August 12, 2016 – Mr. Gurbaksh Chahal is appealing a decision by the San Francisco Superior Court that the CEO tech-millionaire has violated his terms of probation. He remains out of custody and is not in jail.
This finding comes on the heels of a 2013 domestic violence case where Chahal pleaded guilty or no-contest to two DV misdemeanor charges. The alleged victim refused to testify and tapes depicting the alleged assault were never admitted into the case.
In 2014, he was accused again by a South Korean woman in his San Francisco residence for domestic violence. The 911 call led to the DA’s office charging Mr. Chahal with a violation of his probation. No finding of guilt was established in the second case and the alleged victim fled the country.
The appeal raises important constitutional issues regarding Mr. Chahal’s rights. The DA’s office argues that he violated his probation based on the complaint of a woman who has fled the country and is not testifying. The credibility of this witness is also in question due to her immigration status and alleged sham marriage.
Importantly, Mr. Chahal was not tried or convicted of any second domestic violence offense which underlies the alleged probation violation.
Still, the court found him guilty of violating his probation and sentenced him to one year in jail.
There are two important constitutional issues that this finding raises:
(1) Did the court violate Mr. Chahal’s 6th Amendment Right to confront his accuser? After all, the Korean woman fled the country and has not appeared to provide testimony against Mr. Chahal. Thus, the evidence used by the DA to argue that Mr. Chahal violated his probation was based on hearsay and the testimony of second hand witnesses. Should this be allowed?
(2) Did the court violate Mr. Chahal’s 4th Amendment Right against an illegal search and seizure? In the first case, the court disallowed the evidence of the video tape because the police violated Mr. Chahal’s 4th Amendment Right by seizing Mr. Chahal’s private property without a search warrant. Still, the court allowed in the same evidence to support a finding and sentence for the probation violation. Why was this?
Mr. Chahal is appealing the decision and is out of custody. Do you think Mr. Chahal’s Constitutional Rights were violated?