivering a just verdict. “  

The charges resulted from a June 13, 2015 contact by Deputy Marcus Holton, who stopped on Liberty Road in Petaluma because of a truck blocking the road and screaming coming from the area.  As Deputy Holton tried to determine if he’d come upon a domestic violence related incident, he was physically assaulted by Gabrielle Lemos who smashed past him to get between the deputy and her 23-year-old intoxicated sister, Karli.  Gabrielle Lemos then began berating Deputy Holton, poking him in the chest, and continually resisting his attempts to calm her, her sisters, and her mother, and to assess the situation.  He eventually asked Gabrielle Lemos to turn around.  However, Lemos pulled away from him and was immediately shielded from arrest by her mother and other sister Chantee Labruzzi.  For the next 13 minutes all four women berated the deputy, screamed at him, resisted any and all attempts to assist him in completing his investigation, and demanded a female deputy.  

At the outset of the trial, the racially charged jail phone calls Gabrielle Lemos made from the jail were determined by the Court to be too prejudicial to present to the jury.  Nevertheless, prior to the conclusion of the trial, the Court, on its own motion, ruled the jail phone calls to be admissible.  When ruling, the court addressed the defense team of misleading the court on how the case would be presented, and found that the defense arguments made everything, including the deputy’s race (Deputy Holton is African-American) and the comments on it by the Defendants, relevant.   

Each Defendant testified on her own behalf and adamantly denied all the conduct captured on the body worn cameras.    

The jury deliberated for under 2 hours.  The defendants were put on supervised release by probation pending sentencing, which will occur on September 19, 2016 at 8:30 am in Department Four.  

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jenica P. Leonard, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Timothy Dempsey

 

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Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
Contact us by Phone
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600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273
 

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