Matthew Clark Jorgensen (Photo: SFPD)
A man who was arrested after a recent fight in San Francisco’s Castro district had an outburst in court this week as his public defender tried to get him released from custody.
Police arrested Matthew Clark Jorgensen, 34, Sunday, March 1 after an 11:25 p.m. incident in the 100 block of Hartford Street in which he allegedly pushed over a 38-year-old man. The man, who “hit his head on the ground,” then “exchanged a few punches” with Jorgensen, according to police.
Jorgensen, who’s in custody, appeared Thursday, March 5, in superior court before Judge Tracie Brown for a hearing on the district attorney’s motion to revoke the three-year probation term he’d received in July in a domestic violence case. A bench warrant had been issued for him in December and it appears that he’d recently been in jail again.
Deputy Public Defender Paul Myslin denied the allegations against Jorgensen and requested he be released on his own recognizance.
Sunday’s fight isn’t related “to any domestic violence conduct,” said Myslin, and it wasn’t clear the victim had been injured, although there was a “complaint of pain.”
After Assistant District Attorney Sharon Bacon opposed releasing Jorgensen, citing “public safety reasons,” the defendant decided to speak up for himself.
“I called 911,” Jorgensen said repeatedly and loudly. “I was the one who called 911.”
Brown asked him to stop talking. Criminal defendants rarely speak in court unless they’re asked to.
Bacon said Jorgensen had pushed the victim “so hard,” he’d hit his head and had been taken to the hospital. Brown said she was “not inclined to release” Jorgensen, based on how recent the latest incident had been, among other factors.
Jorgensen, who apparently wanted to be reimbursed for recent travel to San Francisco from southern California, where he also has a criminal history, said, “Give me my money back.”
“Mr. Jorgensen, you need to be quiet,” Brown told him. She then set his bail at $500,000.
Myslin protested that amount, saying the nature of Sunday’s incident constitutes a lower figure, and Jorgensen can’t afford the amount Brown set.
But Brown said, “Given the history of what we have here,” and the violent nature of this weekend’s fight, “I don’t think it’s high.”
Jorgensen again weighed in, telling Myslin, “I called 911″ and making a remark about a police officer and his son. It wasn’t clear what he was referring to.
“You’re not helping your case,” Myslin told his client.
He then said that Jorgensen had been “having issues with his hand,” and a March 11 hearing was set to discuss the defendant’s physical and mental condition. A supplemental report related to the motion to revoke probation is set to be heard March 26.
As Thursday’s hearing concluded, Jorgensen repeated his comment about the police officer and his son.
Reverend River Sims, a gay preacher who helps homeless youth in San Francisco, said in a phone call to the Bay Area Reporter that he’s known Jorgensen for almost 20 years.
“He’s a pain in the ass,” said Sims, but “I fed him. I’ve taken care of him.”
Jorgensen “is a sweet kid,” he said, but he can be “volatile, especially when he’s on drugs.” Sims doesn’t know what Jorgensen’s sexual orientation is but said he’s “mostly been with girls.” (Officials haven’t said what the sexual orientation of the other man involved in Sunday’s fight is.)
The younger man has stayed in San Francisco’s Haight, Tenderloin, Mission, and other neighborhoods, but “Matt wears out his welcome wherever he is,” said Sims, who added, “One of these days my fear is he’s going to hurt someone.”
Sims said Jorgensen’s parents have tried to support him, but he’s refused their help.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed in court documents for Jorgensen declined to comment.
Court records from Ventura County say that Jorgensen has pleaded guilty to drug-related charges and petty theft in cases stemming from 2011.
In court Thursday, Myslin said Jorgensen had recently been released from custody, and he indicated his client had tried to contact probation staff, but he’d been “stymied” by Ventura Count law enforcement officials.
The B.A.R. wasn’t able to catch up with Myslin as he left the courtroom Thursday, and he hasn’t responded to a phone message.
Last July, Jorgensen pleaded guilty to a felony domestic violence charge in San Francisco in exchange for felony counts of making criminal threats, false imprisonment, dissuading a witness from testifying, and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm being dismissed, according to court records.
The imposition of his sentence was suspended July 29 and he was ordered to serve three years of probation.