by Teja Dusanapudi and Fabiha Zaman
Investigator Testimony Continues in Robbery Case, New Charges Filed
By Teja Dusanapudi
Testimony resumed this Tuesday morning in the case of co-defendants Joshua Cadenaz-Lopez and Ricky Gomez Hernandez, both charged with 2nd degree robbery with multiple enhancements regarding firearm possession and gang affiliations.
Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes began the morning session by calling back YONET Agent Shad Begley to the stand, with Deputy Public Defender Lisa Lance continuing her cross-examination.
Ms. Lance began by establishing facts from the record of texts Agent Begley had perused, stating first that the largest amount of marijuana discussed between the two numbers recorded was half a pound.
Afterwards, Ms. Lance then asked if Begley could distinguish between different “types of marijuana,” referring to the multiple bags of marijuana taken from the co-defendant’s seized vehicle, to
which Begley responded in the negative, stating that he would need to get them tested to differentiate them.
Probing further in the same thread, Ms. Lance questioned Begley on the multiple uses of marijuana, asking if the types could be used for “butter” or “medicinal uses.” Agent Begley said that it was a possibility, with products such as concentrated THC wax being made from marijuana and butane, ceding to Ms. Lance that the marijuana seized could have been used in different ways.
Ms. Lance also confirmed that Begley was unaware of prior videos taken of the co-defendants and others smoking multiple blunts in a vehicle.
During Defense Attorney Jem Martin’s cross-examination, Agent Begley stated that the amount of marijuana found in possession of the defendants on October 20, 2016, could have been sold to them anytime from a day to a week before, but likely not further than that. Mr. Martin then asserted that, due to this timeline, texts prior to October 6 on the phone records would be irrelevant due to not being related to the particular marijuana that was possessed.
Mr. Martin then asked Agent Begley if the co-defendants’ possession of firearms along with the marijuana suggested their selling or buying of the aforementioned marijuana, to which Mr. Begley replied in the affirmative.
The next witness called to the stand was West Sacramento Officer Michelle Mizzi, and Mr. Hasapes briefly asked if she recalled finding a Chevy Colorado on October 20 of 2016 and finding marijuana in eight different bags, to which Officer Mizzi responded that she had.
After Officer Mizzi’s brief testimony, the People called Sergeant Jason Winger to the stand, with Mr. Martin continuing his cross-examination. Again referencing phone records between multiple numbers, Mr. Martin stated that while the “Josh” referred to in the texts could be Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez, there were no other identifying factors and as such could be any other Josh in West Sacramento.
When asked if there was any evidence from the Denny’s robbery that related to Nicholas Lopez, Winger answered that he was not sure. Sgt. Winger answered similarly to Mr. Martin’s question of whether he knew about Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez’s large chest tattoo, again saying he didn’t know.
Mr. Martin then proceeded to question Sgt. Winger as to why Alec Jordan, previously seen in a video presented by Mr. Hasapes that suggested gang affiliations, had been eliminated from being a suspect despite pictures of him driving a suspected vehicle. Sgt. Winger then responded that Alec Jordan was still a suspect along with other people associated with the co-defendants, namely referring to Jesus Baeza, Abel Morales, Adrian Cerrado, and Victor Jordan.
During his redirect, Mr. Hasapes paused a video he’d previously presented to the court that displayed Alec Jordan allegedly flashing gang signs. He then asked Sgt. Winger if Mr. Jordan resembled Mr. Cadenaz-Lopez in any way, with Winger responding that they seemed the same weight.
Ms. Lance then briefly cross-examined Sgt. Winger for the last part of the morning session, asking if Winger had any evidence that Mr. Hernandez was in any way related to or has any knowledge of suspects Abel Morales’ and Nicholas Lopez’s song Free Ricky, to which Winger responded in the negative.
The case ended for the day with the announcement that new charges were being filed against the co-defendants, with the arraignment being set for Wednesday.
Expert Witness Testifies in Co-defendant Robbery Case
By Fabiha Zaman
The jury trial for co-defendants Joshua Armond Cadenaz-Lopez and Ricky Gomez Hernandez reconvened on Tuesday afternoon. Their robbery case moved forward with testimony from an expert witness after the afternoon lunch break.
Deputy District Attorney Kyle Hasapes brought in detective Matthew Boudinot, a peace officer in the city of West Sacramento. Detective Boudinot has been a part of the Special Investigations Unit since December of 2014. The SIU deals with gang crimes and narcotics in gang cases.
Det. Boudinot has had several formal trainings, including those with the Institute of Criminal Investigation. Additionally, he was part of a 40-hour course administered by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and he attends monthly meetings at the district attorney’s office to meet with other gang specialists.
Many of the meetings and trainings Det. Boudinot attends primarily focus around gang culture, since he says it is a difficult task for law enforcement. Since it is constantly changing, he emphasizes the importance of staying up to date with signs, symbols, colors, and alliances.
The witness explained his extensive knowledge about Hispanic street gangs, specifically the Broderick Boys, a subset of the Norteño gang. Mr. Boudinot has testified on five cases pertaining to Hispanic gangs, including in the preliminary hearing for this case as well as in other cases also concerning the Broderick Boys.
While the voir dire of this witness continued, Det. Boudinot revealed that he had taken several courses on criminal justice, in which also he also learned about the sociology behind joining gangs.
At this point, Det. Boudinot was qualified as an expert witness, particularly in the field of Hispanic criminal street gangs.
Deputy DA Hasapes began his questioning by generally asking about gang classification and its importance. Det. Boudinot explained that there is an 11-point system for classifying someone as a gang member. The Department of Justice requires that at least two be fulfilled, however the city of West Sacramento is more stringent since they require three of those criteria to be met to validate someone as a gang member. Some of these criteria include the suspect identifying themselves as a gang member, the suspect being observed or contacted wearing gang apparel, and the suspect displaying gang-related tattoos.
Once a suspect meets those criteria, they are validated for a five-year period. If they are not contacted by law enforcement for any other gang-related activity within those five years, they are removed from the validated gang member record. Det. Boudinot said that it is important to keep track of gang members since oftentimes the crimes committed are repetitions of older crimes and are done by the same person or group of people.
Mr. Hasapes shifted the conversation to inquire of the witness about common terms in gangs. He asked Mr. Boudinot specifically about the term “wannabe gang member,” which the witness said refers to as someone who is trying to be a gang member. Typically they tend to be more desperate and thus more willing to commit violent crimes to gain the status of membership. They also are not allowed access to certain information gang members have access to, since they are not trusted as much and are limited in what activities they are allowed to participate.
These “wannabe gang members” can be validated by the police department as gang members, but their validation is typically reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Essentially though, validation does not always mean gang membership.
Det. Boudinot talked more specifically about the Norteño gang next. This gang historically accepts members from Northern California and it relates to the prison gang called Nuestra Familia. Their signs and symbols include the color red and the number 14, which is meant to represent the 14th letter in the alphabet, or N for Norteño. The number 14 is displayed in a variety of ways, including Aztec symbols and Roman numerals. The Broderick Boys subset also has their own specific signs and symbols. They also use hand symbols by creating lowercase and uppercase B’s.
Any Southern California gang members are considered rivals of the Norteño gang and of the subset Broderick Boys. Gang members are expected to check their rivals or assault them on spot if they are identified as their rivals.
The expert witness then said that the Broderick Boys specifically are a group of more than three members who engage in a pattern of criminal activity. They have been involved in robberies, assaults with deadly weapons, narcotics, witness intimidation, and burglaries.
According to Mr. Boudinot, gang members will typically commit crimes together because they want to prove their toughness to each other. When these crimes are carried out in a group, other members can also assist to make sure everything goes smoothly without any contingencies. Additionally, these group crimes serve as training for younger members.
Violent crimes, in particular, benefit the Broderick Boys exponentially. They show their propensity for violence and their actions create a fear in the community. Gangs often take this fear to mean respect, which is extremely important to them. Everything comes down to reputation, especially for the Broderick Boys.
Firearms are also important in these group crimes. Possession of a firearm is a significant feature since it instantly creates fear and garners what gangs assume is respect. Members who use a firearm during a crime are also more respected by other members. Gang guns are also another element within gangs. Gang guns belong to the entire gang and are passed from one member to the next to conceal it from law enforcement.
Mr. Hasapes then questioned Det. Boudinot explicitly about the investigation of co-defendants Cadenaz-Lopez and Hernandez. Det. Boudinot was part of the investigation, as he was aware of the burglary on the 18th of October in 2016. On the evening after the incident on 20th of October 2016, Mr. Boudinot was directed to search for a gold Acura. He searched the northern portion of the city for that car, which is the territory claimed by the Broderick Boys.
Video surveillance was then played for the jury. The video was taken from an apartment complex looking onto a street in North Sacramento. The witness testified that he can see Gomez walking up to the gold Acura and examining it from the outside.
The witness spent the rest of the afternoon identifying tattoos on the defendants that were of significance to the case, including the number 14 and the capital letter N for Norteños.
As Det. Boudinot finished up identifying tattoos on Hernandez’s body, court adjourned for the day. The trial will resume Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.
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