Joaquin Arambula stood in line around 8:20 a.m. at the main Fresno County courthouse, just like everyone else Tuesday. Surrounded by his wife Elizabeth, mother Amy, father Juan and a family friend, the assemblyman standing trial for child abuse entered security screening like everyone else.
Arambula’s first day of pre-trial hearings went rather mundanely, as court cases go. His case was shuffled from one court to another. A judge accepted briefs and motions, laid out what the next few days would look like, and that was that.
The Democrat from Fresno faces one misdemeanor child cruelty count. He has been on leave from representing the people in Sacramento for nearly six weeks.
He is accused of causing an injury to his 7-year-old daughter last December. Police arrested Arambula at his daughter’s school, released him hours later, and issued him a citation.
Judge Gary Orozco reassigned the case to Judge Alvin Harrell, III. Court observers told GV Wire it is common practice for the presiding judge to move the case out of his court. Also, Orozco said he would be out of the office for the next few days.
When the parties traveled up the elevator from the basement to the seventh floor, Harrell met with the attorneys — Michael Aed and Margarita Martinez-Baly for the defense; Assistant District Attorney Steve Wright for the prosecution — into his chambers.
Daughter May Take the Stand
A short while later, Harrell said he will review motions, CDs, and Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center records. That will take up the next two days. Jury selection could start as early as Friday.
Harrell also revealed that Arambula’s daughter may take the stand. In his orders to the media allowing coverage, the judge explicitly said that no video recording or photographs of the minor would be allowed.
Arambula did not speak to GV Wire, other than a brief greeting as he entered the court.