Crime

Finch will be arraigned in hospital room after delays

Clifford Darrell Finch, who last month was shot by police at the end of a high-speed chase across north Fresno, will be arraigned Monday in his hospital room, a judge said Thursday.

Finch, the father of Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch, is paralyzed on his right side and has seven bullet wounds, said his attorney, Ralph Torres. One bullet is lodged in his neck.

Still, Torres said Finch "is doing better," although the paralysis could be permanent.

Finch's arraignment on charges of attempted murder and evading police has been scheduled multiple times before Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosendo Peña, only to be postponed because of his continued hospitalization.

On Thursday, Peña said the court would instead go to Finch. Torres also said he intends to seek a reduction in Finch's bail, which is now set at $2.25 million.

"Anybody who knows Cliff Finch would argue a bail reduction is warranted," Torres said.

Fresno County Assistant District Attorney John Savrnoch said prosecutors would have to see Torres' motion for bail reduction before they would respond.

Finch, 58, owner of Cliff Finch's Topiary Zoo in Friant since 1981, was listed in fair condition Thursday at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he has been since the Sept. 24 incident.

Fresno police say Finch was on his way to the home of his wife, who had obtained an emergency protective order against him, when police attempted to intercept him. They tried to stop him near Herndon and Cedar avenues, but he fled west on Herndon, running red lights and clipping a car at the Blackstone intersection before police forced him off the road near Highway 99.

At that point, police said, Finch began firing a handgun at them. Four officers returned fire, hitting Finch several times.

The chase and shootout came at the end of a series of events that have led Finch's family to believe he was suffering a flashback to his days in Vietnam, a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can flare up even decades after a traumatic event. It can make sufferers forgetful or cause them to avoid their family. The disorder can result in a lack of concentration or increased risk taking. In some cases, it can result in violent outbursts.

Torres wouldn't reveal any of his defense strategy Thursday, but he did say he expects to be "zealous" in Finch's defense.

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