The Judge Concealed From The Jury, Drew’s Attackers'History For Alcohol-Fueled, Aggressive Public Behavior
Christopher Wooton died on May 3, 2008. He was a member and leader of the Sigma Pi fraternity at UC Berkeley. Two years before he was tragically killed while participating in an attack on Drew, Wooton enthusiastically boasted on his My Space posting that he had instigated and fully participated in the beating of an individual outside the Sigma Pi house, and that he and his fraternity “brothers" were prepared to beat up anybody who “disrespected” them. In his blog, Chris Wootton uses the language of urban gangs. Wooton’s My Space page reflects, that Chris Wooton was a wanna-be gang-banger and a “shot-caller.”
The trial court deliberately excluded evidence to show that Chris Wootton and his fraternity, Sigma Pi, regularly participated in aggressive, anti-social behavior, and was a consistent problematic fraternity. Sigma Pi had been regularly cited by both UC Police and City of Berkeley Police. In the 120 days before the stabbing, Sigma Pi, had been cited twice by the Berkeley Police Department for drunk , and rowdy behavior in public. The last time was just one week before Wootton's stabbing. Sigma Pi was on probation by UC, and was considered by UC to have a problem with alcohol.
Chris Wootton, in November, 2007, just 6 months before the fight that led to his being stabbed, had been involved in a very similar drunken fight on Telegraph Avenue, because someone "disrespected" his frat. Two of Wotton's buddies involved in the fight on May 3, 2008, were also at this November fight. This shows that Wootton and his friends liked to drink and liked to fight, and did it regularly. The men who were assaulted by Wootton and his friends in November, were barred by the judge from testifying at Drew’s trial.
Concealment of all this highly relevant evidence had two consequences:
1) It allowed the numerous Sigma Pi members and supporters to testify for the prosecution without having to admit under oath that their organization had an established reputation with the Berkeley Police Department for being a threat to public order and safety. That admission would have surely impacted their credibility, and the jury’s view of their character and their testimony;
2) It deprived the jury of having a fuller understanding of what kind of behavior including ritualized alcohol abuse, and a fuller understanding of the threats and danger Drew and his friend Adam faced that night while walking peacefully on a public street.