Former Fresno City College instructor's case fails to get dismissed

Former Fresno City Councilman and Fresno City College instructor Brian Calhoun will testify in his own defense Wednesday.
October 16, 2013 12:42:05 AM PDT
Former Fresno City Councilman and Fresno City College instructor Brian Calhoun will testify in his own defense Wednesday. Prosecutors wrapped up their battery case against him Tuesday.

Eight witnesses described the same basic scene. They say Calhoun responded to a student's curse with force, it escalated after he pinned her to a wall, and he ended up throwing her to the ground. But his defense attorney says Calhoun was the real victim.

Brian Calhoun's bloodied nose is indisputable. A police officer at Fresno City College took a picture of the 69-year-old shortly after the confrontation. The evidence landed him in court as the defendant in a battery trial. Calhoun's defense attorney says the bloody nose is just one piece of evidence that he was under attack.

But several witnesses say the nose only got bloody after Calhoun pinned 20-year-old Kevynn Gomez against a wall.

"You said that he had her up against the wall," DA Mike Brummel said.

"Yes," Witness Kamee Wiggins said.

"Did she appear to be free to leave?" Brummel said.

"No," Wiggins said.

"Why not," Brummel said.

"He was holding onto her, keeping her there," Brummel said.

"She got one of her hands, her right hand, loose, and she punched him," witness Rocio Hernandez said.

Witnesses say Calhoun responded to the punch by throwing Gomez to the ground. Gomez admits it all started when Calhoun interrupted her class taking a midterm and she cursed at him as she left the room. Calhoun's attorney claims Gomez committed the crime of disturbing the peace by using those words.

"She also committed, ultimately, several acts of elder abuse by a combination of a combination of the use of offensive language and then hitting Mr. Calhoun when he attempted to stop her from leaving," Calhoun's Defense Attorney Roger Nuttall said.

He asked the judge to declare Calhoun not guilty as soon as prosecutors rested their case. But the judge refused, saying the evidence so far shows Gomez had a right to defend herself against Calhoun.

"There is absolutely nothing in the law that allows a professor to physically attack a student because she called him a name," Fresno County Superior Court Judge Denise Whitehead said.

Defense attorney Roger Nuttall says he will put Calhoun on the stand tomorrow. He is expected to say he was doing his necessary duties as an FCC professor by trying to get Gomez's name after she cursed at him. But it will be the first time he's publicly given his version of the violent incident.


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