An Orange County Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed indecent exposure charges against a 40-year-old man when jurors in a retrial could not reach a verdict.
Jurors deadlocked 10-1 in favor of convicting David Matthias Martin, 40, who was charged with two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure for allegedly touching himself in public on an Orange County Transportation Authority bus and at a La Habra restaurant. The jurors reported they were deadlocked after failing to reach a verdict after deliberating Thursday afternoon.
Orange County Superior Court Judge H. Shaina Colover dismissed the two charges in part because it was the second trial on the charges that ended with a deadlocked jury and because the defendant had already spent more time in jail than he would have received even if the jury had convicted him.
Martin has been in custody since Jan. 16, 2020, according to jail records. He was charged with exposing himself on the bus and restaurant in March 2019.
Martin was originally charged with felony counts of indecent exposure because prosecutors alleged in March 2019 that he had been convicted of indecent exposure in West Virginia in April 2005, April 2006, and February 2008.
Anyone previously convicted of misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure face upgraded felony charges according to state law if they are charged again.
Martin pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct in a public place April 30 and was sentenced to six months in jail, according to court records. A misdemeanor count of indecent exposure alleged to have happened on April 8, 2019, was dismissed May 13, 2021, according to court records.
Martin will return to an Orange County courtroom on Monday for a hearing on releasing him. There is a hold on Martin for a case in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Deputy District Attorney Alyssa Gossett-Ornelas said in her closing argument Thursday that surveillance video and cellphone video on the bus showed the defendant on Feb. 28, 2019, unzipping his white jumpsuit and touching himself in front of other commuters.
Gossett-Ornelas rebuffed arguments from Martin’s attorney that he was in a state of psychosis at the time, by pointing out that Martin covered up as passengers passed him by on the bus.
“Why does he cover up? Because he knows what he is doing is wrong and he doesn’t want to get caught yet he wants to finish,” Gossett-Ornelas said.
“Why cover up at all if he’s so delusional and so detached from reality he doesn’t know what he is doing is wrong,” Gossett-Ornelas said.
Martin told officers “he was doing it because he got a thrill out of it,” Gossett-Ornelas said.
Martin also allegedly told officers that he “likes to whip it out and stroke it,” the prosecutor said.
Later on the same day at a La Habra restaurant he was again seen by patrons touching himself, Gossett-Ornelas said.
“If he’s not trying to direct attention to himself why didn’t he go to the bathroom?” Gossett-Ornelas said.
Martin’s attorney, Terrance Rene David, said his client was “not guilty of indecent exposure because he did not have the required mental state — everything about this case is a rush to judgment.”
Martin has been diagnosed with “schizoaffective disorder,” and was “doing a private act in a public place and did not have the mental state to know what he was doing,” David argued.
“When they are in a psychotic or manic state they don’t know what they’re doing,” David said of his client’s mental health disorders. “He was unable to understand the inappropriateness of his actions.”
David argued to have the case dismissed following the mistrial because he said his client has been in custody for over 2 1/2 years and would have faced a maximum of a year in jail if convicted in a third trial.