Morgan Hill City Councilman Larry Carr is scheduled to go to trial in August on a charge of domestic battery, stemming from a November 2017 incident at the downtown home he shared with his girlfriend at the time.
Carr, 49, appeared July 20 at the South County Courthouse for the latest pre-trial hearing in the misdemeanor case. Carr’s alleged victim sat next to him throughout the morning court session. She had told Morgan Hill Police officers the night of Carr’s arrest that he broke her glasses and pulled her hair during a heated verbal argument.
Carr pleaded not guilty to the charge in February. He told investigating police officers that any contact he made with the woman during the November argument was accidental.
Carr declined to comment on the case outside the courtroom July 20. His attorney, Stuart Kirchick, said Carr and the victim are “on very good terms.” The attorney said he did not know their current relationship status, or if they still were living together.
In February, at the same hearing where Carr pleaded not guilty, the judge granted him a one-year “peaceful contact order” that regulates the contact he can have with the alleged victim.
The woman’s attorney, Wesley Schroeder, was also in court for Carr’s hearing July 20. Schroeder said the woman has a right to an attorney, but otherwise declined to comment on why she retained him as legal counsel. Schroeder also declined to answer questions about his client’s current relationship with Carr.
Judge Jacqueline Duong set a trial date of Aug. 13 for Carr’s case. Kirchick said the trial, expected to last about five days, likely won’t begin on that date because he expects to be working on an unrelated trial in a different Santa Clara County courtroom at the time. But he thinks Carr’s trial will begin before August is over.
The judge also ordered the victim to be on telephone standby for possible testimony during the trial. Schroeder asked that any subpoena or other court order for the woman be directed to him.
It has not been determined if the August trial will be a jury trial or bench trial. California law allows Carr to request a jury trial, but he can waive that right and be tried by a judge. Kirchick said he and the prosecutor are discussing what type of trial will take place.
Kirchick added that recent delays in Carr’s case are “not unreasonable,” and such delays are common in criminal proceedings. He added he has been unavailable for a speedier trial for Carr due to his involvement in an unrelated trial that began in April. He expects that trial will last until at least November, but he will be available for Carr’s proceedings in August.
Morgan Hill Police responded to Carr’s residence the evening of Nov. 25, 2017, and arrested Carr after taking statements from both parties. The victim’s sister called police to report the incident. Carr’s girlfriend had called her sister earlier in the evening, during the argument with Carr, and told her that Carr was threatening her, pulled her hair and damaged her glasses, according to police reports.
Police arrested Carr after taking statements from him and and the woman.
Carr—who is currently serving in his fifth term as a Morgan Hill councilmember—was convicted of a similar misdemeanor charge in 2015, in relation to an incident at the couple’s previous home March 23. Carr pleaded no contest to domestic battery and completed a 16-week counseling program. The court later dismissed the charge from his record, at Carr’s formal request. Carr has also denied acting violently in that incident, and said he pleaded no contest to avoid prolonged court proceedings.
If Carr is convicted of the 2017 charge, the court can consider the 2015 conviction as a prior offense in his sentencing, according to authorities.