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."
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.