Friday, November 21, 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

 
UC regents approve 5% tuition increases

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
A new home for the holidays?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

California unemployment steady at 7.3 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Yolobus will reroute Saturday morning for Turkey Trot

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Help feed the hungry at Saturday’s food drive

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explorit: Lecture illuminates state water bond

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

 
Apply now to take Master Gardener training

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Volunteers sought to advocate for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Village Homes gets crafty

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Nowhere to go, nothing to do

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Council misses an opportunity

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Together we can do so much

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Have you read this book?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
We DO have a water shortage

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Davis voices concerns over new oil-by-rail proposal

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Cheers and Jeers: Katehi front and center

By Our View | From Page: A10

.

Sports

LBSU takes down UCD in matchup of Big West’s best

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD men get to 2-0

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Silveria has been there through thick and thin

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Whose seniors will go out in style at Causeway Classic No. 61?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wire sports briefs: Kings cruise past Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Raiders beat K.C. to snap a 16-game skid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Aggie women start 4-game homestand Saturday at 11 a.m.

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

The Purple Ones to play tribute to Prince

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1′ fails to catch fire

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Wealth of Nations show is Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Davis Feminist Film Festival accepting submissions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
 
Founding pastor of UCC’s now-famous painting on display

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Business

Automakers debut key models at L.A. Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, November 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A9

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

RE/Max Gold

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

Kim Eichorn

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

Joe Kaplan

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Melrina A Maggiora

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Marcelo Campos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

Lennar Homes

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

Tracy Harris

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

Yolo FCU

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

Team Traverso

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

Travis Credit Union

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

Ciana Wallace

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

Diane Lardelli

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

Jamie Madison

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

Malek Baroody

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

Julie Partain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

Coldwell Banker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

Cynthia Gerber

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

Karen Waggoner

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

Chris Snow

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

Open House Map

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER19

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20