ARGUMENTS FALL ON DEAF EARS
FRANK CARSON ET AL CASE
BY WILLIAM THOMAS JENSEN (TOM)
Today was a very frustrating day for me. First of all, Judge Zuniga did not start on time once again. Court was supposed to start at 9:30AM, but we sat in the courtroom until 10:10AM when the judge finally emerged from her chambers. My God she was disorganized, and flustered at the beginning. For the first time in ages, The Modesto Bee reporter was in the courtroom for the morning session. Special Agent Brody (Of the dirt patrol) was present. This man routinely dresses worse than I do, and I am not known for my fine attire. He was sitting with DA Investigator Kirk Bunch and Detective Jon Evers in the chairs that are usually reserved for the jurors.
Judge Zuniga starts out by mumbling “Sorry.” She is frequently an hour late and a dollar short as the saying goes. She asks questions concerning how long Judge Moody is going to take to rule on the motion concerning Frank Carson and the apparent lack of evidence that would show that he conspired with the Athwal brothers in the killing of Korey Kauffman. I confirmed with Frank Carson that the judge’s last name is Moody and not Mooney. Zuniga seems to be quite nervous about this matter. Perhaps she is nervous that Judge Moody will be impartial enough to see that there really is no significant evidence that would support this conspiracy theory of the prosecution’s. Judge Zuniga seemed concerned when the attorneys told her that Judge Moody had said that it would take him “A While” to rule on this motion.
Judge Zuniga decides to start out with the 1385 Motion. She states that she is sitting in as a Magistrate for this matter. I am not quite sure what this means. She cites the People v Konow 2004. She states that some things need to go to Judge Moody on one of the 995 issues. She speaks about irregularities in the proceeding, and the handling of Discovery.
Robert Forkner states that the issues must go to review in court. He cites the Doctrine of Cumulative Effect. Judge Zuniga states that she can’t find a single case that she can use for this argument. Judge Zuniga states that another judge must rule on this issue. She states that the defense needs to show prejudice, and that prejudice was never argued until oral arguments. She states that nothing in the record indicates prejudice concerning the defendants being in custody for such a long time. She states that the defendants had competent council. Judge Zuniga starts enumerating the reasons for all the delays in this trial. She lists vacations, attorneys being ill, the injury of attorney Jesse Garcia when he fell, personalities, anger, bickering, the many 402 hearings, the attorneys getting distracted and going off on a side track. What she did not list was the vast majority of days when Judge Zuniga was very late to the courtroom for various reasons. She talked about repetitive cross examinations, and then the re re re re directs from Marlisa Ferreira, and then more cross examination by the defense. She states that this went on forever. My question is: Who is supposed to control the flow in the courtroom. I don’t think she has done a very good job of doing this.
On the issue of DA Investigator Kirk Bunch willfully doing misconduct, Judge Zuniga stated that she saw a DA’s Office that: “Let it get away from themselves, and who filed their charges too soon. Judge Zuniga said that the DA’s Office was not ready from day one, and that Marlisa Ferreira went on the defensive. She stated that Marlisa was continually trying to catch up because of the Discovery Issues. Judge Zuniga: “They bumbled their way through the Discovery.
Judge Zuniga speaks about attorney Hans Hjertonsson saying that the DA’s infrastructure was not up to the job. Judge Zuniga states that she told the prosecution to get the investigators together and do a: “Show and tell.” The judge said that the DA’s Office right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.
Judge Zuniga now states that the Discovery was provided soon enough for the defense to use. She stated that she had called for an independent audit on the matter. Judge states that if Discovery issues arise again, it will now be a 1054 issue. I am sure there will be numerous Discovery issues that come up constantly as this case proceeds. Judge Zuniga stated that just as she could see the light at the end of the tunnel, it turned out that the light was a speeding train coming down the tracks.
Judge Zuniga goes over why she released the defendants on their own recognizance. She stated that she was told by several other judges that she was the first judge in history to EVER release murder defendants with special circumstances on their own recognizance. She seemed to be distressed over this. Judge Zuniga stated that after the Preliminary Hearing was virtually over, more Discovery was turned over while she was doing clean up motions. She stated that she became very angry, but this was not the reason she released the defendants from custody. She stated that she needed to balance the defendant’s rights to have a continuous Preliminary Hearing, and the defense attorneys needed time to go over all the new Discovery.
Judge Zuniga goes into how she disallowed Frank Carson from acting as Co-Council. She states that the issue was that Frank Carson had represented several of the witnesses in other unrelated cases, and that Frank Carson already had two councils representing him.
Judge Zuniga now goes into the credibility of the witnesses. She speaks about Kathy Grinnolds, who three weeks before she testified suddenly says that she saw three people on top of the garage on the Carson property. Judge Zuniga states that this Discovery was late, but was turned over in time for the defense to use. Judge Zuniga states that Grinnolds was extensively cross examined, and that she thought her testimony was credible.
Judge Zuniga now goes into the testimony of Eula Keyes. She states that the information on the 211 case that involved Michael Cooley and Keith Hobbs said that Hobbs had a knife and stolen property on him. Judge Zuniga states that the case was dismissed because of evidentiary issues. She states there was a problem of proof. Judge Zuniga states that her testimony was credible. This was hard for me to believe.
Judge Zuniga goes into the issue of “Inducements”, and Marlisa’s misrepresentations of this issue. She states that Michael Cooley was released because his brother was dying of cancer. She states that Cooley was released on a compassionate basis. Judge Zuniga states that she did not consider the testimony of Linda Burns concerning the alleged planting of “Bait Pipes.” Judge Zuniga stated that Linda Burns never admitted to stealing property from the Carson property. Judge Zuniga stated that the prosecution was not showing Burns favoritism, and there is no Corpus, and it has not been established that she stole anything. No Corpus.
Judge Zuniga goes into the testimony of Sabrina Romero, and the issue of Marlisa suborning perjury from her. Judge Zuniga states that her testimony showed that she saw a truck drive up, and that the testimony showed that she was not made any offers. Marty Carlson has done a marvelous job of showing the many continuances and lenient treatment for her theft of what I remember was $10,000.00 from a dentist she was working for. As I remember, she wasn’t even ordered to pay restitution. I would say that she got a really good deal.
Judge Zuniga stated that there was no evidence that DA Investigator Kirk Bunch and Marlisa Ferreira interfered with the attorney/client relationship concerning TJ Samra. The judge stated that they were there to serve a subpoena. This situation did create a problem for the court according to Judge Zuniga.
Judge Zuniga now goes into Ronald Cooper. She stated that Cooper got no benefit for his testimony, and had testified that: “I testified because it was the right thing to do.” He must have been an Eagle Scout. Judge Zuniga stated that Cooper was released because of a change in the law, and an issue with the strikes he had.
Judge Zuniga now goes into Patrick Hampton. She states that she has already dismissed all of his testimony. She states that there is no record of Hampton being an informant for the DA’s Office over the last twenty years.
Judge Zuniga talks about Mr. Atala. She states that the defense has argued that Marlisa Ferreira had lied about him being an informant. The judge stated that Mr. Atala was a witness in a Federal case, and that the case was dismissed because his brother pleaded guilty in the case.
Judge Zuniga now goes into Beverly Woody. Judge Zuniga: “I struck all of her testimony.”
Judge Zuniga stated that Robert Woody did not have a deal until the deal was announced in court.
These arguments went on and on. Eventually Judge Zuniga states: “Motion denied.” This, in my opinion, was not an impartial decision. It seems like no one will be able to stop this injustice except a jury of twelve people.
We take a break, and when we go back Judge Zuniga asks Robert Forkner, Marlisa Ferreira, and the Deputy Attorney General to meet with her in her chambers. When we get back after the break, we are sent home for our lunchtime break.
We now go into a very boring paragraph by paragraph analysis and rulings by Judge Zuniga concerning declarations made by the various defense attorneys. These declarations concern reasons why the defense attorneys want the case to be taken away (Recused) from the DA’s Office and handled by the Attorney General. Marlisa Ferreira won many of these battles, but a very significant number of them were ruled in favor of the defense. This issue will continue tomorrow morning. I have had some personal issues arise that will prevent me from attending tomorrow, and possibly for the rest of this week. I will keep you informed on this matter.
Sincerely; William Thomas Jensen (Tom)