THE LONG ROAD TO JUSTICE
FRANK CARSON CASE
BY WILLIAM THOMAS JENSEN (TOM)
Today was a barn burner of a day. We started 30 minutes early, and ended over 30 minutes late. The majority of the day was taken up hashing out the numerous defense motions that have been stacking up in this preliminary trial. The end of the day was taken up with arguments over several cell phone intercepts of the Athwal brothers, and one call between Daljit Atwall and Robert Woody. Now sit back, and I will try to paint you another picture of what happened today in the courtroom.
We start out with Defense Attorney Percy Martinez requesting all reports concerning a home invasion robbery that involved Micah Disney and Patrick Hampton. I must say that I have met Micah Disney recently, and this man has turned his life around. He owns a successful tow truck business, and thinks Patrick Hampton is the scum that we all know him to be. It really takes courage for a person to turn his life around like he has done. There supposedly exists some reports that were done by Kirk Bunch and Steve Jacobson on this incident, but Marlissa Fereirra denies that any were done. Hampton, according to the defense attorneys, had provided information on Micah Disney with regards to the home invasion robbery.
The second motion discussed this morning concerned a request for all E-Mails and text messages between law enforcement and witnesses in this preliminary concerning Robert Woody. There was a lot of argument between the defense attorneys and Marlissa Fereirra over this motion. Some of this information concerned Crime Stopper tips, and Marlissa was claiming privilege on them. Judge Zuniga instructed Marlissa that must consult the Modesto City Council about this issue. Percy Martinez stated that the defense attorneys do not want the names or personal information about any of the tipsters, but he wants to see if any of the tips contain exculpatory evidence.
Percy wants to know how much money has been expended on the Frank Carson case, including the trips to Australia, and New York. I believe I have heard someone had to travel to Hawaii as well. That must have been a great assignment on the public dime. Marlissa invokes privilege on this matter. Percy Martinez says the information goes to bias, motive, and interest. Judge Zuniga denies this motion. It must be noted that Supervisor Jim DeMartini, over a month ago on the Backstory internet radio show, stated that they had spent 3 million dollars so far. He also stated that the prosecution is going to lose this case.
The next motion that was taken up was a motion requesting the names of the confidential informants that were used in this preliminary trial. The defense attorneys want any exculpatory evidence that may have been provided by the confidential informants. Marlissa states that the defense has received all the statements from those that she intends to use in this trial, and is invoking her 1040 privilege. I am not sure what was finally decided on this matter. I think the judge needs some time to think about this one.
The next motion involved Michael Cooley, Eula Keyes, and Michael Cooper who were called by Detective Shaw, who was Michael Cooley’s handler. The defense attorneys have not received information they want on these calls. Marlissa states that she had checked with Detective Shaw, and the defense has received everything on these calls. It turns out that Kirk Bunch had written the report on these calls. The defense attorneys seem to be fine with this.
The next motion concerned a request for the Field Interview Cards that were filled out on every person contacted during the investigation of this case. Much argument ensued on this issue. Marlissa Fereirra argued that the request is overbroad, and irrelevant. Judge Zuniga stated that her concern was about any Brady material that could have been contained on these cards. Marlissa states that there are around 400 of these cards, and the work would be overwhelming. Murder is a serious charge, and I think this should be provided to the defense. Percy Martinez states that the investigators stopped hundreds of people at Pop N Cork, and canvassed the neighborhood. Percy: “We need to talk to those people.” It is brought up by Percy Martinez, that a person with the last name of Rindahwa was questioned, and told information about Frank Carson being involved. Percy states that 1300 to 1400 people were interviewed. Marlissa Fereirra states that there is nothing in the law that requires the prosecution to provide this information. Judge Zuniga tells Marlissa Fereirra to check to see if there are any Field Investigation Cards that did not lead to a witness statement. This should be a huge job for the prosecution to comply with the judge’s orders.
The bloggers, including myself are next up on the agenda. Percy Martinez requests any reports on the bloggers, and wants to know if we are being wiretapped. I just assume that there are reports, and all of our calls are being monitored. Marlissa makes a statement that this is a public trial, but she does not directly deny that we are being monitored. I am sure they have no problem violating our First Amendment Rights. They can always go out of county to get a pet judge to sign anything they want. Talk then goes to the fact that our court proceedings are actually being recorded by a surveillance system installed in the courtroom. Judge Zuniga state that: “I am the eye in the sky that is beholding.” Marlissa argues that: “This is not discovery.” I don’t think we got anywhere with this discussion. Hey Marlissa, can you hear me now?
The next motion involved voice stress analysis and polygraph exams that have been done on some of the witnesses in this case. Percy: “They have information on this that we are asking for.” Judge Zuniga: “Are you doing this?” Marlissa: “Voice stress analysis and polygraph examinations, yes.” Judge Zuniga: “You must provide that to the defense, and provide it by next Thursday AM.”
The next motion concerned a motion by Percy Martinez to obtain any surveillance tapes from the metal recycling businesses, AMR ambulance on Lander Rd, and any other businesses on Lander Rd that have surveillance systems. He also wants the tapes from neighbors on Lander Rd that have surveillance systems. Marlissa Fereirra responds by saying that Detective Barringer went out and was unable to find any surveillance tapes. A pole cam that was installed to watch Pop N Cork Liquors was discussed, but it seems nothing of interest was caught on that system. It would be interesting for the defense to get their hands on the tapes from that system.
The next motion was concerning any photographs concerning this case. Marlissa Fereirra stated that all photographs have been provided. The defense attorneys bring up the fact that they have not been provided a photograph of Jason Armstrong visiting the burial site of Korey Kauffman. Marlissa said that this photo was on a game cam, and that the photograph had been lost forever. I assume someone erased the image.
The next motion concerned tracking devices. Marlissa Fereirra states that she has complied with the defense attorney’s request on this matter.
Next up was a motion to obtain any recorded phone calls involving Kirk Bunch, Jon Evers, Detective Lingerfeldt (Boy he looked goofy today in a bow tie) with Patrick Hampton, Eula Keyes, and some others. I think that is going to be taken care of.
The next motion concerned any surveillance footage concerning pipes on the Frank Carson property. Marlissa: “There are none.” Wow, it seems like they keep saying the pipes were set out as bait, and they have no photographic evidence of the pipes existing at all.
There was a motion to obtain information on any other criminal activity on Lander Ave. Marlissa: “We have none.”
There was a motion discussed requesting information on the cadaver dogs that were used to search the Frank Carson property, and the property of Frank Carson’s mother. Percy Martinez wants the history of all of the dogs used, the training records of these dogs, handler information, and certification records. Marlissa Fereirra states that the certification records are tightly guarded by the company that owns the dogs, and she is having trouble getting them.
Defense Attorney Percy Martinez brings up the fact that Supervisor Jim DeMartini stated on Carmen Sabatino’s Backstory internet radio show that the cost was 3 million dollars. That was over a month ago, and we feel the cost is around 4 million dollars at this time. Percy states that the exorbitant expenditures on this trial go to bias, motive, and intent. Judge Zuniga wants backup data on this matter. Judge Zuniga instructs Marlissa Fereirra to contact Jim DeMartini, and find out where he got this figure.
Defense Attorney Percy Martinez again brings up the courtroom monitoring system. He states that the defense attorneys know that the courtroom has a real time monitoring system, and wants to know if the holding cell is monitored where the defense attorneys meet with their clients. Percy: “We need to know if the DA does this.” Marlissa: “We have not.” Her nose seems unusually large to me at this time. It gives her character. LOL
Percy Martinez brings up a motion to discover any letters to the judiciary regarding Frank Carson’s lawsuit against DA Investigator Steve Jacobson. Percy wants all letters and verbal communications prior to 8/11/2015 and after that date. Carson’s case number against Steve Jacobson is #2001620. Percy states that the trial was set to be heard three days after Frank Carson was arrested. What a coincidence.
They always say that the best defense is a good offense. The DA seems to follow this rule well in this county. One of Frank Carson’s murder trials ended up with a hung jury 10 to 2 for acquittal. The defendant in that trial sued for malicious prosecution. He has now been informed that the DA is going to retry him for murder. I guess if they hammer him forever, he will run out of money to defend himself. Judge Zuniga seemed interested in Frank Carson’s lawsuit against Steve Jacobson, and wanted to know who handled the case for Jacobson. An attorney named John Whitefleet out of Sacramento was the attorney. The local judges involved were Judge Cordova and Judge Whiteside. Dave Harris was involved in this case as well. Judge Steffen got involved in this case also. Percy Martinez brings up the fact that there was contact between DA Birgit Fladdager and Judge Steffen. They met on this matter at the DA’s office. This is major stuff here people. It should not have happened. Judge Mayhew was going to try the case. Steffen and Cordova were the presiding judges. I think Judge Zuniga is going to look into this matter.
Defense Attorney Robert Forkner brings up the fact that the Ramey Warrant for Frank Carson was initially rejected in San Joaquin County by Judge Abdulla because he did not see probable cause. The Ramey Warrant was taken to another out of county judge and eventually signed. I guess if you shop these things around to enough judges, you will find one that doesn’t bother to read the hundreds of pages.
Talk then goes to the Pontillo trial, where Frank Carson defended Mr. Pontillo. The Pontillo jury came back with an acquittal verdict after only 30 minutes of deliberation. Percy Martinez stated that it was the fastest acquittal verdict in a major felony trial that he had ever seen. That trial was during the period of time where Frank Carson was being investigated for the Korey Kauffman case. Frank Carson was convinced that he was being wiretapped at the time of the Pontillo trial. In that trial, Detective Cory Brown testified that Frank was not being wiretapped. Marlissa Fereirra states that none of Frank Carson’s phones were tapped in 2014. She said it was not relevant then. The defense attorneys laughed at that statement. We all know they were listening in on Frank. Judge Zuniga tells the defense attorneys to do a SDT on the court. Marlissa Fereirra looks flabbergasted at this point.
It is now 1:37 PM, and we are back from lunch. I tell my fellow bloggers that it will take me forever to write my story tonight. We start out by discussing the Vaille (sp?) case that started in August of 2012. The judge on that case was Judge Ashley. Frank Carson was the defense attorney on that case. There were questions on Frank Carson’s phone calls being wiretapped during that case. Detective Jon Evers came in, and there were some communications between Evers and the judge. Frank wanted all written an oral communication on that matter. Marlissa Fereirra states that Detective Jon Evers invoked his privilege. There was an In Camera meeting between Detective Jon Evers and the judge where I assume the judge was informed about the wiretaps of Carson.
There is discussion about an incident in 2014 where Judge Steffen E-Mailed DA Birgit Fladdager. The defense attorneys want this E-Mail. Judge Zuniga shoots this down, and says if they want the E-Mail they must make a formal request asking the DA to hand over the communication. Don’t hold your breath on this folks. Percy Martinez: “The people have no privilege on this.” Marlissa Fereirra: “We are asserting official information privilege and we have provided all Brady related information.” Judge Zuniga wants what law code Marlissa is using for the privilege. Marlissa cites 1054.6, 1798.40, 1798.41, and 1040. Judge Zuniga denies the defense request using 1054 as her reason.
Defense Attorney Percy Martinez wants to know if the Ramey Warrant that was rejected by Judge Abdulla in San Joaquin County was the same as the one the was signed by Judge Pichon in the Bay Area. Marlissa says it was the same.
Percy Martinez then brings up when the Athwal brothers were arrested. After their arrest, one car sped away with Daljit Atwall, and was involved in a very serious accident. Percy stated that Daljit was dizzy, and was taken to a hospital, where he was left unattended. He eventually drove home. He was not in custody for an extended amount of time before he was re-arrested and taken to jail. His brother went to jail immediately. Percy states that this shows bias and a cover up for a law suit that followed concerning the automobile accident. Marlissa Fereirra says that this is not relevant, and there is no basis for bias, interest, or motive. She says it is speculative, and that they are trying to get information for the civil suit. It is brought out that in the wiretaps, the Athwals were talking about communicating with a civil lawyer. It was revealed that Detective Redd was driving the vehicle involved in the accident, and that he had been very seriously injured. This motion was denied by Judge Zuniga.
The next motion was concerning the fact that the defense has received no reports concerning count 4 against Frank Carson. Frank Carson is being charged with perjury with regards to financial information he provided while trying to obtain bail. Percy wants the DA to provide the files concerning the tax records that were used to file count 4. It concerns a walnut ranch that is actually owned by his wife Georgia DeFelippo, and not Frank Carson. Marlissa states that they were able to get these records from another unrelated case that is being tried in Federal Court. She also states that the DA is able to have these files, but is prohibited from sharing them with anyone. Marlissa states that Frank Carson has these financial records. Here is the problem as I see it. First of all, Frank does not own the walnut ranch. Second, a person has the right against self-incrimination. Third, the prosecution is bound by law to provide the evidence in discovery that they use to charge a person with a crime. It sounds to me that the prosecution has no legal basis for count 4 against Frank Carson. Percy Martinez brings out that the prosecution had not provided anything concerning count 4 until three days ago, even though Marlissa Fereirra had assured the court long ago that everything had been provided to the defense.
We are now done with all the motions, and Marlissa gets brave by bringing DA Investigator Steve Jacobson back to the stand. He looks like Wyatt Earp today, in a classy black suit, and the classic black western dress hat in hand. He really looked great. We get into some wiretaps of the Athwal brothers. One of the wiretaps concerns a conversation between one of the Athwal brothers and Robert Woody. The wiretaps were played in the courtroom. All but one of them was spoken in Punjabi, and we went through gyrations with the translators until we finally were able to actually play them effectively. Judge Zuniga basically lets in the few calls that were played today. The call between what I believe is Daljit Atwall and Robert Woody was spoken in English. I had a very hard time understanding Daljit in this tape, but Robert Woody seemed to be able to understand. Daljit was telling Woody that he should not talk to investigators that were asking him questions. At that time, the Athwals and Woody were unsure if the investigators were private investigators or were police officers. There really wasn’t anything of great value in these tapes that I could ascertain. This was a very long day in court. The road to justice is long and winding, but the truth will set them free.
Sincerely; William Thomas Jensen