Santa Barbara – The Santa Barbara Superior Courthouse, a favored tourist destination whose open-air corridors are frequented by mega-busloads of camera-toting European and Asian travelers intrigued by its iconic Mission Style architecture, is generally a tranquil place with sound levels akin to those of a public library. Attorneys and their clients whisper as they plan their strategy just outside of courtrooms, while inside those bastions of justice, court officers and gallery observers maintain the venue’s dignified ambience with a sound level that challenge the hearing abilities of the common brown bat, myotis lucifugus.
Such was not the case, however, on March 13th, when Brannon Lawrence Pitcher appeared before Superior Court Presiding Judge Brian hill and was sentenced to a term of 38 years to life in state prison. Pitcher, who came to his sentencing with a 12-year history of criminal convictions, was found guilty just a month ago on multiple counts of human trafficking of a minor female with special allegations of use of force, fear, fraud, and deceit to accomplish those ends, as well as possession of methamphetamine and, according to Santa Barbara Assistant District Attorney Von Nguyen, “73 counts of disobeying a court order”.
Pitcher had been convicted on evidence developed pursuant to an FBI investigation which led detectives from the Santa Barbara Police Department to a downtown hotel room where he was acting as a pimp for a 16-year old girl, having traveled with her from New York to Florida, Virginia, and Washington D.C. prior to arriving in California.
Following Pitcher’s sentencing by Hill, the female victim’s attorney attempted to read a statement to the court but was interrupted by Pitcher’s violent, expletive-filled rant that clearly articulated his renunciation of Hill’s judgment. In spite of a stern warning from the bench, Pitcher refused to stifle himself, whereupon Hill ordered his bailiffs to forcibly remove Pitcher from the courtroom.
As Pitcher was trundled away and down the public corridors, any passing tourists presumably saw more on their architectural tour than they may have anticipated.
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