Prosecutors delay Matt Barnes' court date to Oct. 18
Lakers forward Matt Barnes and his fiancee, Gloria Govan, appeared in a Sacramento courtroom Monday after his arrest Wednesday on a domestic violence charge. But prosecutors are delaying the hearing until Oct. 18 so they have time to determine whether to bring charges against Barnes, according to Sacramento's KXTV-TV.
Sacramento County Deputy Dist. Atty. Paul Durenberger and Barnes' lawyer, Tom Johnson, disagreed on what to make of the postponement, with Durenberger telling KXXV-TV in Sacramento, "We do it all the time," while Johnson said, "It's atypical." Nonetheless, Johnson expressed gratitude for the delay: "We applaud the decision to do some more investigation and to look thoughtfully and carefully at this decision. We feel fortunate that they've come to the conclusion at this point that there isn't probable cause to charge" Barnes.
That means Barnes will begin training camp Sept. 25 with his case unsettled. The hearing also will coincide with the Lakers' preseason, which include games Oct. 16, 17 and 19, making it possible Barnes' case looms over the team and becomes a distraction. Nonetheless, The Times' T.J. Simers rightfully took a few Laker fans to task in a recent column. He cited a few reactions in the comments section under Mark Heisler's story that centered more on the team rather than the severity of domestic violence.
So far, Barnes has maintained his innocence. He texted to KXTV, "I was the victim but still got arrested. He wrote on his Twitter account, "DON'T LET YOUR EARS WITNESS, WHAT YOUR EYES DIDN'T SEE!!!" And he also shared via Twitter that he and his sons, Isiah and Carter, are learning the triangle offense with him, a nugget Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin said serves as an effort for Barnes to portray himself as a family man. Meanwhile, Heisler noted Govan's statement that absolved Barnes of any wrongdoing: "This is a situation that has been blown out of proportion," Govan said. "Any accusations of domestic violence are false. My fiance, Matt Barnes, has never physically abused me or my family."
More facts will come out once Barnes' arraignment begins, but everyone should avoid the temptation to view this case solely through the prism of the trial's outcome and how it affects the Lakers. Those are two legitimate story lines and they surely will be covered in this blog and in other publications, but let's not lose perspective. What matters first and foremost should involve justice prevailing and making sure Barnes and Govan properly resolve any situation.
Photo: Matt Barnes' court date has been postponed to Oct. 18. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press