Capitol Alert

Assemblyman Arambula returns to the Capitol after child abuse trial

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula makes a statement after being found not guilty

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula makes a statement to the media after being found not guilty in his misdemeanor child abuse trial involving his 7-year-old daughter, in Superior Court, Thursday, May 16, 2019.
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Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula makes a statement to the media after being found not guilty in his misdemeanor child abuse trial involving his 7-year-old daughter, in Superior Court, Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula is back at work.

The Fresno Democrat returned to the Assembly floor on Wednesday after he was found not guilty of child cruelty charges last week.

Arambula was arrested in December after his 7-year-old daughter’s elementary school called the police to report a bruise on the girl’s temple. The Fresno County District Attorney’s filed charges against the assemblyman in March, and Arambula took a two-month leave of absence from the Assembly.

“I am glad to be back at work on behalf of the people of the 31st District and Central Valley,” Arambula said in a written statement. “I will continue to be a strong voice and advocate on the issues that greatly affect the people of my district, such as expanding health care access and coverage, increasing access to education, creating more opportunities for economic development, and improving water quality.”

After a nine-day, high-profile trial, during which family members, law enforcement, social workers and Arambula testified, the California lawmaker was cleared of the misdemeanor child abuse charge.

Arambula admitted to spanking his oldest daughter after she acted out during her bedtime, though she told officers he “grasped” her head instead, thus causing the bruise.

The jury spent less than a day deliberating, The Fresno Bee reported, before jurors determined a verdict of “not guilty.”

“It is time for me to do what I do best as a father,” Arambula said after the trial. “To sit and to play with my girls on the ground, to tuck them into bed tonight, to read them a story and to let them know that their family loves them and will always love them.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office said Arambula would be reinstated to his chairmanship of the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services after this budget cycle, meaning later this summer.

Arambula said he planned to return to work at the Capitol after the trial, and would focus on criminal justice issues once back in session.

“ I know that there are still problems in our criminal justice system, and that everyone needs to be treated equally and fairly,” Arambula said. “And that we need to ensure that the scales of justice are balanced. You can be sure that I will be working on that in the state Legislature.”

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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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