SURPRISED BY RULINGS
FRANK CARSON CASE
BY WILLIAM THOMAS JENSEN (TOM)
Why is it that the smartest people have no common sense? That is my opinion of Judge Zuniga after her rulings today. This meat grinder of a preliminary hearing has come to an end, but it turns out that it has now morphed into a trial that should never have happened in the first place.
I am going to be relatively brief in my writing today. It will be more of an opinion piece. I am simply disgusted by how little evidence is required to hold someone over for trial. I am also disgusted about how long this preliminary hearing has taken. We should have gone directly to a trial, and this thing would be over by now. The prosecution said at the outset that the preliminary hearing was going to last four weeks. I don’t think this was ever their plan. Their plan was to prolong the agony and expense as much as possible.
Judge Zuniga starts out at 10:21AM. The courtroom was packed, and the overflow area was packed as well. We had an overabundance of deputies in the courtroom. One extremely tall one reminded me of lurch from the Adams Family. All the detectives were there, even some that I was unfamiliar with. Conspicuous with her absence was Birgit Fladager, our District Attorney who has steadfastly refused to attend even one day of the preliminary hearing. Marlisa Ferreira looked stressed out, and Kirk Bunch had that strange jumpiness about him that he has shown in the past.
Judge Zuniga starts out with comments about the audience, and says something about how she can’t imagine what we have gone through during the last 1 ½ years. She reminds the audience that she will not tolerate any negative comments, or even clapping in the courtroom.
She starts out by stating that Beverly Woody’s testimony is going to be totally thrown out. She talks about how Beverly Woody’s information had been provided to her by Robin Attenhoffer, with no one else present at the time. Judge Zuniga states that it is unclear what the foundation is for Beverly Woody’s testimony, and she strikes it from the case.
Judge Zuniga now states that this case has not been an easy one for her to rule on. She states that the preliminary hearing seemed to her to be like a real trial. We now have a serious technical problem with the computer system that requires a fifteen-minute break to fix.
When things start back up, Judge Zuniga speaks about the massive amount of information that she has had to review. She speaks about the nature of the witnesses, the long passage of time, misstatements of evidence by both the defense and the prosecution, and evidence that was argued that was not even in the record. She speaks about the combative nature of the proceedings. Judge Zuniga: “That said, I want to speak about the law that concerns my rulings on this case.”
Judge Zuniga now goes into case law that concerns the burden of proof that is required for a holding order. I have been told by several defense attorneys that any decent lawyer can indict a ham sandwich. After today’s rulings, I must admit that they were spot on with this comment. Judge Zuniga cites The People v Williams 1969, and The People v Mower. She speaks about the Cooley case, the Bolden case, the Slaughter case, and the Jones case. I could start seeing that we were being set up for what she was about to rule on the bench.
Judge Zuniga starts out with the evidence. The first thing mentioned was the Prop 115 testimony of Ricky Cooley that concerned threats and confrontations that were allegedly made by Frank Carson. She states that these threats were corroborated by a rather long list of others. I must note that this corroborating evidence was made by “The scum of the Earth.” She now speaks about the police reports from the officers. She speaks about testimony that showed Frank Carson going through cars, and watching Michael Cooley’s house from across the street in his car. Judge Zuniga states that she has factored in the credibility of the witnesses, and has found them to be credible. Like I said before, the smartest people are the ones with no common sense. She finds Ricky Cooley’s testimony credible. She mentions how Frank Carson had handed out a flyer. She talks about how Frank Carson had hired investigators to investigate the matter, and how she thought this was odd. She speaks about testimony that showed that people were on the Carson property walking around with guns. She talks about the testimony of Kathy Grinnolds.
Judge Zuniga now goes into Robert Woody. Judge Zuniga: “There is no question that he lied at times.” No shit Sherlock. She says Woody is a slow reader, street smart, and manipulative. She speaks about how he had a lot of inconsistencies in his testimony. Despite this, she speaks about how there are some things that were consistent. She speaks about how Robert Woody spoke about Baljit Athwal fighting with Korey Kauffman, Daljit Atwal joining in, and shooting Korey Kauffman. She speaks about the inconsistent testimony concerning a gun being present. She speaks about how the body was buried at Pop N Cork Liquors, and being moved to the mountains. Judge Zuniga speaks about how Baljit Athwal was spot checking the Carson property.
Judge Zuniga now speaks about how the defense attorneys had argued that Corpus had not been met. Judge Zuniga states that Robert Woody had testified that Korey Kauffman had been shot, and had described the clothing that he was wearing, and a head lamp that he had borrowed from Michael Cooley, and how these items had been found with the remains in the mountains. She speaks about how the body had tested negative for blood.
Judge Zuniga now goes into Patrick Hampton, and that he was not concerned at all about the truth. She states that Hampton was only trying to antagonize the defense attorneys after he had been arrested. She throws out his testimony entirely.
Judge Zuniga now goes into her rulings. Things go well for Georgia DeFelippo and Christina DeFelippo. She finds no evidence at all for a homicide with Georgia DeFelippo. She finds no evidence for obstruction of justice for Georgia DeFelippo or Christina DeFelippo. She sees nothing that would indicate that either of them were involved with a conspiracy to obstruct justice. She states that there is no evidence to show that Christina was an accessory, or knew anything about a felony being committed. Marlisa Ferreira spouts out that she had argued for accessory for Georgia DeFelippo, and Judge Zuniga states that there is no evidence that shows that Georgia knew a felony had been committed.
We now go into Walter Wells. Judge Zuniga states that she struggled with this ruling. She starts out by stating that Marlisa Ferreira has taken homicide off the charges for Walter Wells. Judge Zuniga now starts speaking about obstruction of justice, and overt act #12. She states that there is no evidence of this. She now goes into the phone records, and states that the phone records are troubling for both the defense and the prosecution Based on the phone records, Judge Zuniga found enough evidence to hold Walter Wells over for count 2 of obstruction of justice. Marlisa Ferreira reminds the judge that she had asked for a charge of accessory, and Judge Zuniga states that there is sufficient evidence to hold Walter Wells over for a charge of accessory. Judge Zuniga states that there is insufficient evidence to hold Walter Wells over for a charge of murder.
Now we get to Frank Carson. Judge Zuniga states that the evidence shows that Frank Carson set this whole process into motion. She rules that Frank Carson, Baljit Athwal, and Daljit Atwal have to be held over for murder, and obstruction of justice. Judge Zuniga states that there is insufficient evidence to prove the special circumstance of lying in wait. She states that this would require a specific intent to kill, and that there is no evidence to show that Baljit Athwal intended to kill Korey Kauffman. She states that there is no evidence to show that a gun or a knife was present.
Judge Zuniga now takes up the perjury charge against Frank Carson. This involves a Form 700 that had some financial information that was missing on it. Frank had filled this form out when he ran for DA. She states that Frank Carson had filed an amended Form 700, but that she sees this amended form as not being done in good faith. She states that this charge is so miss-joined, and has nothing to do with the homicide. Judge Zuniga now rules that Frank Carson will be held to answer to this charge of perjury. This is a crock of crap as far as I am concerned.
It seems as though we are at the end, but Marlisa Ferreira spouts out that she wants the judge to remand the defendants to custody. Judge Zuniga states that she let the defendants out on their own recognizance to save the prosecution from having the case tossed out due to all the late discovery. Judge Zuniga states that the special circumstances of lying in wait have been tossed out. Judge Zuniga now states that she is not going to set bail for the defendants, and put them back into custody.
Marlisa Ferreira argues back. She states that the defendants have been seen talking together in the parking lot in violation of the courts orders. Marlisa Ferreira now starts arguing that the law does not require the prosecution to provide the discovery in a timely manner. Judge Zuniga states that she disagrees with Marlisa’s interpretation of her Brady obligations. Marlisa keeps arguing with the judge, and asks that the defendants be forced to wear tracking devices. Judge Zuniga: “You have lots of problems in this case, they know what the parameters are.” Judge Zuniga: “No GPS tracking devices will be required.” Judge Zuniga cautions the defendants to have no contact with each other.
I am wondering when Judge Zuniga is going to bring up the sanctions that she mentioned that are going to be handed down for the late discovery. I was looking for the sanctions to be mentioned today, but no such luck.
We are now done for the day. Arraignment for the defendants will be on April 24th, at 9:30AM. I am in this for the long haul, and will be there every day I can till the defendants are acquitted by a jury of twelve people. Common sense will prevail.
Sincerely; William Thomas Jensen (Tom)