Judge Dave Rosenberg declared another mistrial in the case against the four young defendants, who allegedly robbed and assaulted a Woodland man on June 19, 2013, to further, promote or benefit the Norteños criminal street gang, as alleged by Deputy District Attorney Robin Johnson.
The first trial for the young men took place in November of 2013. The jurors were hung on all counts except for one, a charge against Juan Fuentes, who was found guilty of misdemeanor evading police.
The second trial in this case had been set to begin in January. It was continued to April, but on the day the trial was to begin, a juror admitted to knowing one of the defendants, so it also was declared a mistrial.
But this time around the jury convicted all four defendants on the gang-related enhancement charges, although the law reads that to convict on gang charges, there must be felonious conduct… this raises questions.
After three days of deliberation and many questions from jurors, they could not reach a verdict on the counts of robbery and assault with great bodily injury against three of the defendants.
Defendant Juan Fuentes was the only one of the four found guilty of robbery.
When polling the jurors, Judge Rosenberg asked if they deliberated longer, could a verdict be reached on the other two counts. “No, your honor,” was the reply from nearly all jury members, with a few saying, “I don’t think so your honor.”
Defense attorneys Jeff Raven and Ava Landers expressed to Judge Rosenberg that their clients have remained working full time and in good, lawful conduct since they were released earlier this year.
Judge Rosenberg allowed defendant Jose Jimenez, Jeff Raven’s client, and Anthony Ozuna, Ms. Landers’ client, to remain free from custody, pending sentencing and conferencing on next trial, if there is to be one.
However, Judge Rosenberg was hopeful there may be a resolution in the case.
Families of the four young men were present with heavy tears coming down as the verdict was read, and the defendants appeared to be more in shock with the results.
A hearing is set for Thursday afternoon to determine where to go from here.