Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula in court to begin trial on misdemeanor child cruelty charge
Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, was in court Tuesday for the beginning of his trial on a misdemeanor child cruelty charge stemming from his December arrest on allegations he injured his 7-year-old daughter.
The case was referred to Fresno County Superior Court Judge Alvin Harrell, who met with Arambula’s attorneys and the prosecution prior to the Tuesday morning hearing.
The defense, Fresno attorneys Michael Aed and Margarita Martinez-Baly, filed several motions that Harrell will consider and rule on Wednesday.
However, Harrell did rule on various news media organizations’ request to photograph and film the trial. He granted the requests, but he barred the news media from recording or photographing Arambula’s daughter – which would seem to indicate that she will testify in the case.
Jury selection is scheduled for Friday and Monday, with opening statements planned for April 30.
Arambula was arrested and cited on Dec. 10 after police were called out to his eldest daughter’s elementary school.
The assemblyman and his wife held several news conferences on Dec. 12 in which they declared Arambula’s innocence. The couple regained custody of their three daughters that evening.
Arambula said in March that he had only spanked his daughter as a part of normal discipline. Spanking, he added, was a last resort within his family.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s office formally charged Arambula in March. He then took a leave of absence from the Assembly.