THE TIME BOMB IN JUDGE ZUNIGA’S COURTROOM
By Warren Yates
Before beginning today’s comments on the events that occurred in Judge Zuniga’s courtroom, I have to digress and mention something I forgot to put in my comments from Tuesday’s day in court. After court I had to walk around the corner to my car and then I had to make a phone call before I left. As I finished my phone call and drove westbound on L St. I turned left onto 12th St. and as I approached mid-block, everyone had exited the court area.
But lo and behold parked in in the street in front of the court was Mdm. Deputy Dist. Atty. and chief investigator Kirk Bunch loading their vehicle with their case. Huddled together with them was Mr. Microphone, Mark Davis. My first thought was that they were in a high-level conference sorting out the hard day in court. But then, my sixth sense kicked into action and I realized that Mr. Microphone may have just been obtaining new batteries for the wire the deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira admittedly provided for him. So watch out people “there are ears around”.
This session of my comments has to be rated at least MA if not R. I have to warn you in advance, do not let your children read these comments. If you work in a church or a cuss word free environment do not open this up there. I will be quoting the wording from the mouth of the next rock star witness the prosecution has produced. So once again buckle up and hang on for the ride.
I read the article the Bee reporter wrote and from the length and content of the article, is obvious that he was late in arriving and early in leaving. There was so much that occurred in the afternoon session that the public needs to be made aware of but it is sadly lacking in the Bee article. If you’re not there you can’t report what happened. So now the public will enjoy hearing about the afternoon session from two different authors. So let’s get busy.
The morning started out with defense attorney Martha Carlton Magana advising the court again that the Dist. Atty. did in fact mislead (lie to) the court on several things. On Tuesday the Dist. Atty. implied that Ms. Magana possibly had a hand in having another of their stellar witnesses, Ronald Cooper, decide not to testify. The Dist. Atty. implied that one of Cooper’s cellmate’s named Harris was being represented by Ms. Magana.
Ms. Magana brought up the fact that even though the aspersions by the Dist. Atty. that Ms. Magana had tampered with a witness are false, Ms. Magana has had her credibility tarnished within the legal and public community here in Stanislaus County by the insensitive unfounded innuendos and is seeking sanctions against the Dist. Atty. Irrespective of what this court does, Ms. Magana is going to take her complaint outside of this courtroom.
The Dist. Atty. also in the prior session stated that local attorney Steven O’Connor was in a partnership with Frank Carson and that Mr. O’Connor had gone to see Mr. Harris and encouraged him to dissuade Ronald Cooper from testifying. The Dist. Atty. stated she obtained that information from public records. That claim was disproven when the district attorney said that those records were obtained from a special app that the Dist. Atty. has. At that time defense attorney Percy Martinez asked the court to order the Dist. Atty. to provide those records as discovery. He also denied that Frank Carson and Steven O’Connor were or ever had been partners.
Mr. O’Connor had used some office space at Frank Carson’s office and they may have appeared for each other on occasion in court. However there was no partnership. The Dist. Atty. still felt that they had been in a partnership because Mr. O’Connor used office space off and on in Frank Carson’s office.
In today’s session after the Dist. Atty. provided the jail visitation records to the defense attorneys it was shown that the visits by attorney O’Connor to Ronald Cooper’s cellmate Harris, occurred months before Frank Carson had even been arrested thereby debunking the Dist. Atty.’s frivolous theory of tampering with a witness.
During this period time in the courtroom and after hearing that the deputy district attorney had not been completely truthful and had certainly not done her research, several defense attorneys had some things to say regarding the Dist. Atty. as follows: Mr. Forkner indicated that much of what the district attorney presented is materially false and casts aspersions upon several of the defense attorneys. Mr. Martinez stated that her false allegations cast aspersions upon Frank Carson’s reputation. He also stated that the long-winded assertions made by the Dist. Atty. were sanctionable and he wanted sanctions imposed.
Ms. Magana stated that because of the Dist. Atty.’s assertions, many people in the community believe that everything a district attorney says is true and accurate. She stated that what the district attorney did to her is tantamount to a person being accused of a crime without any evidence. Mr. Forkner stated not just accusations but false accusations. The District attorney has obviously not been around a farm. She doesn’t realize that once a horse is out too late to close the barn door and the horse is gone. And so is Ms. Magana’s reputation. Mr. Martinez added the Dist. Atty. is the one poisoning the jury pool by making false accusations against the defense attorneys.
Judge Zuniga then gave the floor to Dist. Atty. Ferreira. In her attempt to conduct damage control, the district attorney said there had been a sudden change in Ronald Cooper in not wanting to testify and that something was amiss. She stated that Ronald Cooper had not mentioned anything about being threatened with a knife by Michael Cooley. The district attorney said something occurred and she wants to know what and she has a right to ask.
She backpedaled and stated that she did not accuse Ms. Magana of anything. She also stated she made no effort to mislead the court. She stated she also never accused Mr. Forkner or Ms. Magana of tampering. The Dist. Atty. is bewildered by being accused of manufacturing evidence.
She also stated she has been called names like a liar and being untruthful. She stated there has been no sanctions on those who called her that. She wants to find out how Ronald Cooper thought he would get less time for his testimony. Where did Mr. Forkner get the information to ask that question of Ronald Cooper.
Mr. Forkner then reiterated that the Dist. Atty. was wrong when she said that the last one to go to visit Harris was attorney O’Connor. That was untrue. And then the district attorney pointed her finger at me for asking the question. Investigator Bunch in his interviews tells people what he wants them to say as evidenced by several recordings that have been listened to of Bunches interviews.
Mr. Martinez reminded the court that the district attorney said that attorney O’Connor was partners with Frank Carson and that was a false allegation. He also stated that the district attorney was lying about offers of proof. Ms. Magana stated that the DA has a special application showing visitors to inmates and that she knew Michael Cooley had more than 20 knives so it should be no surprise that Michael Cooley pulled a knife on Ronald Cooper.
Judge Zuniga decided there would be no sanctions imposed and at this time would now go over the rap sheet of their next rock star witness by the name of Patrick Hampton. I will memorialize here some of the highlights of Mr. Hamptons criminal history so the public can make their own assessment of Hamptons credibility and integrity.
On September 20, 1986 Hampton was arrested by Oakdale Police Department for 459 PC, burglary under file number 860-7715. On June 9, 1990 he was arrested by Oakdale Police Department for 487 PC, grand theft under case number 165496. On October 19, 1990 he was arrested by Oakdale Police Department were 245 PC an assault with a deadly weapon under case number 0980651.
On July 3, 1995 Hampton was arrested by Hayward Police Department for 484 PC forgery of an access card under file number 257292. On September 12, 1990 he was arrested by Oakdale Police Department 4459 PC, burglary and 148 PC resisting delaying or obstructing an officer under file number 208290. On December 26, 1990 he was arrested for 459 PC burglary by Stanislaus County under file number 212249. He was given a commitment to CYA on that charge.
I’m sure this is getting boring for those of you reading this but it is necessary for the public to know the quality of some of these witnesses so I will carry on. These records are all available on the Stanislaus County court index so none of this information I’m presenting is privileged.
On September 24, 1990 he was arrested by Oakdale Police Department or 459 PC burglary under the following case numbers 165496, 259590 and 260752. He was given a commitment to the Department of Corrections for that charge. I missed the date but he was arrested by Calaveras County for 487.3 PC grand theft under case number E79247. On August 5, 1993 he was arrested by Stanislaus County 459 PC burglary under file number are 288713.
On May 7, 1998 he was arrested by the Modesto Police Department for felony attempted grand theft under file number 187640. He was given a commitment to Department of Corrections on that charge. On March 8 2000 he was arrested by Stanislaus County 2800.2 PC evading arrest under file number 1000592. On January 6, 2005 he was arrested by Stanislaus County for 11377H & S felony possession on file number 1085884. Received the prison commitment on that charge.
And like I said before I’m even getting bored with all these crimes this witness has committed so I am going to just list out the remaining crimes without the details. On March 16, 2007 he was arrested for 148 PC resisting delaying an officer and theft by false personation. March 19, 2008 he was arrested for 148 PC resisting delaying an officer and 2800.2 the California vehicle code evading arrest. October 6, 2009 arrested for five APC assault with deadly weapon and was sentenced to prison for that. August 2, 2011 he was arrested for 11350 H&S and 11377 possession of narcotics. And on April 3, 2014 he was arrested for 10851 California vehicle code stolen vehicle and 496 PC possession of stolen property. Charges were dismissed possibly because the district attorney took too long to bring the charges and the case timed out.
Okay that’s it for this witnesses record but he does have several outstanding failures to appear on vehicle code matters including one for driving on a suspended license. He MAY have warrants out for those failures to appear. I don’t know why those haven’t been addressed since he is here in court but that’s none of my business. Just saying…
Now the Bee article says the judge will not sanction the prosecutor and she asked for Cooper to be returned to the witness stand. Then the article says testimony in the lengthy hearing will continue into the next year. Since the reporter was only in court a short period time he didn’t report that when Ronald Cooper got on the stand he was asked a couple of questions by Mr. Forkner stating that he knows Patrick Hampton from jail and has known him for 10 years. He seen him several more times in jail and once he even saw him going into the parole office. Cooper stated that he knew that Korey Kauffman was a recycler and a meth addict.
No further questions by any of the attorneys. So after five minutes on the stand Ronald Cooper was then released to go back to his home prison Happy Valley or Paradise Valley or whatever it is there in Coalinga, California.
Had the Bee reporter stayed in the courtroom he would’ve enjoyed the attempted floor show put on by prosecution witness Patrick Hampton. As you will see in the rest of this report, Mr. Hampton, and again I use the term Mr. loosely, should realize that there are already enough comedians that are out there scratching and digging for work. If he based his livelihood on standup comedy he would starve.
The following will be a narrative of Mr. Hamptons soft shoe routine with the Dist. Atty. and then the beginning of Mr. Forkner starting to do the Bristol Stomp on this arrogant for no reason multi felon star prosecution witness’s feet.
Hampton told the district attorney that he knew Frank Carson and that Mr. Carson had been his attorney at one time. Hampton stated that while he was in custody he had heard about a young man that had been killed. And out of his civic duty and quest for the truth, he wrote a letter to Mr. Jacobson or Jake as he knows him because he has known him since he was a little boy.
Hampton stated that in court one day, Frank Carson took him into a conference room by the court and allegedly asked Hampton if he could do something for him. Hampton said maybe, what? Frank Carson then allegedly said I need you to do something for me. Do you know the Cooley brothers? Hampton answered yes. Frank Carson allegedly then said I need you to deal with Cooley brothers Michael and Tony. Hampton said he knew Michael Cooley and could take care of it.
The Dist. Atty. asked what he thinks Frank Carson meant and Hampton answered to deal with them and fuck them up. The Dist. Atty. asked Hampton if Frank Carson had a file with him when he went into the conference room. Hampton answered yes and then Mr. Forkner asked what kind of file and Hampton told Mr. Forkner what you think it was, a Playboy magazine. A few in a gallery gasped and the judge told Hampton not the answer like that.
The DA then asked what else did Frank Carson say? Hampton stated he wanted to know if I could take care of some business, handle some shit for him. He wanted me to fuck up Michael Cooley over several thousand dollars’ worth of stolen property. Hampton stated Frank Carson told him to contact Paul Singh about getting bailed out.
Hampton stated that his bail was set at $100,500. The Dist. Atty. asked what the bail would be on that amount at a bail bond business and Hampton stated around $10,000. One of the defense attorneys then asked how Hampton would know how much the bail charge would be. Judge Zuniga then stated he’s probably correct he has lots of experience. That was the best one-liner of the day.
Hampton contacted Singh bail bonds and through negotiation Hampton could have somebody put up $5800 to obtain his release. He still owed Mr. Singh $4200. When Hampton got out and went to talk to Paul Singh, Singh gave him some business cards and told of the hand them out and asked people to come to him for bail.
The DA inferred that Mr. Carson was going to have Hampton do something and possibly not owe Paul Singh the money. There were several objections here and Hampton was removed from the witness stand in an area out of his hearing.
Hampton had indicated that Paul Singh and he along with a female employee of Singh’s bail bonds were conspiring to commit identity theft. Mr. Forkner pointed out the fact that there was no conspiracy and that Mr. Singh just wanted his $4200 for bailing Hampton out. He also wants the Dist. Atty.’s characterization of Paul Singh disregarded.
Attorney Jesse Garcia then brought out the fact that investigator’s report is different than what’s in the audio or video recordings. Mr. Forkner then stated that there is stuff in the police reports that are not in the audio and he doesn’t know where it came from. The Dist. Atty. picks and chooses what they want from the reports and the audiotapes prove otherwise. The police reports cannot be trusted and they have to listen to all of the videotapes.
Hampton is brought back in and returned to the witness stand. He was asked if Paul Singh had talked to Frank Carson before. Hampton said yes him and that they were like family. Hampton then said Frank Carson asked him if he had done it yet. Or have you talked to anybody. Frank Carson allegedly said he wants me to hurry up and get this shit done with. Frank Carson allegedly said he didn’t want to know about it. The Dist. Atty. asked Hampton what kind of a look Frank Carson had on his face while telling him this. Hampton said that Frank Carson had a shit eating grin on his face.
Frank Carson had gotten Hampton a deal for credit for time served but Hampton jumped bail. Hampton said didn’t know why he did it. Hampton said when he contacted Frank Carson again that Frank Carson told him “pull your head out of your ass. I had a CTS deal for you”. The Dist. Atty. finished her direct examination at this time.
Robert Forkner asked Hampton how he knew Ronald Cooper and Hampton said he knew in from jail. Mr. Forkner then asked Hampton what his drug of choice was and Hampton answered “meth”, what’s yours? Judge again told Hampton not to argue with the other attorneys. Forkner then asked Hampton why he wrote the letter to Jacobson. Hampton stated that it was just the right thing to do.
Robert Forkner asked Hampton if he had any expectation of getting a deal or less time for his testimony and he answered no. Forkner then asked when did you get out of jail this year? Hampton stated I don’t know. At this point watching Hampton testify makes it appear as if Hampton is trying to become a ventriloquist because he barely moves his mouth as he speaks and is hard to understand. That may be an occupation he could fall back on if he can stay out of jail or prison long enough.
Mr. Forkner asked Hampton if he received any benefits or consideration for his testimony. Hampton answered no. Mr. Forkner then asked if Hampton was a member of the “Northern Riders” and Hampton answered “No, are you”. Understanding that we are nearing the end of this afternoon’s court session and so Mr. Forkner maintains his decorum as an officer of the court in spite of the disrespect shown by this rock star witness of the prosecution. Deputy district attorney Ferreira has made no attempt to counsel her witness to refrain from his street gutter conduct and respect Judge Zuniga’s court.
Mr. Forkner asked Hampton if he tried to blackmail Frank Carson. Hampton stated that he did. Forkner asked Hampton if he is trying to make money by blackmailing Frank Carson. Hampton answered no. Earlier Hampton had referred to Frank Carson with a derogatory name. Mr. Forkner asked Hampton if he calls all attorneys names, me too? Hampton said “Yes because you are a smart ass”. Again deputy Dist. Atty. Ferreira still makes no attempt to muzzle her star witnesses to have him respect the court and fellow attorneys. There is the old saying that says “if you are not part of the cure, you’re part of the problem”. But that’s none of my business. Just saying…
Forkner then asked Hampton if he had confessed to several felonies. Hampton said yes. Mr. Forkner asked him if he had put his scope on a gun and aimed that that Paul Singh’s wife? Hampton stated no and then tried to weasel out of the question by saying he didn’t put it on a gun and he was just looking through the scope to look at the license number of Singh’s car.
Mr. Forkner then asked Hampton if his girlfriend put up $10,000 to bail him out. Hampton stated it was not a girlfriend just a lady friend and that Singh had tricked her into signing a paper for $10,000. Mr. Forkner then asked if Hampton had told the district attorney investigator that he would record Frank Carson and then blackmail him for money. The truth remains to be seen.
After Hampton left the stand and was admonished by the judge not to talk to anybody including the prosecution about the case, the Dist. Atty. confirmed that tracking devices had/have been placed on all of the defendants vehicles and that she had provided all of the affidavits for the tracking devices to the defense attorneys in discovery. Several attorney stated they had not received any of that. After some back and forth the Dist. Atty. will make sure that the defense attorneys have those documents. There was also a pole camera installed at the Pop N Cork liquor store in Turlock. That ended the day’s court session. Court will resume again on December 28, 2015 at 9:30 AM.
Having served in law enforcement for 27 years I am a firm believer that if you’ve done the crime you need to do the time. But first let’s make sure that you’ve done the crime before you do the time. Additionally I would hope that deputy district attorney Ferreira would use this break in the court proceedings to talk to Hampton to instruct him to discontinue his disrespect for Judge Zuniga’s court and her fellow members of the California State Bar. Should she fail to do so and Hampton continues with his jailhouse attitude, it helps everyone to get a firm grasp on the reliability and credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Having been in the courtroom every day it’s the inception of this “preliminary hearing”, I would suggest to Patrick Hampton if he reads this, and I know he can read be because he had to constantly refer to the written reports to remember what he said prior. Oh, the wonders of modern chemistry in spite of their minor setbacks to one’s body.
If Mr. Hampton comes back into court with the same jailhouse attitude on December 28th, and he faces the team of defense attorneys with the leadoff hitter Robert Forkner coming to bat, Hampton will be sliced, diced, skewered, fricasseed, sautéed, puréed, smoked and pounded like an old abalone. He will be barely able to make it onto a sushi plate.
Referencing the title of this commentary, in observing Mr. Hampton on the stand, he already appears to be ready to explode like an IED in the courtroom. Mr. Hampton has only been cross-examined for approximately 15 minutes. He better bring a lunch when he come back. If Mr. Hampton’s attitude does not change, this will be a long, unpleasant and painful time on the stand.
Well look for the next commentary sometime around December 28th and be sure to read my fellow commentator Tom Jensen’s commentaries on http://sabatino.assembly-enews.com/common/mailings/index.cfm and at