On Nov. 14, at the Bass Lake court house, I came as a potential juror and stayed to attend the trial of Brian M.
Judge Charles A. Wieland conducted the trial and presided admirably over the jury selection process.
Brian M. was accused of an illegal left turn resulting in the death of a motorcyclist traveling the other direction. The motorcyclist came over a hill on Revis Road and slammed into Brian's PG&E truck while it was just entering an uphill residential driveway. This accident, which occurred on July 13, 2011, had no other witnesses.
The Madera County prosecutor presented his case. The defending attorney made a motion to dismiss the charge. Judge Wieland accepted the motion, after some discussion, having heard no evidence of a crime. So Brian was freed of the charge of manslaughter.
But has justice been served? For two years and four months, Brian has lived in fear that he might be convicted of manslaughter and have to spend a year in jail. The woman next to me gave further details: during the years after the accident PG&E could not allow Brian to keep his job as it involved driving. PG&E assigned him to light duty for a while, eventually letting him go. Brian is currently out of work. He had to tell his children, ages 4 and 8, that Daddy might have to go to jail.
Why did our county district attorney allow this unnecessary case go to trial when they had no evidence of a crime? Who knows how much this trial cost taxpayers as well as Brian and family in legal fees. To help Brian get back on his feet, I'm sending, via his attorney, a note of support and a small check. Hopefully he will be able to put this painful experience behind him.
Victoria Williams, Oakhurst