Monday, 15 July 2024

Hughes motion scheduled for today


Hughes' attorney, Stuart Hanlon, whose law offices are in San Francisco, has indicated on several occasions that he will argue to move his client's trial and has cited pre-trial media coverage and the county's predominantly white population as the basis for his argument.

Hanlon has said he does not believe that Hughes, who is black, can be tried fairly in Lake County.

Referring to a survey he said that his office took of Lake County, Hanlon said previously, “There is a lot of knowledge and most of it is negative. Beginning with the lack of color in this county. Race will be a serious issue to overcome.

"This county is 94 percent white; it's only 2 percent black," he added. "More importantly, there are only 1,250 African American people living in this county. That raises serious issues. This city (Lakeport), alone, has 36 African Americans out of 5,500 people.

"It's not the percentages so much as the people here don't have African American garbage collectors, they don't work at 7-11 (of which Lake County has none), they're not clerks. Those are issues we're worried about. The people here are great; it just isn't the right trial for this county."

Hopkins has countered that he believes racial percentages "don't have any relevance."

"I don't think it's a fair assessment of the law to say that you can look at the percentages of races to determine how the people are going to be fair. It's a racist suggestion," he said.

At present, Hughes' trial is scheduled to begin in Lake County on Feb. 6. The case against him is complicated by the fact that he did not pull the trigger of the Browning automatic used in the shooting deaths of Rashad Williams and Christian Foster, Hughes' companions, as they fled from a Clearlake Park home after allegedly breaking in and demanding marijuana in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 7, 2005.

The gun was actually wielded by the homeowner Shannon Edmonds, who brought down Williams and Foster by shooting them in the back as they ran into the night.

However, Hughes not Edmonds is accused of the murder of the two men by virtue of a law that holds individuals involved in the commission of a felonious act responsible for the deaths of anyone killed if the felony is one that could result in a lethal response.

Hopkins is prosecuting Hughes on the murder charge on the basis that Hughes, Williams and Foster are alleged to have broken into Edmonds' home through a plate glass patio door. Once inside, they allegedly engaged in violent acts that left a teenaged inhabitant in a coma before abandoning their demands for the marijuana that Edmonds reportedly has a physician's recommendation to use.

Many people, including, not surprisingly, Hughes' family and supporters, believe that it is Edmonds who should be charged. The case is further complicated by the fact that Edmonds is white.

Last week, members of the Ella Barker Center for Human Rights, a civil rights organization, and the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) aired that view in front of the county court house and in a letter to the Lake County Grand Jury.

E-mail John Lindblom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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