Letters to the Editor

  • Wednesday February 22, 2012
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Letters to the Editor

Case is one of self-defense

Just read your piece on this ["Man facing trial in hate crime," February 16]. Unfortunately, it seems some misrepresentations have been made. My client slapped the complainant to get him away from him (i.e., in self-defense), and used some profanity when he felt threatened. All witnesses then agree that Mr. Sandoval took out a knife as he was walking away from the complainant; to make sure the complainant did not follow and threaten him again.

My client has never hurt another human being in his life. Moreover, he has no interest in judging people based on their sexuality. I'm very sorry to see his actions here being so misconstrued.

This is not an anti-gay case, it's a self-defense case. A person has the right to defend himself regardless of the sexual orientation or any trait of the person who assaults him. Unfortunately in San Francisco, that principle is sometimes overlooked. I'm sure you saw Ari Burack's recent article on hate crimes generally in San Francisco: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/crime/2011/05/increase-hate-crimes-san-francisco-questioned . This is not the first case I've defended where someone attacked a client who then defended himself and used epithets and found himself charged with a hate crime.

Danielle Harris, Deputy Public Defender

San Francisco