Jury finds deputy not guilty of brandishing gun in court


After a three-day trial, a jury on Monday (Aug. 29) returned a verdict of not guilty in the case of San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Deputy Andy Mar, who had been accused of pointing a gun at a custodian in a Redwood City courtroom in April 2015.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours, according to prosecutors. Mr. Mar had been out of custody on his own recognizance, prosecutors said.

The verdict on the misdemeanor charge of brandishing a firearm was unanimous and indicates that prosecutors were unable to prove Mr. Mar's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.

"The jury was not convinced that his use of the gun crossed the line into criminal behavior," he said. "We disagreed but we respect (the jury's) decision."

"Cases involving peace officer defendants are always challenging," Mr. Serrato said. "There's a common understanding (among prosecutors) that a jury will give the benefit of the doubt maybe more often than if it wasn't a peace officer."

The incident

Mr. Mar, who was 50 at the time of the alleged incident, was working as a temporary bailiff in a seventh-floor courtroom on April 13, according to prosecutors.

Also in the courtroom that day were a custodian, a court clerk and a court reporter, Mr. Wagstaffe said. The court was not in session at the time of the alleged incident, but in the room were the custodian and the clerk, who were talking at the clerk's desk, prosecutors said.

Mr. Mar told investigators that he did have his gun out of its holster, but that he was checking the gunsight, prosecutors said. Mr. Mar denied pointing the gun at or near the custodian and said he was checking the gunsight.

It was a new gun, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Almanac. All the deputies had been issued new guns at the time, he said.

A person convicted of brandishing a weapon can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to a year in jail, Mr. Wagstaffe said. Police officers who brandish a gun while not in the lawful performance of their duties can be charged, he said.

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6 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I always thought that gun sights were checked on the police firearms range not a courtroom. Hummm a good suspension is certainly called for.

8 people like this
Posted by Buck Cannon
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Aug 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

The "facts" were not as Mr. Wagstaffe said, because if they were the jury would have returned a different verdict. The DA's office had two Inspectors assigned to this case and spent a lot of $ trying to railroad this guy.
The Deputy hasn't been working for over a year. How about some thought for his family in all this.

Rare coverage of a case with a not guilty verdict, of which there are many...

4 people like this
Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Buck Cannon – he pulls out a gun in a courtroom to check the sights? Come now. SteveC is correct. Either he was doing this to threaten the janitor, or at minimum has really poor judgment. San Mateo deputies are handsomely paid and we expect them to have really good judgment. After all, we entrust them with the judgment to use or refrain from using deadly force. Any way you cut this, Mar should not be in this line of work.

5 people like this
Posted by Thoughts
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 10:22 am

Thoughts is a registered user.

The fact that 12 juror unanimously couldn't find him guilty must tell you a lot. Sounds like the Depuy was charged only due to the typical politics of a government and was used at the expense of their needs. I agree what he did was stupid but really was it criminal. The victim had a active lawsuits against the county and sheriffs office at the time and now another. Sounds like his motive s money and check. Look into his filing before you judge. There's more then meets the eye.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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