Week 19, Day 67 (So Angry Today)

We came in today for a couple of hearings. The first hearing was the bail hearing on the three defendants. The second hearing was a 402 hearing concerning the potential testimony of defense witness Dr. Richard Leo. Dr. Leo specializes in police interrogation techniques, and false confessions. The defense is trying to show that the interrogation techniques used on Robert Woody caused a false confession in the alleged murder of Korey Kauffman.

Let’s start out with the bail revocation hearing. Judge Zuniga keeps all of us waiting because she was late. What was supposed to start out at 9:00AM started out 39 minutes late. Judge Zuniga starts stating all of the things that she had reviewed in order to make her ruling. She speaks about the seven incidents that were captured on video cameras in the courtroom. She speaks about the many transcripts that she had reviewed. She speaks about the case law that she had reviewed. She speaks about the bail schedule (the dollar amount of bail that is customary in our county.) She speaks about the business and professional code. She speaks about Detective Russkamp. She speaks about the CD recording of Eula Keyes in the courtroom hallway that she watched numerous times.

Judge Zuniga now states that it is totally in her discretion on whether or not she revokes the defendant’s release on their own recognizance. At this point, I know how she is going to rule. I put my head down so she could not see my look of disgust, and started to steam internally.

Judge Zuniga cites the People vs Foster, and the People vs Leon. Judge Zuniga states that this all started in the preliminary examination in Department 26 on 9/22/2016. Judge Zuniga states that she was legally forced to do a balancing act in order to save the integrity of the proceedings in the preliminary examination. The preliminary had gone on for over a year, and the prosecution had just turned over a ton of new discovery, and the defendants had been incarcerated for all that time. The judge was afraid that she was going to get overturned by a court of appeals if she did not act. She states that what she did in releasing murder defendants on their own recognizance was not allowed by the law, but she did it anyway.

Judge Zuniga starts talking about how Marlisa Ferreira had complained about Frank Carson and the Athwal brothers talking in the parking lot of Department 26, but that she had never witnessed this happening. She talks about how the defense had argued that this was retaliation for the defense complaining about the Michael Cooley blow up in the courtroom. Cooley was upset about how he was being treated on the stand during cross-examination. Judge Zuniga states that whatever motivated Marlisa Ferreira to seek this hearing, it is her (Marlisa Ferreira’s) responsibility to show that the defendants violated the terms of their release on their own recognizance. Judge Zuniga states that the defense had argued that Marlisa Ferreira’s motion was untimely. The judge agrees that it would have been helpful if this was done on a more- timely basis, but timeliness was not required. Judge Zuniga states that the courthouse hallways were not sanctuary for the defendants from her order that they have no contact with each other. Judge Zuniga: “An order is an order.”

Judge Zuniga speaks about how Baljit Athwal would not let Beverage Control Officers inspect Pop N Cork Liquors without seeing a business card, and how Daljit Atwal would not put down his cell phone, and was hand cuffed. She speaks about how the Athwals had delayed and obstructed the work of the officers.

Judge Zuniga now goes over incidents on 06/01/2018, 05/17/18, and 05/23/18 where the defendants were seen on surveillance tapes talking to each other in the area of the elevator, and out in front of the courthouse. She speaks about how this contact violated the terms that she had imposed on the defendants when they were released on their own recognizance.

Judge Zuniga shot down the argument by Marlisa Ferreira that Frank Carson had assaulted the person at the DA’s Office when he threw down papers on his desk. She stated that the size of the stack of papers was not given in the evidence that was presented to her. Judge Zuniga also did not see any violation by Frank Carson telling Investigator Russkamp that he should be watching the women’s bathroom. Judge Zuniga could not find any violations in the Aguilar case.

Judge Zuniga states that Frank Carson is his own worst enemy. That he should know better because he is an officer of the court. She finds that Frank Carson violated his terms of release by standing “Shoulder to Shoulder” to Kirk Bunch. Bunch had taken this as a threat. Judge Zuniga: “What was he thinking?” Judge Zuniga stated that Frank Carson threatened the officers when he called Navarro and others “Pieces of Shit” when he was sick and had to leave the courtroom. Judge Zuniga did not believe that Frank Carson had said this under his breath.

Judge Zuniga now briefly takes Marlisa Ferreira to task. Judge Zuniga: “As a prosecutor, you have lost your way.” Judge Zuniga: “You have the power of the state behind you, you should be seeking justice.” Judge Zuniga states that she does not believe Frank Carson when he said that he does not remember having any contact with the Athwal brothers. Judge Zuniga could not see enough evidence in the CD to make a finding that Frank Carson made a comment to Eula Keyes in the hallway. That is concerning the “Lier, Lier, Pants On Fire” alleged comment. Judge Zuniga states that only one violation of her terms of release is necessary for her to rule against the defendants. Judge Zuniga: “O.R.’s Revoked.” I put my head down to hide my response. I do not want to get kicked out of the courtroom again. She states that she is not immediately remanding the defendants to custody. She is giving the defendants until next Tuesday at 9:00AM to post their bail. Judge Zuniga sets Frank Carson’s bail at $600,000. She sets Baljit Athwal’s bail at $200,000. She sets Daljit Atwal’s bail at $250,000. In conversation during a break, I hear that the defendants will all be able to post bail. How broke can you make a person be? In the failing case that Marlisa Ferreira is presenting, this will be the only punishment that she will be able to inflict on these innocent defendants. Shame on her and the DA’s Office for this travesty of justice.

We take a break, and get back into the courtroom around 11:30AM. We now go into a 402 hearing on the expert witness the defense wants to call to the stand concerning police interrogation techniques and false confessions. Defense attorney Hans Hjertonsson asks Dr. Richard Leo about his qualifications. He is a professor of law at UC San Francisco. He has every degree possible, and specializes in police interrogation techniques, and false confessions. He previously taught at UC Irvine. He has 100 peer reviewed articles published on his specialty, and has testified in over 350 cases. About 250 of these cases were tried in California. He mostly works for the defense, and has only worked for the prosecution in 3 cases. Dr. Leo states that the investigators are trained to move denial to admission in their interrogation techniques. He states that they use psychological coercion to accomplish this change. Dr. Leo states that he has gone over numerous tapes of the Robert Woody interviews (Interrogations) and was able to say that they show a high risk of coercion. Dr. Leo states that recent use of DNA evidence has yielded a treasure trove of evidence that shows that many people were forced into false confessions in the past by the use of psychological coercion. Once again, he states that his analysis has found Robert Woody to be at high risk for such a false confession. We are now done with the morning session. Please remember to listen to Marty Carlson’s Podcast to find out what happened in the afternoon. I am disgusted by what happened with the bail hearing. The expense of proving your innocence is staggering, and my heart goes out to the defendants.


William Thomas Jensen (Tom)




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