Tuesday, May 01, 2018

People v. Brady (Cal. Ct. App. - May 1, 2018)

The Court of Appeal sometimes provides neutral insight into the lives of people with whom you are not typically personally familiar.  The first of May brings us precisely such a case.

The case concerns a man named Charles Brady, who lives on the streets of my very own San Diego.  The present offense involves a stabbing.  One that itself gives some insight into the lives of some of those less fortunate.

The story of the offense is this:

"Brady was homeless in downtown San Diego. To make money, he sold hats, costume jewelry, and the like to passersby on the street. Lincoln M., another homeless individual, was one such passerby.

Lincoln was initially drawn to the silver jewelry Brady peddled. The two struck up conversation and became acquaintances, though not friends. Brady learned that Lincoln sold drugs, shoplifted, and—like Brady—had previously spent time in prison. Brady never saw Lincoln carry a gun but knew, or at least strongly suspected, that he carried a knife given the dangers of living on the streets. The two had never argued nor fought previously.

Their relationship soured after a particular transaction. One night in January, Lincoln purchased two pieces of silver jewelry (a necklace and wristband) from Brady for $40. The next morning Brady ran into Lincoln and a friend near a San Diego trolley stop.

Lincoln told Brady that he'd returned the purchased necklace to Brady's "partner" and wanted his $40 returned. He twice threatened, "Diemu, you need to give me my $40 back before I stick you with my kazoo." Brady understood "Diemu" to mean "that [he] was a Blood," i.e., a gang member, and "kazoo" to mean a knife. With one hand, Brady touched or lightly pushed Lincoln on the chest several times while Lincoln fidgeted with his own wallet. As Lincoln turned his gaze away from Brady and looked off into the distance, Brady suddenly grabbed the collar of his sweatshirt with one hand and thrust a knife into his lower abdomen with the other. 

After stabbing Lincoln once, Brady gathered his things and walked away. A private security guard trailed him until the police arrived. While detained, Brady told the police, "I'd fucking stab somebody if they fucked with my property" and "I am going to jail for protecting my mother-fucking property.""

That is a harsh life, and way to live, to be sure.

How did Brady get to this situation in life?  Here's at least a part of his story, from his perspective:

"Brady also took the stand and explained his personal history. He grew up in a small town in Georgia where, at around four or five years old, he was sexually abused at knifepoint by a neighbor. His mother too started physically abusing him at a young age. In one incident, she struck him with the back of a butcher's knife. After about nine years of abuse, fifteen-year-old Brady left home and set out on his own. Having previously been assigned to special education classes, Brady attended no further school.

Things did not get easier for Brady. In his late teens, he was jumped on two occasions by groups of five to six people, armed in the first incident with chains and a tire iron and the second with bats. The beatings led to a seizure disorder.

In his early thirties, Brady came to the West Coast and started using crack cocaine. His drug use led to criminal activity. He was convicted twice for robbery in the 1980's, once for petty theft with a prior in 1994, and once for selling crack to an undercover officer in 1998. As a result, he spent most of the time from 1985 to 2010 in prison. There, he was stabbed on three occasions. The third stabbing incident, involving a broomstick to his eye, left him partially blind.

In 2010, Brady's situation improved somewhat; he attended a residential treatment program that helped him address his addiction to crack cocaine. But as of January 2016, when this incident occurred, Brady remained homeless in San Diego."

So off crack, but still homeless.  And then the stabbing.

So now 15 more years in prison.