Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 22, 2009
No charges for Cable; the D.A.'s explanation

The press release sent out by Napa Country District Attorney Gary Lieberstein:

Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein announced this afternoon that his office has completed its review of the extensive and excellent investigation by the Napa Police Department, including police reports, medical records, interviews of several witnesses present at the time of the incident in question, as well as multiple statements by the alleged victim, Randy Hanson. District Attorney Lieberstein stated, "We have concluded that the facts and evidence developed do not warrant criminal charges be brought against Tom Cable in regards to an incident which occurred on August 5, 2009 in a hotel room at the Oakland Raiders' training camp in Napa."

In order to better appreciate the time and process involved in reviewing this matter, it is important to understand the duties of the District Attorney in determining whether or not to file criminal charges. The central job of a prosecutor is to seek justice. Prosecutors are ethically required not to prosecute cases when they believe that it is unlikely that a jury would reach a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence and facts known to them, and/or that it would not be in the interests of justice to bring such charges. It is the conclusion of this office, therefore, that we do not believe a jury would convict Mr. Cable of any offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.

In applying the above standards, a review of the most credible evidence and likely testimony at trial would establish that there were no blows or punches thrown at or near Randy Hanson, nor were any verbal threats made by Tom Cable towards Mr. Hanson. Based on our review, it appears that during a discussion amongst coaches and Mr. Cable regarding Mr. Hanson's future with the Oakland Raiders, Mr. Cable became angry and rushed toward Mr. Hanson. At that juncture, one of the other coaches in the room stepped in between the two and Mr. Cable bumped into him, which in turn caused that coach to bump into Mr. Hanson's chair in which he was leaning back, with his feet upon the table. As a result of the force, Mr. Hanson fell over, at which time he most likely fractured his jaw. This conclusion is supported by the statements of independent witnesses present in the room, including and especially the coach who bumped into Mr. Hanson's chair. The same witnesses did state that after Mr. Hanson was on the ground, Mr. Cable grabbed him by the shirt . The witnesses also made it clear, however, that at no time during this incident did Mr. Cable strike Mr. Hanson.

Another significant factor affecting our decision is the history of the investigation. This incident allegedly took place at approximately noon on August 5th. The incident was not reported to the police. Later that night, Mr. Hanson went to Queen of the Valley Hospital for an examination. He told them that he had been assaulted but refused to provide details and, when advised that the police would have to be notified per California law, he objected. When the police arrived, Mr. Hanson gave them very few details, refusing to give them important information such as identifying the alleged attacker. As a result of his lack of cooperation, police were unable to locate the room where this had taken place and process it for physical evidence that might have assisted in determining what happened.

Between that date and the end of September, Mr. Hanson declined to be interviewed by police. Again, this postponement in the investigation contributed to the delay in our decision making process. When he did finally come in for an interview, he did so in the presence of his attorney and, for example, refused to explain why he had previously refused the Napa Police Department's previous attempts to obtain a statement from him. His attorney objected to the question as being privileged. After further discussion, Mr. Hanson basically said he was there because the police asked him and his attorney advised him to do so. The interview he gave was inconsistent with the original short statement he made, leaving out significant facts such as what was taking place prior to Mr. Cable moving towards him.

Subsequently, Mr. Hanson provided an interview to a reporter detailing more facts than he had given to the officer, some of which were inconsistent with previous statements.

A follow-up interview with Mr. Hanson yesterday afternoon failed to clear up the significant inconsistencies in his prior statements.

It should be further noted that within the past week and a half, Mr. Hanson showed up unannounced at the police department and made a statement to the effect that since the Raiders had not given him what he asked for, he would now fully cooperate with the prosecution.

All of these facts and more would be before a jury including the history, the inconsistent statements, and the lack of any evidence from the room in the event that criminal charges would have been filed. Furthermore, felonious assault requires that the assault be willful. The evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Cable did not intend to inflict the injury suffered.

In announcing his office's decision, District Attorney Lieberstein emphasized that while this case has gained significant attention in the national sports media, it is similar to any other potential criminal case in that it involves serious allegations that, if filed and proven, would have a significant effect on many lives.

Lieberstein concluded that, "our duty is to do the right thing for the right reasons. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, it would be a miscarriage of justice to pursue criminal charges and we will not ask our citizens to give up their valuable time for jury duty, nor will we allow our criminal justice system to be compromised."

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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