By Gloria Ho
On the afternoon of February 15, 2017, testimony continued in the jury trial of the People v. Jared Daniel Boles at Yolo County Superior Court. Criminal Defense Attorney David R. Nelson represents Mr. Boles. Deputy District Attorney Michael Vroman is representing the People.
Defendant Jared Daniel Boles, 32, is currently charged with multiple counts in this case. They include Health and Safety Code section 11377(a), possession of methamphetamine; Health and Safety Code section 11364, possession of drug paraphernalia; Health and Safety Code section 11359, possession of marijuana for sale; Penal Code section 273a(a), felony child endangerment; Penal Code section 273.5(a), inflicting corporal injury on cohabitant; possession of firearms; and possession of ammunitions.
On June 20, 2016, Mr. Boles was arrested on 19100 County Road 86A in Esparto, with methamphetamine and marijuana found in his truck. Mr. Bole’s female cohabitant, “WK,” also met with Detective Brian Young of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office and handed over an unloaded handgun alongside a duct-taped loaded magazine with ammunition rounds.
Testimony continued with the People’s witnesses in Department 11 with Judge Timothy Fall presiding.
Crime Scene Investigator Lauren Hartfield took the witness stand and then answered Deputy DA Vroman’s questions about her expertise. CSI Harfield has seven years of experience. Ms. Hartfield said that her responsibilities as a CSI were to investigate, take photographs, go through phones and extract information by the use of software at the sheriff’s department, and examine fingerprints for analysis.
Mr. Vroman asked further questions about extracting data from a cellphone and about the process. CSI Hartfield told the court that she would obtain the information from the phone, get a report about it in a Word document-like format, and send the information to whomever requested the work.
The People showed CSI Hartfield two cellphones in a zip lock bag and asked if she could identify them. She testified that those were the two phones she extracted information from for Detective Young.
The People then switched the discussion over to fingerprints examination. CSI Hartfield testified that she is an expert in fingerprint analysis. She’s had 100 certified hours in fingerprints analysis and over 200 positive identifications in her tenure.
On July 12, 2016, CSI Hartfield made an identification of the defendant’s right middle fingerprint from the duct tape on the loaded magazine Det. Young obtained from WK. A yellow toolbox, an AR-15 rifle, three magazines with fire ammunition rounds, and a freezer zip lock bag were also searched for fingerprints.
“Were you able to find any usable and identifiable fingerprints on the evidence?” the People questioned.
“Yes,” the People’s witness testified.
From CSI Hartfield’s report, the only usable and identifiable fingerprint on any of the items in evidence was on the magazine with a loaded magazine that Det. Young received from WK. The fingerprint was on the adhesive side of the tape on the magazine.
“When I watch for example, CSI, they always find the fingerprint, is that always the case?” Mr. Vroman asked.
“No,” CSI Hartfield responded. She said that statistically there is only a 30 percent chance to find fingerprints in reality.
Mr. Vroman showed People’s Exhibit 49, which consisted of a photograph of the duct tape removed from the magazine and processed. The fingerprint showed on the upper left region on the sticky side of the duct tape. The People also showed Exhibit 50, which was the results of the identification made to the known print of Jared Daniel Boles.
The defense began to cross-examine CSI Hartfield and asked if she knew who put the duct tape on the handgun. She testified that she didn’t know.
“Are there other prints on the tape?” Mr. Nelson asked.
“Yes, there were partial prints,” CSI Hartfield testified.
“You couldn’t identify that Mr. Boles loaded the magazine, is that a fair statement?” the defense asked.
“Yes,” the witness answered.
“You couldn’t identify that Mr. Boles handled that gun, is that a fair statement?” Mr. Nelson asked.
“Yes,” the People’s witness responded. CSI Hartfield found two prints but couldn’t use them for comparison because they were not usable or identifiable. The witness was then excused when there were no further questions.
The People called Detective Brian Young to the stand. He has been working for 13 years and has been a detective for six to seven years.
Mr. Vroman, wearing gloves, uncovered a handgun from a brown paper bag and asked Detective Young if he could identify People’s Exhibit 31. Detective Young confirmed that it was the handgun he retrieved from WK and testified that he sent the evidence to CSI Hartfield to examine.
The People began to ask questions about the two cellphones that were seized from Mr. Boles. One was a Samsung phone and the other was an LG phone.
On June 15, 2016, the defendant sent a text message to a person in his contacts named “Kid” on his LG phone. Detective Young was asked to read the messages out loud that CSI Hartfield had extracted from the LG phone’s report.
“I’ve been going through Vallejo selling narcotics. That’s all I know,” Detective Young read on page 12 from People’s Exhibit 1.
On June 19, 2016, “Kid” sent Mr. Boles a message that said, “Bring a scale so I can make sure she go both pounds for me please.”
On June 20, 2016, at 7:14am, he sent “Kid” a text saying, “I’m sorry about last night. Kinda got crazy.” Two minutes later he sent another text, “I’m in Vallejo now working.”
Mr. Vroman then proceeded to show People’s Exhibit 2 and 3, which consisted of photos from the LG phone with a lot of cash in $50 and $100 bills on a distinguishable patterned tablecloth. The pictures were uploaded to the phone on June 19, 2016. Deputy DA Vroman asked if Detective Young could estimate how much cash were in the photos.
“I believe it was just over $5,300,” Det. Young testified.
Next, Mr. Vroman began to introduce People’s Exhibit 25, a video found on the LG phone. The People then played the video in court for the jury to see.
In the video, the defendant was riding an ATV with a really loud engine and there was a lot of tall green grass nearby. The camera focused on a turkey from faraway and a loud gunshot went off. The defendant was moving his phone around, and the freezer zip lock bag and a brown sling were in sight. Then a second gunshot went off and the defendant yelled out “Woohoo!” repeatedly. Mr. Boles, who then turned the camera to face himself, said, “Sorry for the violent content. Parental discretion advised.” The engine of the ATV made loud whirring sounds and the camera moved in various directions as Mr. Boles drove over to the turkey. “Oh, that one got ‘em!” he said as he grabbed the turkey by the neck and filmed his hand doing so. Mr. Boles shouted a “Yeah!” right before the video ended.
Detective Young identified the man in the video as the defendant sitting in a grey suit in court.
Mr. Vroman then presented People’s Exhibit 30, the AR-15 rifle in its physical form, and asked the witness if he could tell if, in the video, Mr. Boles was using the rifle or the handgun. Det. Young was not able to distinguish the two just by listening to the gunshots in the video.
The People moved to show Exhibit 40A, which was a packet of 8 photos taken from the Samsung phone. The first picture showed a pistol. The second displayed Jared Daniel Boles holding the AR-15 rifle. The third revealed the revolver. The fourth photo exhibited a bunch of cash in 50 and 100-dollar bills. The sixth photo was that of the AR-15 rifle. The seventh picture showed a truck tire, the pistol, and the AR-15 rifle. The last photograph displayed a tablecloth with recognizable pattern and two .22 pistols.
Mr. Nelson began to cross-examine the People’s witness.
“These were cellphones that were turned over to you by patrols?” the defense questioned.
“No. Deputies booked them into evidence,” the witness testified. He then explained that the cellphones were retrieved from the evidence room and he had them sent to CSI Hartfield to analyze.
Mr. Nelson went on to ask some drug trade questions and Det. Young revealed that he hadn’t seen any messages in the report that people owed Mr. Boles money. However, there were messages of money going back and forth.
“Did you have any training in drug trafficking?” Mr. Nelson asked. The witness said that he had basic training in it, but he commented that it was unusual to see such a large amount of cash for a person selling in increments at the street level.
Detective Young was then excused from the witness stand when no further questions were put forward.
Next, YONET Agent Gary Richter from the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team took the stand. He’s worked at Yolo County Sheriff’s Office for six years. He was verified as an expert after testifying that he had training in narcotics beyond the deputy position, where he has dealt with firearms, narcotics, possession and possession to sell.
The People’s witness was asked various questions by Mr. Vroman about the type of drugs he’s familiar with and requested that Agent Richter distinguish how to know what’s for personal use and what’s for sale.
Agent Richter explained that the standard quantity on the street for personal use was 1.00 to 1.75 grams, however, the upper limit could be 3.5 grams at most, depending on the street price. The standard dosage to get high was estimated at two-tenths of a gram.
“If I were to tell you that someone possess 163.3 grams of meth, would you say they were for personal use or for sale?” Mr. Vroman asked.
“For sale,” Agent Richter answered.
The People asked more hypothetical questions. If that same person had a syringe, photos of cash, carried around large amount of money, and carried mostly 50 and 100 dollar bills, Mr. Vroman asked Agent Richter if he thought the controlled substance was for personal use or for sale.
“The denominations you’ve given me will strengthen my belief [that it was for sale].” Agent Richter responded.
According to Agent Richter, the going rate for the 163.3 grams of methamphetamine would be more than $1,200. Mr. Vroman also revealed that there were two samples of methamphetamine, one was 3.9 grams and the other was 5.2 grams, in the defendant’s car in the yellow toolbox when he was arrested. The quantity of the two amounted to 9.1 grams.
Agent Richter indicated that the two samples were individual weights that were weighed ahead of time. He also commented that if the scale was necessary for a meeting, then they’re doing it to make sure they get what they paid for. Also, if someone possesses drug for sale, it is common to use a cellphone to keep records and communicate by text message.
“It’s commonly known as short stage traffic… You show up, you go in, come outside, and then leave,” Richter testified.
Mr. Vroman then went on to discuss the 1.25 pounds of marijuana they found as well in the defendant’s truck when they arrested him on June 20, 2016. The People’s witness testified that, standardly, a “joint” consists of one gram of marijuana. With 1.25 pounds, that’s about 567 grams, which equates to hundreds of dosages.
“In the drug world, how much was marijuana last year [in June]?” Mr. Vroman questioned.
“Around $3,000 to $3,500.” Agent Richter responded. After Mr. Vroman revealed that 172.4 grams of methamphetamine were found alongside 567 grams of marijuana, cash, and text messages about a scale, Agent Richter asserted that he believed the possession of marijuana was for sale as well.
Mr. Nelson cross-examined Agent Richter with a few questions. He asked whether the witness knew about the case before coming in. Agent Richter replied that he was just an expert asked to come in and answer questions, given his expertise in narcotics.
Agent Richter was then excused when no more questions were put forward.
Before court went into recess for the afternoon, Judge Fall commented to the jury that they should note that the defendant had a felony conviction prior to the beginning of 2016 and was not allowed to carry any firearms. The jury was then dismissed for the rest of the day.
The trial will resume with jury instructions at 9:00am on February 16, 2017, in Department 11, Judge Timothy Fall presiding.