DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME
FRANK CARSON ET AL
BY WILLIAM THOMAS JENSEN (TOM)
Today, we met in the courtroom to find out what Judge Zuniga was going to rule on the holding orders concerning CHP Officers Scott McFarlane and Eduardo Quintanar. Court was supposed to start at 10:00AM, but was once again delayed until 10:20AM. Judge Zuniga showed up at the courtroom three minutes early, but spent time in her chambers before we were allowed into the courtroom. Nothing ever starts on time with this fiasco.
We start out with CHP Officer Walter Wells’ attorney Peter Rodriguez requesting copies of the entire transcripts in this preliminary hearing. Judge Zuniga orders that he be provided with the complete transcripts.
Judge Zuniga now starts citing the case law that she has used to make her decisions on the holding orders. She starts citing case law from Judge Simon’s book on Preliminary Hearings. She cites the People vs Williams that concerns reasonable and probable cause. She cites Rideout vs Superior Court that concerns the need to show some showing from each element to support probable cause. She cites Lorenzen vs Superior Court, the People vs Cooley, and the People vs Bolden.
Now, Judge Zuniga goes into the evidence that has been presented in this Preliminary Hearing. She states that DA Investigator Kirk Bunch got wire taps based on alleged threats made by Baljit Athwal and Robert Woody that were made within 60 days of the alleged murder of Korey Kauffman, and statements made by Michael Cooley. She talks about the 07/15/2012 search warrants that were served on Pop N Cork Liquors. She talks about a wire-tapped conversation of Eduardo Quintanar that was done on 07/09/2012 where Quintanar asked one of the Athwal brothers: “What have you done?” Judge Zuniga talks about how Quintanar was questioning whether or not someone was trying to rob the Athwal brother. She talks about how Eduardo Quintanar was possibly trying to protect the Athwals from a robbery by mentioning how to detect trackers on their vehicles. She spoke about how Daljit Atwal was concerned about how long it was taking him to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Judge Zuniga now speaks about how Scott McFarlane had been told by Daljit Atwal that the police were doing a search warrant at Pop N Cork Liquors, and how Scott McFarlane had asked Daljit Atwal what the police were looking for. Scott asks Daljit what the police were looking for. Scott asks Daljit what happened at the house, and asks Daljit about the search warrant and what it said. Judge Zuniga says Scott McFarlane tells Daljit Atwal that the police are supposed to show him the search warrant. Judge Zuniga then states that Daljit Atwal told Scott McFarlane that the police were looking for clues for the alleged murder, and tells Scott McFarlane that he will bring the search warrant for Scott to look at tomorrow. Judge Zuniga states that Scott McFarlane told Daljit Atwal that he will be there in a little bit.
Judge Zuniga then talks about how on 03/14/2014 that Eduardo Quintanar had said that he wanted a union representative, and how DA Investigator Kirk Bunch had stated that Eduardo Quintanar had become a suspect at that time. Judge Zuniga states that Eduardo Quintanar had gone on a vacation, and did not contact Kirk Bunch after he returned from vacation. Judge Zuniga states that Kirk Bunch then went to the CHP Office to ask some questions, and said that Eduardo Quintanar was not cooperating with the investigators. She states that the CHP then opened up an Internal Affairs Investigation concerning the matter. When Bunch was at the CHP Office, an acting CHP Sargent came out, and Kirk Bunch saw Eduardo Quintanar leaving the CHP parking lot. Judge Zuniga states that he was told by the CHP Officer that Eduardo Quintanar was too busy to talk to him at that time.
Judge Zuniga then talks about numerous intercepted phone calls from Eduardo Quintanar where he calls everyone and complains about Kirk Bunch, and talks about his right to talk to a Union Representative. Judge Zuniga states that the CHP Office had said that Quintanar was expected to cooperate with the investigators, but how the Union Representative had told Quintanar to not talk to the investigators. Judge Zuniga states that the Union Representative was clueless. Judge Zuniga states that it was not until search warrants were served on Quentanar that he agreed to talk to the investigators.
Judge Zuniga now gets stern with Prosecuting DA Marlisa Ferreira. She cites the People vs Parker. She starts talking about how Marlisa had asserted in her arguments that between 07/15/2012 to the present McFarlane and Quintanar had agreed to conspire to obstruct justice, and that this would automatically justify a charge of accessory for each of them. Judge Zuniga: “You need knowledge that the principal committed a felony or was charged with a felony.” Judge Zuniga: “They are two distinct crimes.”
Judge Zuniga now goes into the evidence as she sees it. She states that Scott McFarlane told Eduardo Quintanar about the search warrants that were in progress at Pop N Cork Liquors, and how he goes to Pop N Cork Liquors to get his guns back. She talks about how Eduardo Quintanar had said that he cut off all ties with the Athwal brothers after 07/12/2012, but that this was a lie. She states that Quintanar’s phone actually made contact with the Athwal brother’s phone on the day of the alleged murder, but that his phone was not near Pop N Cork Liquors at that time. She talks about how Eduardo Quintanar avoids Kirk Bunch, and how Kirk Bunch did not believe Quintanar was telling him the truth.
Judge Zuniga then talks about how Scott McFarlane had made a traffic stop on Korey Kauffman. Judge Zuniga now goes into four interviews of Scott McFarlane by the investigators. The first interview was on 03/07/2014. She states that Scott McFarlane had talked to Daljit Atwal on 03/14/14. She states that Scott McFarlane had told the investigators that he had seen Korey Kauffman riding his bicycle past his house on the morning after the alleged murder. I believe I remember the testimony said that he had actually seen Korey Kauffman ride past his house twice on the day after the alleged murder.
Judge Zuniga states that Scott McFarlane was aware of a lawsuit that was being brought by the Athwal brothers. She states that Scott McFarlane had stated that he was aware that the Athwal brothers were spot checking the Carson property. She states that Scott McFarlane was aware that the Athwal brothers had spoken about Korey Kauffman committing thefts from the Carson property, but that Scott McFarlane did not know Frank Carson personally. Judge Zuniga now speaks about Scott McFarlane’s second interview. She states that Michael Cooley’s name came up during a conversation at Pop N Cork Liquors. She now speaks about Scott McFarlane’s third interview. In this interview, Judge Zuniga states that Scott McFarlane indicated that he should not be talking to the investigators, but that he did talk to the investigators anyway. In this interview, Judge Zuniga states that Scott McFarlane denies talking to Walter Wells. She states that this is a lie. She states that during this interview, Scott McFarlane stated that he could not remember the details. She states that Scott McFarlane did not tell the investigators about a conversation at Pop N Cork Liquors concerning Korey Kauffman being a thief and doing something about it. She now talks about Scott McFarlane’s fourth interview where Scott talks about an altercation between Daljit Atwal and Korey Kauffman at Pop N Cork Liquors. She talks about how Daljit Atwal had two different stories about how his hand had been injured. She talks about how Scott McFarlane had contacted Detective Barringer about Robert Woody saying that Frank Carson had moved a shipping container on his property, and how Detective Barringer had never called him back. She states that Detective Jon Evers had testified that the investigators had went back to interview Scott McFarlane the fourth time because they felt he was not being truthful, and how they wanted to know if he had any new information to provide. Judge Zuniga states that Scott McFarlane was a close friend of the Athwal brothers, but was closer to Daljit Atwal.
Judge Zuniga now gets stern with Marlisa Ferreira once again. She states that she has a problem with Marlisa’s argument that Scott McFarlane had told Barringer some facts. She talks about the multiple layers of hearsay that were contained in this, and how she had stricken this testimony because of the hearsay. Judge Zuniga: “I sustained the objection, yet you proceeded to do that anyway.” Judge Zuniga: “That is improper.” Judge Zuniga: “Barringer could not remember the interview.”
Judge Zuniga now starts speaking about Eduardo Quintanar. She speaks about a 07/09/2012 conversation where Quintanar asks Daljit Atwal: “What’s going on?” She speaks about how the conversations went into trackers, and how someone was apparently watching Mr. Athwal.” She speaks about how Quintanar had said: “They are trying to rob you.” Judge Zuniga states that the People have tried to use this against Quintanar. I got the impression that she was upset that the prosecution was using this argument. Judge Zuniga states the prosecution was trying to use Quintanar’s many conversations where he complained about Kirk Bunch against him. Judge Zuniga states that Eduardo Quintanar conflated the Internal Affairs Investigation with the Criminal Investigation. Judge Zuniga states that she knows that DA Investigator Kirk Bunch had told Quintanar that he was a subject of a criminal investigation.
Judge Zuniga now speaks about a 03/09/2015 conversation Eduardo Quintanar had with CHP Officer Frost. She states that all of the many calls were complaining about Kirk Bunch. She states that Quintanar had said that the Internal Affairs Investigation was resolved. She states that Quintanar’s Union Representative had told him to not talk to the investigators. Judge Zuniga: “The only thing Eduardo Quintanar was concerned about was Eduardo Quintanar.” Judge Zuniga: “I disagree with you that he was trying to shield himself from the investigation by talking to the CHP.” Judge Zuniga states that Quintanar asked the Athwals: “What did you do?” The judge stated that she listened carefully to the tapes, and that Quintanar sounded sincere when he was asking the question. Judge Zuniga: “He does not know what was going on.” At this time, I notice that Detective Jon Evers looks somber sitting in the courtroom, and Kirk Bunch is shaking like he is having a seizure. He keeps flipping his pen nervously. Judge Zuniga: “I don’t see Eduardo Quintanar having the sophistication to devise such a plan.” Judge Zuniga: “He is confused by the advice he has gotten from his Union Representative.” Judge Zuniga: “I see no agreement with anybody to obstruct justice.” Judge Zuniga: “He should have known better than to provide information about trackers, it cost him his job.” Judge Zuniga: “As to the charge of accessory, the evidence is just not there that he knew that a felony had been committed.” Judge Zuniga: “Eduardo Quintanar is discharged.” At this time, I almost got myself in trouble. I threw my arms into the air and did my “Thank You Jesus.” I had tears in my eyes. I did not expect this.
Judge Zuniga now starts speaking about her ruling on Scott McFarlane. She states that there was no agreement that was shown to charge Scott McFarlane with conspiracy to obstruct justice. She dismisses this charge against Scott. She now goes into accessory. Judge Zuniga states that refusing to talk to the investigators is not supportive to a charge of accessory. She cites the People vs Nguyen. Once again, I see Kirk Bunch looking like he is having a seizure. His hand holding the pen was like Ali holding the Olympic Torch. Judge Zuniga now speaks about how Scott McFarlane had told the investigators about seeing Korey Kauffman riding his bicycle twice the day after the alleged murder. She states that this was told to the investigators after the search warrants had been served on Pop N Cork Liquors. She states that Scott McFarlane knew that spot checking was being done by the Athwal brothers on the Carson property. She states that Scott McFarlane knew about the threats made by Baljit Athwal and Robert Woody to Korey Kauffman. She states that Scott McFarlane knew about the fight between Daljit Atwal and Korey Kauffman, and the two different stories that were given by Daljit Atwal concerning the injury to his hand. Judge Zuniga talks about how Scott McFarlane had made a traffic stop of Korey Kauffman. She speaks about how the evidence shows that Scott McFarlane is a close friend of the Athwal brothers, and is closer to Daljit. She talks about how Scott McFarlane had told the investigators that he had seen Korey Kauffman riding his bicycle twice the day after he had been allegedly murdered. She holds Scott McFarlane over for trial on a charge of accessory. I must say that I was dumbfounded by this decision. The evidence shows that Scott McFarlane was by far the most cooperative of all the CHP Officers charged in this case. In retrospect, he would have been much better served by not talking to the investigators, or providing them with anything that he knew to be true. As the Miranda Rights statement says: “Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.” It will take a jury of 12 to sort this thing out. He will be vindicated.
As for Eduardo Quintanar, he is now in a position to file a massive lawsuit against the people and agencies involved in this fiasco. He has lost everything. I hope there is some way that this fine young man can get his job back. He will certainly get his pound of flesh when the litigation is finally resolved.
William Thomas Jensen (Tom)