Jury Sent to Deliberate in Meth Trial

ControlledSubstanceby Justine Joya and Silvia Ramos Medina

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.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch puts 8 to 12 interns into the Yolo County House to monitor and report on what happens. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org

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4 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    “Hoyt repeated that that was the time to be honest with him so that he could “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.”

    I find this combination of statements very troubling. What we have is the officer telling the detainee that he must be “honest”, in other words saying what the officer wants him to say in order to curry favor with the officer.
    If he could “use his own discretion to lessen the allegations, is he not equally able to use his own discretion to increase the allegations.” Where is the truth and justice in this approach ? This would seem to me a blatant abuse of the power of the detaining officer. His role is supposed to be the prevention and detection of crime, not a decision of how to alter the perception of evidence so as to strengthen his favored interpretation of the evidence based on the subjective “cooperation” of the detainee.

    What is even more troubling than the explanation is his apparent belief that it is a reasonable approach. So reasonable that he is willing to present it as a clarification of his original statement. This I find appalling.

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