I am sorry, but I believe Ms. Simmons has provided her side of the story - herself, attorney(, family, church support. I can't image any good reason to hurt any individual in such a fashion. Once said and done, Ms. Simmons I hope you get help that it "appears" you need. If someone had done the same to any family or friend of yours, would you believe that there would be "another side" to the story that would justify those actions?
Defense attorney says he's ready to tell Jacquetta Simmons' side of the story to jury
Submitted by Howard Owens on August 21, 2012 - 4:11pm
So far, according to attorney Earl Key, Jacquetta Simmons, the 26-year-old Batavia woman accused of hitting a 70-year-old Walmart employee on Christmas Eve, hasn't had a chance to tell her side of the story.
"There's only been one side of the story up to this point reported in the media," said Key following the completion of jury selection in the Simmons case. "Our side will come out in the courtroom, not the media."
Simmons is facing one felony count of assault in the second degree with an accusation that Simmons struck a person 65 years or older while being at least 10 years younger than the alleged victim.
Simmons is accused of striking Grace Suozzi, who was working as a cashier the afternoon of Christmas Eve when she reportedly asked Simmons and her brother to produce a receipt for items in a bag her brother was carrying.
During jury selection, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman asked each prospective juror about their attitudes toward employees who ask customers to show receipts before leaving a store.
Today, one juror, who said he came into the court yesterday with no prior knowledge of the case, told Friedman that what he gathered from prior questioning of prospective jurors was that the defendant had been profiled on Christmas Eve based on her race. He said he disagreed with the practice and, after admitting he couldn't be an impartial juror, was dismissed.
Eight jurors were picked yesterday, and the final four plus three alternates were chosen today.
Yesterday during jury selection, prospective jurors were closely questioned about racial attitudes.
Today, there were few questions about race and none from defense attorney Ann Nichols, who today handled jury questioning for the Simmons team.
After court, Key reiterated that he doesn't believe the case is about race and he isn't concerned with presenting the case to an all-white jury.
"I've tried cases with an all-white jury before," Key said. "I've had black jurors convict black defendants and white jurors acquit black defendants. I don't care what color you are, so long as you're fair and impartial."
Key said all the talk about race being a factor has been in the media; it's not part of his case. Nichols added that most of the race talk around the case has been from readers leaving comments on stories on various news sites.
To the degree that race plays a factor in the case will hinge on a seemingly racially charged statement Simmons allegedly made during the confrontation.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini revealed the alleged statement during a hearing July 30 when arguing whether Simmons had intended to cause serious physical injury to Souzzi.
Proving intent of serious physical injury was a key part of count one of the grand jury indictment, the Class D felony of assault in the second degree, but last week Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charge.
"... the evidence before the grand jury of serious physical injury was not overwhelming and established only that the victim approached the defendant and the defendant withdrew from the confrontation after throwing the punch," Noonan wrote in his decision. "The grand jury could not have reasonably inferred from such evidence that the defendant acted with the culpable mental state of intent to cause serious physical injury."
With that second-degree assault charge no longer being presented to the jury, and no requirement to prove intent to cause serious physical injury, it's unknown if the jury will even hear the alleged statement by Simmons.
Under count two of the indictment, which Noonan upheld, the prosecution need only prove intent to cause physical injury.
After count one was reduced to a Class B misdemeanor, assault 3rd, Friedman moved to have the charge dismissed and try only count two.
The trial begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The 12-person jury is comprised of 10 women and two men and the three alternates are women.
Key said with all the media attention the case has gotten, the past several months have been stressful for his client. She dropped out of college, Key said. She's seen ugly comments left about her online, especially on Facebook, he said, and Nichols added that she's received hate mail at home.
"She's taken it all in stride," Key said. "She's looking forward to us putting her side of the story in front of a jury."
Photo: Simmons leaves the Genesee County Courthouse during the lunch break with Nichols while a WHAM 13 cameraman photographs her, and a member of the defense team finishing hold the courthouse door.
I might be a bit old fashioned in my thinking, but to the best of my knowledge I for one cant think of any reason that you might punch a store employee for doing their job and get away with it. Is there in any walk of life in the United States a siuation that would allow such a horrendous act? If you act out like an animal, then you should be caged accordingly.
"Key said with all the media attention the case has gotten, the past several months have been stressful for his client. She dropped out of college, Key said. She's seen ugly comments left about her online, especially on Facebook, he said, and Nichols added that she's received hate mail at home."
Gee I really hope this statement isnt an attempt to make us feel sorry for Jaquetta. Personally I wouldnt be able to keep my mind on my studies either if I had done something as reprehensible as she did, I'd be stressed over what my consequences would be. As for the ugly comments well...it's never pleasant when faced with the brutal truth of your actions. Cry about it all you want its part of the reason MOST people think about the connsequences of their actions BEFORE they do something like this, not afterward. Hate mail nasty comments and such are just the rewards you get for such behavior.