Councilman says trial was unfar

January 13, 2009 5:13:17 PM PST
Belmont City Councilman Bill Dickenson, who was sentenced Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court to 20 days in jail after being convicted of two misdemeanor domestic violence charges, said Tuesday he has filed an appeal.

"I'm innocent," Dickenson said. "I believe I have a substantial argument for an appeal."

Dickenson was found guilty Nov. 20 of domestic violence and false imprisonment, both misdemeanor charges that stemmed from an argument between Dickenson and his ex-girlfriend at a Redwood City pub in July. Dickenson had been hired as a consultant at the pub, which was owned by his ex-girlfriend.

The two had dated on and off from September or October 2007 to May 2008. During the three-day trial, each testified the other was guilty of causing injury during the July 11 argument.

The woman testified that Dickenson told her she couldn't leave, grabbed her by the purse, swung her to the ground and dragged her across the floor, which she said left her with bruises on her arm and red marks on her back.

Dickenson disputed the account, testifying that instead she had hit him over the head with her purse and spilled a drink on him.

Dickenson said today he feels he was unfairly convicted and that he was presumed guilty the minute local media picked up the story.

"I respectfully follow the court," he said. "But I'm also going to maintain my rights, (such as) the right to appeal according to the law, a right to a fair trial, and a right not to have the district attorney's office attack me through the media."

Dickenson said he believes the district attorney's office was biased against him.

He said he plans to serve out the remainder of his City Council term, which ends in November, and that he has not yet decided whether to run for re-election.

"It's not out of the picture," he said of the possibility.

He also said he plans to file a civil case against his ex-girlfriend, who he said owes him money.

Belmont City Manager Jack Crist said today the case is "a personal matter of Bill Dickenson's, and not a city issue."

Crist said Dickenson's term will not be cut short because of the his conviction, and that Dickenson's future after November is in the hands of Belmont residents.

"The voters are the ones who ultimately decide who's going to be serving as their elected official," Crist said.