A Third Mistrial for Co-defendants in Alleged Gang Case

Gangby Antoinette Borbon and Silvia Ramos Medina

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.

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.

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  1. D.D.

    “a juror admitted to knowing one of the defendants; therefore, it too, was declared a mistrial”

    I wonder why this wasn’t caught during the voir dire, or did the juror lie the first time they were asked?
    Very expensive trial.

  2. Davis Progressive

    i’m more concerned with the fact that the jurors convicted the men of a gang crime (three of them at least) without having an underlying felony. that should be thrown out by judge rosenberg. it’s not a crime to be a gang member, it’s a crime to be a gang member and commit a crime for the purposes of furthering a criminal street gang.

  3. Highbeam

    DP, there is a stand-alone gang charge, PC section 186.22(a), that is not just an enhancement to an underlying crime. That does not mean I think it should exist.

    1. Davis Progressive

      the stand alone still has to link to a crime. read it: “Any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, and who willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang…” if there is no felonious criminal conduct, how do you get convicted?

      1. Highbeam

        I know, but we have seen it happen before where that was the only charge. I do not profess to understand. Btw, I have not seen the actual charges, have not gone to view the database nor pulled the files, but I believe that these were all enhancements, not subsection (a). So my comment about the stand alone was probably extraneous to this discussion, and I apologize. Perhaps Antoinnette or Silvia could clarify.

  4. hope

    The attorneys representing the defendants caught the DDA talking to the female victim in the hallway during a break KNOWING the victim was still testifying under oath. Can anyone tell me why this wasnt grounds for a mistrial??!! It could be that the female victim was being coerced by the DDA.

    Bifurcation was requested by Mr Ravens representing Mr Jimenez–DENIED. Why?!….Was it denied to further promote, assist and benefit the “NEW” Yolo county courthouse?!. Every hispanic male seen that night near the 7-11 was arrested at gunpoint!. No descriptions. No evidence proving they committed a robbery. No property claimed to have been stolen by the victims was ever collected and booked by police. No recordings. No sworn staments. No INVESTIGATION by any police. The police involved all lied on reports….committing perjury on the stand. The male victim threw the first punch because he was angry with his gf for being under influence of meth and drinking even though he too was under influence of meth. Police here racially profile. As of yesterday…guilty verdicton gang enhancement for all four defendants!!! How could that happend if there was a misyrial for the initial charges??!!. I spoke with CNN to question the law and the person was saying it is illegal to charge someone with a gang enhancement without being charged of a crime.

  5. Antoinnette

    I agree..Hope…and pray Rosenberg. will do the right thing..look at those. laws. I am stunned at that verdict too!

    It was pretty. clear Nothing was proven. beyond a reasonable. doubt..for sure. The only way to change things..injustices, is to keep on exposing. them. I pray in time these things will get better..and for a more righteous system replaces.

    I have yet to hear a response about the jail Sgt. assaulting Gonzales? Is the DA even listening?

    The same laws apply to each and everyone of us! But a person. in authority is held to a higher. accountability in Gods eyes…it seemed that way for Alvarez too?

    I would like to hope Rosenberg will take this seriously…he’s. pretty. decent.

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