Hundreds March in Woodland Against DA’s Abuse of Power


Call For Federal Investigation into April 30 Killing of Luis Gutierrez –

woodland august march 061

What was billed as a mass demonstration on Saturday evening starting at Freeman Park and culminating at the County Court house, spilled into a general protest against District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s abuse of power.

At least 200 people and as many as 300 showed up on a Saturday night in Woodland with the County Fair in full swing.  They boisterously but peacefully exercised their First Amendment rights to protest against their government.

The official call for the evening was to ask for a federal investigation into the nearly four month old killing of What’s the rationale behind calling for a federal investigation as opposed to an independent investigation as was the previous demand?

According to the organizers, they seek to:

“Require the Yolo District Attorney to submit the Gutierrez case to a Federal agency. Close ties between District Attorney Jeff  W. Reisig, Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto and Woodland Police Chief  Carey  Sullivan can only render  this case as invalid.  Interconnecting interest will make it impossible to charge an officer for the Gutierrez killing, if ever the need be. The Luis Gutierrez killing is the extreme culmination of a tendency by law enforcement to overreach their authority; the Gutierrez case comes as indisputable evidence  of Law enforcement   mismanagement in Yolo County.”

However, the call for a federal investigation was not the only item on the agenda for the evening.  The mother of Jeffrey Lockwood issued a plea for justice for her son who was convicted of rape in March of this year after the first trial resulted in a jury deadlock with 9 favoring acquittal.  The Vanguard covered this story back in February of 2008 when Mr. Lockwood was sentenced to seven years in prison for allegedly stealing less than $100 in property from a friend’s home. 

According to a March release from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office, Mr. Lockwood is facing 7 to 16 years in State Prison, must register as a sex offender, and now has two strikes on his record.

A variety of groups and citizens spoke on Saturday night calling both for justice for Luis Gutierrez as well as for several other cases.

Mrs. Lockwood argued on Saturday that her son has been wrongly convicted by an overly zealous prosecutor amid conflicting evidence and misleading and contradictory testimony from the alleged victim.

Meanwhile on Saturday, folks turned out in mass to support Ajay Dev who was sentenced in early August to 378 years after being convicted of repeatedly raping his adoptive daughter over a five year period.

The family and friends of the family continue to maintain his innocence and greatly question the legal proceedings which denied Mr. Dev, according to them, the ability to bring to bear exculpatory evidence including transcripts from a trial in Nepal involving the alleged victim and a clearer understanding of a pretext audiotape where the jury interpreted a single line as an admission of guilt.

Family members speaking yesterday, argued that Mr. Dev was wrongly convicted believing that the victim’s testimony was false, unreliable and had multiple points of contradiction. There was no physical evidence introduced at trial and the conviction relied completely according to the family on one line of a pretext call that the DA alleged was an admission of guilt by the defendant.

According to two blog posts from jurors, the phone call was crucial to the findings.

Juror Blog: “Yes, her testimony was difficult to swallow. If for her testimony alone, he would be a free man. The phone call is what put him where he is now. I am confident that we made the correct decision.”

Juror Blog: In the pretext call, Ajay admitted to having sex with the victim after she was 18. The exact quote is “You f$#*ed me after age 18, that means you gave consent”. The entire defense was that no sexual relationship occurred and that it was a story made up by the victim. With his admission, that defense was completely disregarded.

According to the family, the phone conversation recorded on behest of Davis Police Detective Mark Harmon, was partially in English and partially in Nepalese. They believe that that phone conversation was misinterpreted.

According to the family,

“The DA’s interpretation of what Ajay was saying to the accuser… was totally and completely false. Any misunderstanding is due to language and cultural issues which are often times lost in the translation process. Ajay was trying to explain to the accuser how our legal system works demonstrating that if a statement like this was made it could possibly ruin both her life and his. He was NOT admitting to rape.”

The family contends that the phone conversation lasted 50 minutes, during which the defendant denies the charges at least 27 times.

In the meantime, organizer Al Rojas continues to push for a new investigation into the killing of Luis Gutierrez.  He argued that the Sheriff’s Department responded more quickly to the shooting of a dog than to the killing of Mr. Gutierrez.

woodland august march 011woodland august march 057woodland august march 061woodland august march 064woodland august march 071woodland august march 075woodland august march 088woodland august march 099woodland august march 121woodland august march 127woodland august march 152woodland august march 180woodland august march 208woodland august march 212woodland august march 218woodland august march 233woodland august march 234woodland august march 238
At this point it is unclear where that process stands.  A letter to the Woodland Police Department is again demanding a meeting with Woodland Police Chief Casey Sullivan.  However, at this point the Woodland Police Department has forwarded the results of their investigation to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office.  There has been to date, no public release of the findings of that report nor to this point any notice of arrest or disciplinary action to the officers from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office involved in the shooting.

As we mentioned yesterday, there seems to be a large and growing movement against the current district attorney who has been involved in an increasing number of high profile and controversial cases during his tenure.  There is also a general sense of mismanagement of the personnel in his office leading to a high turnover of staff, a number of personnel actions, and a variety of disgruntled employees.  The big question at this point is whether there will emerge a candidate with the ability to mobilize this dissent while still having the credibility and gravitas to lead the chief prosecutor’s office in Yolo County.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

23 thoughts on “Hundreds March in Woodland Against DA’s Abuse of Power”

  1. pleased

    If the Department of Justice is not finished with their investigation of the April 30 shooting, I would assume the DA has not received the information they need to file charges. If the Officers killed this man and it was not justified, the DA will do what they need to do…

    My question is, why did this group protest on a Saturday when all County offices are closed? Wouldn’t the protest have more impact if the people they are protesting were there to see them protesting?

  2. Protestor

    “If the Officers killed this man and it was not justified, the DA will do what they need to do…”

    Based on what track record do you say this?

    “My question is, why did this group protest on a Saturday when all County offices are closed? Wouldn’t the protest have more impact if the people they are protesting were there to see them protesting?”

    It probably would have been better from that sense, the problem is that most of these people work during that time and not in jobs where they could have taken time off.

  3. Another voice demanding an investigation

    Perhaps Yolo County authorities will decide that the best way to appear fair is to BE FAIR. They should refer the Guitierez killing to independent, federal investigators. If the feds find the same results, that would help assuage some of the concerns regarding a lack of justice in Yolo County of the Woodland and Yolo County residents who believe otherwise right now. But Yolo County law enforcement and “justice” officials should be prepared to learn that outside investigators would find just the opposite. I challenge Jeff Reisig, Ed Prieto and Carey Sullivan to demand an outside, federal investigation. Man up, gentlemen! Let some light shine on your investigations and processes!

  4. ricardo flores magon

    The state is currently reviewing the case. Lets wait and see what they conclude. As to the demonstration yesterday, I was there and did not see many people from Woodland, maybe a a few. Most seemed to be from out of town and were there with other cases not related to Mr. Gutierrez. I was there to support the Gutierrez family and resented being associated with rapist and pedophiles. The outside organizers must be desperate to get people to join them if they invited supporter of the other convicted criminals. How sad. I will no longer support this group and will work to defeat Risig and Prieto when they come up for re-election.

  5. Greg Kuperberg

    I looked at the old post about Jeffrey Lockwood. That post said that, according to his grandfather, he had the chance to plead guilty to consensual statutory rape and settle for a light sentence. Instead, Lockwood stood on principle and insisted that he had never even touched the girl.

    That was then. In the new trial, a DNA test convinced the court that Lockwood had had sex with the victim. Okay…

    The Lockwood case is not really any of my business, and neither is the Dev case. I’m not the type to rush forward and tell them to go to hell just because they were convicted. I understand that they are human and I’d rather just leave them alone. I have a general concern about mandatory sentencing and other excessive sentencing laws. I also agree that anytime someone gets an enormous prison sentence, a review of the trial could be a good idea.

    [b]However[/b], protesters should not waste people’s time with accusations of “abuse of power” without trial transcripts. How should I know, and for that matter how do most of the protesters know, whether Reisig abused his power if we haven’t even seen his work. Yes, trial transcripts are expensive. But they are also provided on appeal. If there is no appeal, what is the purpose of the protest?

    In both of these cases, it will just look like the protesters are mad because Reisig did his job too well. Again, I understand the point about excessive sentencing. But the sentencing laws can be read as the DA’s mandate. Some of these laws don’t sit well with me, but I can only blame the DA so much for doing what the system and most of the public expect him to do. If anything, when blame is warranted, it may be more natural to level it at the judge than the DA.

    Likewise in the Gutierrez case, how do the protesters know that the investigation needs to done all over again if they haven’t seen it? Besides that it has very little connection to Reisig.

    Likewise in the Skaggs case mentioned recently. The claim is that the investigation against Skaggs — which according to Skaggs’ lawsuit is criminal as well as administrative — is retaliation against a whistleblower. Okay then, investigation for what? How should we know if it’s retaliation if we don’t know what is being investigated?

  6. How Can You Tell

    That there were few people from Woodland? And what difference does it make–Woodland is the county seat and the natural spot for a protest against the Sheriff and DA?

  7. Observer

    G.K. is spot on. It will be a sad day if trials have to be rerun in this blog. As for the DA, I can believe he is over zealous, but these complaints seem to suggest that the jurors are all dolts. They aren’t. As for Lockwood, we should be concerned because his mom thinks he is a good boy? What mom doesn’t? I think our judical system is much like the argument over democracy: the system is terribly flawed, but is better than any other.

  8. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It will be a sad day if trials have to be rerun in this blog.[/i]

    Actually, I think that it could be fine to rerun a trial in a blog. I also don’t know that our system is better than any other. Who knows, maybe Canadians or whoever have a better system. Certainly in cases like the day care sex abuse trials of the 1980s, our system didn’t just look flawed, it looked nonsense on stilts.

    What I am saying is that if you want to rerun a trial, you should actually rerun a trial. All of this handwaving about “abuse of power” without any trial transcripts to see the alleged abuse is going nowhere. Nowhere at best. At worst, it’s taking sides against crime victims.

  9. Reisig must be God

    Wow, Reisig must be God! He somehow tricked jurors into all of the guilty verdicts, then he alone sentenced them to 100’s of years in prison, manipulated witnesses. Wo, he is good. No one has a chance of beating him becaue he will somehow trick all voters in the county to vote for him as well.

    What a bunch of cowards to blame this on one guy. How about the Judge who did the sentencing, or the jurors who found them guilty, or the defense Attorney for being so lame that he could not show reasonable doubt with all of the “faultey” evidence.

    Maybe, just maybe, Luis was a gang member, Ajay was a rapist and Lockwood is a sex offender and thief? Wow!

  10. Reisig thinks he is god

    The point is not to look at these incidents in a vacuum, but see the totality of all Reisig’ past actions. Half of all DA employees have left since his take over? That should say something. Two of his top cops came out publicly against him after working with him. His gang injunction was over turned, a gun case was over turned when he hid the gun from jury and others. He is surrounded by scandal since he came to office. He is only one man, but his influence runs deep and whatever he touches is suspect. Right or wrong he is having a negative impact on the people’s business and should not be elected again or at least challenged for all his shenanigans.

  11. Matt Rexroad

    So David — why is the call now for a federal investigation? From the march in May I don’t remember ever hearing that it needed to be federal. Independent yes. Federal no.

    Are they claiming that Chief Sullivan, District Attorney Reisig, and Attorney General Brown and all working together on a cover up?

    Further, I believe that when John Chendo came in front of the Board of Supervisors to announce the vote taken by the Yolo Democrats it was for a Independent investigation.

    Please tell me why the demands have changed. It is a major point.

    Matt Rexroad

  12. typhoid mary

    I’m not sure its been established that Luis was a gang member and it really doesn’t matter if he was. The only thing that matters are the facts of the incident leading to his death. If people are not satisfied with the findings of the investigation an outside investigation seems like a reasonable request. Whether that request is made before or after the local authorities conclude their investigation depends on your level of faith in the system of justice in Yolo County.

    Ricardo Flores Magnon I totally agree with you. If this blog really wants to be serious about defeating the DA I doubt you are going to gain any traction by supporting people convicted of raping their adopted children. You want to make it sound like Dev was wrongly convicted by Reisig but what about the cops, judge and jury were they all in on it too?

  13. fuser

    I will assume that people posting in favor of the D.A are probably county employees. The D.A is fixing cases by not allowing all the evidence to be presented. It is not that the jurors are convicting people, it is that the D.A is only allowing once side of the story.

    I wish we could get the court transcripts, BUT they cost about $2000 each. This is the point, their is too much controversy, Lets ask for the FBI to come in and everything will clear out.

    But then again, Those of you posting here probably dont want that because a Federal Investigation would mean a complete purge of every employee that has engaged in questionable management.

    Ready your Resume.

  14. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]The point is not to look at these incidents in a vacuum, but see the totality of all Reisig’ past actions.[/i]

    Maybe you could argue it that way, but the case against him so far is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    [i]So David — why is the call now for a federal investigation?[/i]

    Matt, that’s another good point. The federal investigation idea is not entirely new, it showed up early on, but it was never explained very well. Unless they do explain it, they seem to be just stirring the pot with wild demands. Maybe we should be grateful that they think the FBI is sufficiently independent, and that they aren’t calling for OAS ([url][/url]) to investigate. Otherwise, as you say, you would think that Attorney General Jerry Brown is independent enough!

    [i]If people are not satisfied with the findings of the investigation an outside investigation seems like a reasonable request.[/i]

    It’s only reasonable if “people” would ever be satisfied with anything other than confirmation of their views. Besides, the case has been handed to Jerry Brown’s office for review, so protesting right now smacks of not taking yes for an answer.

    [i]I doubt you are going to gain any traction by supporting people convicted of raping their adopted children.[/i]

    As opposed to meth addicts who lunge at cops with knives? I personally wouldn’t rush to judgment in either case.

  15. Truth

    I think it is clear that people of Hispanic community, Nepali community and the concerned and caring citizens of Yolo County want Federal investigation. What is the worst outcome of the investigation any way, we will all know what the real truth is. It is that simple.

  16. martin

    Why does anyone think that a federal investigation is truth? I question the recent “bank bailouts” that involve sending money to someone but with no accounting of who received it. That program was developed and implemented by the federal government and I am not satisfied that it is “truth.”

    The sad fact is that there is no truth in this situation without finding a witness to the event who has not yet been interviewed; and there probably is no such witness. I know of several other people in Yolo County who believe that the Sheriff and city police officers did something wrong. Is there any chance that the Woodland marchers will include those people in this federal investigation? What ever happened to everyone being equal under the law?

  17. Gyre

    It’s going to be very interesting to see what comes of Investigator Randy Skagg’s suit. Word is that Investigator Gore’s “whistleblower” wrongful termination action against Reisig has resulted in Gore being ordered back to work.

  18. 3doors

    Ricardo/Mary I share the feeling the Guierrez incident should not have been equated to the other cases protested against. And as stated there has been no report offered to answer the questions the family and the community are asking:

    Why was Gutierrez stopped on the top of the over pass when any inquiries could have taken place on either side. protecting the rest of the community from potential danger based on the location? Was Gutierrez wearing any clothing that supported obvious gang activity? What was the purpose of the stop? Gutierrez was within a block of his home, wouldn’t it have made more sense to monitor his destination before attempting any contact? Why did law enforcement claim only 2 shoots were fired? Why was the family denied access the Gutierrez’s body until much later?

    The same officers in the same marked car were profiling Hispanic males the day before the shooting in the town of Yolo. Has anyone checked their activities prior to this incident? Its my opinion that the newly organized “Gang Taskforce” of the Sheriff department should have been closely monitored until well into its sole operation. Was this being done? And if so, by whom?

  19. foque2

    Well, well, well, Reisig… How are we to pull ourselves out of this economic crisis if you are forcing us to re-do your mistakes? Ever since the CHP Officer Andrew Stephens was killed, You have to my personal knowledge, been the most crooked thing this town has seen since the constitution was written. You were crooked before you came, and you have gotten worse. You sent a innocent man to prison for 57 years and you don’t loose a wink of sleep over it. As you lie in bed at night and doze off, there is lives that are behind bars for crimes you chose for them to serve, laying awake on hard overfirm slabs of what you call a bed, praying to God that someone will come save them from your torture day after day. Greg Zielesch is innocent and you knew it! When you took the Officers ticket book back from Mike Volbert when he stole it from Rebecca Pina’s room, ran around giving his friend’s “fake” tickets before your goons caught up with him and took it, then threatened his life, enough so that Mike drove straight out of town and threw his cell phone out the car window while going over the Yolo Causeway! If anyone ever checked the last ticket that Officer Stephens wrote or radioed in to dispatch, they would see that there is a few tickets unaccounted for. How would that have happened? Reisig withheld evidence in this case as well, and knowingly prosecuted the wrong person for the death of Andrew Stephens. Reisig!! How dare you! The people don’t want a conviction unless it’s the actual criminal found guilty! There is so much more to the case than the public was allowed to hear. I pray that you end up in prison for the grand total of all the wrongly convicted people you put away and have no retirement from us Californians or Americans you don’t deserve anything to make your life comfortable until you have made up for your evil power trip you imposed on the trusting public you decieved. Look at all the work it will take to make things right! We should run you out of town! Aren’t we hurting enough already before you came along? Obviously your history is and will continue to repeat itself again. WAIT! WOULDN’T YOU CALL SOMEONE ACTING LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN A “CAREER CRIMINAL”? You should be treated accordingly! Wouldn’t you say?

  20. Tricia


    DNA did NOT convict Jeff Lockwood. Please look into the case before you comment. Jeff was wrongly accused by the DA who had a personal grudge against Jeff and a girl who had accused another boy of this just few years before. The judge and the so called victim are friends also which is against the law…. This is a very sad case of a young man who was wrongly accused and will be scared forever by this.

  21. aw

    People…don’t be so arrogant. Know a case inside and out before you open your mouth about what you THINK you know! You think the justice system is fair until it happens to you. Everyone is allowed to voice their own opinions and the injustice done to them. People fight and voice their opinions, worries and struggles for a reason.

  22. cirenio rodriguez??

    Where was cirenio rodriguez? The hispanic leader is noowhere to be found (stealing money from the school district??). I’m glad this is happening. We are finally realising who are the real leaders in Woodland, and who are the fakes.

  23. DNA is the only way

    We should all be very afraid in this day and age when people can be convicted without cold, hard, tangible proof, and when a jury is encouraged by a DDA to ignore the facts during closing arguments (as in the Dev case). The hearts and minds of a jury should not be affected by a DA’s desire to win and further his or her career, and yet this is exactly what happened in Ajay Dev’s case, and what appears to be endemic in the courthouse in Woodland. Everyone in our country should be afraid. Very afraid.

    Every one of us sitting on a jury should keep this in mind when there is no DNA or tangible proof condemning the accused. Juries, as encouraged and manipulated by the DA, can and do get it wrong. This is the truth of what can happen when a jury convicts without evidence. Read it and (literally) weep:

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for