Sunday, September 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Attorneys argue over consent in Davis date-rape trial

By
From page A1 | February 01, 2013 |

UPDATE: Thaddeus Sonne was found not guilty in a verdict delivered at 1:30 p.m. Friday and was released immediately from the Yolo sheriff’s custody, his attorney Dan Hutchinson said. Read the complete story in Sunday’s Enterprise.

WOODLAND — A Yolo County jury began deliberating Thursday whether a 21-year-old Davis man is guilty of rape or the victim of overzealous police and prosecutors.

Those were the conflicting images attorneys presented earlier that day during closing arguments in Thaddeus Jay Sonne’s trial in Yolo Superior Court.

Sonne was arrested on the night of Aug. 16, 2012, following what by all accounts was an alcohol-fueled night on the town with friends in downtown Davis. A couple walking near Second and H streets reported seeing suspicious activity near the Amtrak station and alerted two police officers who happened to be nearby.

The officers have testified that as they approached the railroad tracks, they spotted Sonne on top of a 21-year-old woman on the ground. They were engaged in sexual intercourse, and the woman could be heard saying, “No, no, stop.”

When she said it, when Sonne heard it, and how a reasonable person would react to those words are at issue in the case.

In her closing remarks, Deputy District Attorney Amanda Zambor played a portion of an audio recording made by a Davis police officer as he questioned Sonne at the scene.

“Sometimes, it’s more of a dare than an actual request,” Sonne tells Officer Ralph Piro, the sounds of late-night downtown revelry in the background. “If she wanted me to stop, she could have made me stop.”

“No means no,” Zambor told the seven-man, five-woman jury in Judge Paul Richardson’s courtroom. “It’s not vague. It’s not confusing. … The defendant is guilty of rape because (the woman) told him no.”

(The Enterprise is withholding the woman’s name because she is an alleged sexual assault victim.)

But Sonne’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson, contended that his client believed the sex to be consensual, and that, with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, he likely didn’t comprehend hearing “no” until the officers had come upon them.

“The next thing he knows, there’s a light in his face, and he’s off,” Hutchinson said.

Sonne and the woman had first met a week prior to the alleged incident, according to testimony presented at the defendant’s preliminary hearing in November and at trial. Their paths crossed a second time at a J Street party, where both were among a group of friends who decided to go bar-hopping in downtown Davis.

At their final stop, Our House on Second Street, security video captured images of the woman leading Sonne by the hand from the establishment to the street outside.

“But just because she led him out of the bar does not mean she consented to go have sex with him on the gravel out by the Amtrak station,” Zambor said. “Even if she was initiating this contact, she has the right to say ‘no’ at any time. If the man keeps going, it is still rape — that’s what the law says.”

Zambor said witnesses reported seeing the woman, whose blood-alcohol content measured nearly three times the legal limit at 0.23, have difficulty standing and even holding up her head after she left the bar. By the time police confronted the pair, she was kicking her legs and crying as she told Sonne repeatedly to stop, the officers testified.

“The facts show that she said no. He heard it, and he decided that it meant something different,” Zambor said. “I ask you to hold the defendant accountable for his actions.”

Hutchinson, meanwhile, pointed to inconsistencies he said have plagued the case from the start. He asserted that witnesses changed their testimony to aid the prosecution, and that police who once said they were 30 feet away when they heard the woman say “no” later claimed it was more than twice that distance.

He said debris on the woman’s knees and on Sonne’s back indicated she had been on top of him at some point — “a position that usually requires cooperation from the woman” — and that she responded “no” when an officer asked whether Sonne had raped her.

“Both (Sonne and the woman) said it wasn’t rape, and we’re still here,” Hutchinson said, adding that a police detective ignored the woman when she expressed uncertainty about pursuing the case.

The two attorneys also were at odds over whether the woman had been injured during the incident. A nurse who examined the woman that night testified she had suffered vaginal trauma, while a defense expert said her condition was consistent with vigorous sex.

“I think this is a woman that found herself in a situation that she couldn’t get out of,” Hutchinson said. He urged the jury to deliver a not-guilty verdict for his client, and to “let him get on with his life.”

“You have the opportunity to right a wrong that’s been done to a fellow human being, and that’s quite a thrill when that happens,” he said.

The jury met briefly Thursday afternoon before adjourning for the day. Their deliberations resume Friday morning.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

.

News

UCD’s Tercero hopes for platinum LEED certification

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Relief, gratitude follow Marsh guilty verdict

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Janet Wagner bids farewell to Sutter Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Nolan says he’ll keep an open mind

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Common Core: A new way to learn

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Standing In: Facing my fears in Oregon (and barely surviving)

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

A welcome challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Cool Davis: working on local solutions to global warming

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2

 
More rain dampens huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Brown vetoes $100 million boost for UC, Cal State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Learn about elections at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

All voices welcome at Oct. 1 sing-along

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Meet Poppenga for coffee on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Locals invited to join worldwide LDS conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Bucks for Ducks raises funds for Yolo Basin Foundation

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A winning combination: video games + science

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Word association: What comes to mind when you hear the word Davis?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C3 | Gallery

Public invited to free summit on aging

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Snapshot: The art of the matter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C3

Nursery school plans rummage sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yolo Hospice offers support through the grieving process

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Three microbreweries featured at Rotary Oktoberfest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Eernisse, Partida honored as Women of the Year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Study examines why mail ballots are rejected

By Jeffrey Day | From Page: A5

Gold STARS for UCD’s West Village

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Homecoming fun is no myth

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Where did Common Core standards come from?

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A6

Farm to Fork movement thrives locally

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: C6 | Gallery

 
Maher replaces Wagner as Sutter Davis CEO

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A7

The ‘condensed’ version

By Dave Jones | From Page: A8

 
Snapshot: Recycling made easy

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C9

 
Mike Nolan, at a glance

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

Snapshot: Science is fun at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C11

 
Davis residents benefit from active service organizations

By Rachel Uda | From Page: C12 | Gallery

Davis Media Access brings community TV, radio

By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: C14 | Gallery

 
Snapshot: Ban the bag

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C16

 
.

Forum

She just wants to get married

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Monte Wolverton cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

When does she graduate from home?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

 
I return to the mountains and memories of Mom

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

There’s no pill to get younger

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
Love comes in all colors — and yes, even in black

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A14

Archer, Adams best qualified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16

 
And another academic year begins …

By Our View | From Page: A16

They’re consensus-builders

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16Comments are off for this post

 
Sunder for school board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

Spacious mothering revisited

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A17 | Gallery

 
At the Pond: Thanks, activists

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A18 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

 
Walker draws coaches’ praise after solid performance

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tale of two halves does in UC Davis, 37-14

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Elk Grove spoils DHS football Homecoming

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Depth comes through for Blue Devil harriers at Stanford

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Elk Grove overwhelms Devil JV footballers

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B3

 
UCD roundup: Scoreless ties for both Aggie soccer teams

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
New sick leave law: Don’t worry; you’ll feel better

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Stocks end rocky week with a surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
Activist investor pushes Yahoo to buy rival AOL

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
.

Obituaries

Michael Allen Hanks Baxter

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 28, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8