The trial for defendant Patricio Rosas, Jr., proceeded Wednesday morning with Deputy Sheriff Charles Hoyt still on the stand, and concluded later in the afternoon with the jury deliberating.
On February 25, 2014, the defendant was pulled over for a vehicle violation. Yolo County Deputy Sheriff Hoyt discovered 0.21 g of methamphetamine wrapped in plastic wrap on the street by the defendant’s car. Rosas is being charged with possession of a controlled substance.
During Dep. Hoyt’s testimony, Deputy Attorney General Craig Meyers questioned him about each of the steps leading up to the defendant’s arrest. With the help of DAG Meyers, Dep. Hoyt demonstrated to the court how he first searched the defendant. According to Hoyt, the defendant was cooperative, but when he was told to turn around, Dep. Hoyt noticed the defendant reached into his pocket and dropped a small item on the ground.
Once Rosas was placed in the patrol car, Hoyt searched the vehicle and admittedly found nothing—no paraphernalia or drugs. However, when he returned to the spot where the defendant was frisked, he found the “plastic bindle” containing methamphetamine.
Mr. Meyers then played Dep. Hoyt’s “dash cam” video to the court. The defendant was seen being pulled over in his vehicle. In the video Hoyt was heard asking the defendant if he had anything in the car that he wanted to share with him. When the defendant responded, “No,” Hoyt repeated that that was the time to be honest with him so that he could “work something out.”
Defense Attorney Peter Borruso began his cross-examination by asking whether or not Dep. Hoyt had received any special “perks” or recognition for this specific arrest. After denying the claim, Borruso followed up with another question. This time he asked if Hoyt’s department had received any recognition or was given incentives to make the arrest. Hoyt responded, “No.”
When asked what he meant by “work something out,” Hoyt stated that, depending on what he might have found in the car, he could have used his own discretion to lessen the allegations.
When explaining the traffic violation, Hoyt stated that Rosas’ license plate light was not illuminating for the required distance. Borruso then pointed out that the search conducted on his client’s car was a consensual search and not a search by reasonable cause. Rosas told the deputy he had nothing to hide and that he could even check the car himself, thus allowing Hoyt to search his vehicle.
As the trial came to a close, Mr. Meyers and Mr. Borruso prepared to present their closing arguments to the jury.
Mr. Borruso stood facing the jury behind a podium. During his closing statement, Mr. Borruso claimed that Dep. Hoyt had changed his testimony. He also strongly argued that there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Rosas of possession of a controlled substance.
Mr. Borruso called the criminologist for the DA a “systematic convictor.” According to Mr. Borruso, the criminologist could not even explain what a usable amount of methamphetamine was. “She doesn’t even know what one does is,” Mr. Borruso added.
The defense also argued that the evidence in this case had not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. As Mr. Borruso prepared to end his closing argument, he verbalized to the jury that five elements of possession of a controlled substance needed to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. “All five must be proved, “ Mr. Borruso repeated.
Deputy Attorney General Meyers quickly delivered his closing statement to the jury.
Mr. Meyers strongly argued that the stop and the consent were lawful. He urged the jury to not disregard the statements of Dep. Hoyt because he had testified under oath.
“This is not CSI Woodland. We are not spending money on DNA or fingerprints. There are limited resources,” Mr. Meyers stated in response to Mr. Borruso’s argument about there being no cotton swab or DNA sample.
Mr. Meyers concluded by telling the jury, “Don’t follow the red herring. Follow the evidence. “
The afternoon ended with Judge Reed sending the jury to deliberate.