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